Computers don’t compute just for the thrill of it. They take in input from various sources, do their computations, and produce output for use by a huge range of devices. Computers might be communicating with people, talking to each other, or running factories. Let’s explore this a bit more.

I briefly mentioned input and output (I/O) in “Input and Output” on page 96, referring to getting things into and out of the processor core. Doing that isn’t all that difficult; all we need are some latches (see “Latches” on page 71) for output and tri-state buffers (refer to Figure 2-38) for input. It used to be that each and every ...

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