Define the term polling. Why it is required?

Abhigyan Singh 04th Jan 2013

Polling, or polled operation, in computer science, refers to actively sampling the status of an external device by a client program as a synchronous activity. Polling is most often used in terms of input/output (I/O), and is also referred to as polled I/O or software-drivenI/O.
Polling is sometimes used synonymously with busy-wait polling (busy waiting). In this situation, when an I/O operation is required, the computer does nothing other than check the status of the I/O device until it is ready, at which point the device is accessed. In other words, the computer waits until the device is ready. Polling also refers to the situation where a device is repeatedly checked for readiness, and if it is not, the computer returns to a different task. Although not as wasteful of CPU cycles as busy waiting, this is generally not as efficient as the alternative to polling, interrupt-driven I/O.
In a simple single-purpose system, even busy-wait is perfectly appropriate if no action is possible until the I/O access, but more often than not this was traditionally a consequence of simple hardware or non-multitasking operating systems.
Polling is often intimately involved with very low-level hardware. For example, polling a parallel printer port to check whether it is ready for another character involves examining as little as one bit of a byte. 
 the master queries each slave device in turn as to whether it has any data to transmit. If the slave answers yes then the device is permitted to transmit its data. If the slave answers no then the master moves on and polls the next slave device. The process is repeated continuously.

Authored By Abhigyan Singh

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