Asynchronous I/O (also non-sequential I/O) is a form of input/output processing that permits other processing to continue before the transmission has finished.

Input and output (I/O) operations on a computer can be extremely slow compared to the processing of data. An I/O device can incorporate mechanical devices that must physically move, such as a hard drive seeking a track to read or write; this is often orders of magnitude slower than the switching of electric current. For example, during a disk operation that takes ten milliseconds to perform, a processor that is clocked at one gigahertz could have performed ten million instruction-processing cycles.

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