The subroutines discussed in Chapter 6 are predictable events in that they are called up whenever the program dictates. Real-time situations, defined as where the processor interacts in concert with external physical events, are not as simple as this. Very often something happens beyond the CPU which necessitates precipitate action from the processor. The vast majority of MPU/MCUs have the capability to deal with a range of such events that disrupt their smooth running In the case of a micro-controller, requests for service may come from an internal peripheral device, such as a timer overflowing, or the completion of an analog to digital conversion, or from a source entirely external to the device in the outside world. At the very least, on reset (a type of external hardware event) the MCU must be able to get (vector) to the first instruction of the main program. In the same manner an external service request or interrupt when answered must lead to the start of the special subroutine known as an interrupt service routine.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.