What is the difference between signal and interrupt?

The main difference between signal and interrupt is that signal is an event that is triggered by the CPU or software running on the CPU whereas an interrupt is an event that is triggered by an external component other than the CPU.

A signal is an event triggered by the CPU. It sends these signals to various processes running on the computer. On the other hand, an interrupt is an event that occurs due to an external component such as timers to notify the CPU to perform a certain action.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Signal
     – Definition, Functionality
2. What is Interrupt
     – Definition, Functionality
3. What are the Similarities 
     – Diagram of common characteristics
4. What is the difference ?
     – Comparison of key differences

what is signal

A signal is an event triggered by the CPU. It may be an interrupt caused by software running on the CPU. This is called a software interrupt. It can also be the CPU hardware that triggers certain events. Also, the signals are based on the operating system. Therefore, two systems with different operating systems will generate different signals.

Furthermore, there are synchronous signals as well as asynchronous signals. Synchronous signals are produced in response to a specific action that has occurred and the CPU will respond to that action. On the other hand, in asynchronous signals, there is no direct response to a specific action that occurred.

What is the interruption

An interrupt is an event that occurs externally by components other than the CPU. Notifies the CPU about some kind of external event. An IO device, such as a network device, can send an interrupt to indicate received data packets. Also, a timer can notify the CPU of a timeout event. An interrupt depends on the physical platform and the configuration of that platform. Therefore, two identical platforms will have the same interrupt. Also, interrupts occur asynchronously.

Similarities 

  • Signals and interrupts have unique identifiers.
  • Both can be masked. They help disable or suspend the notification that the signal or interrupt is delivering.

Difference 

Definition

A signal is an event that is triggered by the CPU or software running on the CPU. In contrast, an interrupt is an event that is triggered by external components other than the CPU that alerts the CPU to perform a certain action.

Dependence

While a signal is platform dependent, an interrupt is OS dependent.

Another difference between signal and interrupt is that a signal can be synchronous or asynchronous while an interrupt is asynchronous.

Mask

Also, a signal uses a per-process signal mask while an interrupt uses a pre-CPU interrupt mask.

Association with CPU

The CPU sends the signals to the processes, while the CPU receives the interrupts from the external components. This is another difference between signal and interrupt.

conclusion

The difference between signal and interrupt is that signal is an event that is triggered by the CPU or software running on the CPU, while an interrupt is an event that is triggered by an external component other than the CPU. .

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