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Word Count: 374
Typing is not as simple a process as it seems While the ease with which we type and the speed at which the text appears on-screen is indicative of a simplistic method of keyboard-to-computer interaction nothing could be further from the truth This ease and speed is only and indicator of exactly how fast the CPU handles such a complex process With each individual keystroke there is a five-step process that occurs each step taking one or more processor cycles First the computer needs input or a key to be pressed This action instigates the process which occurs all five steps from start to finish almost instantaneously For example I type fifty-five words per minute For purposes of counting words only words of four letters or more are considered Thus fifty-five words multiplied by at least four letters gives us a minimum of two-hundred and twenty letters Two-hundred and twenty letters multiplied by four additional processes assuming each process only takes one cycle when in fact many dormant cycles also occur is eight-hundred and eighty processes or cycles per minute This equates to roughly 15 cycles per second a speed that the earliest computers could exceed with ease Secondly a computer chip known as the keyboard controller determines that a key has been pressed and puts the appropriate scan code for that key into a portion of its memory known as the keyboard buffer This buffer stores all of the keyboard codes until they can be processed Once a complete keystroke has been received the keyboard controller sends a special signal to the system software known as an interrupt request Next the system software receives the interrupt request and determines an appropriate response If the request was due to a keystroke the system software then retrieves the scan code from the correct memory location in the keyboard buffer and passes that code on to the CPU In closing it is relatively easy
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