Interrupt coalescing is built into the design of postal services

Date created: 2022-07-18

Interrupt coalescing is a way for computers to throttle interrupts so that a system does not spiral into Thrashing.

In the day of the postman discusses our pre-internet rhythm.

The way our postal system works shows this principle:

At human scale, we get interrupt coalescing for free from the postal system, just as a consequence of their delivery cycle. Because mail gets delivered only once a day, something mailed only a few minutes late might take an extra twenty-four hours to reach you. Considering the costs of context switching, the silver lining to this should by now be obvious: you can only get interrupted by bills and letter at most once a day. What’s more, the twenty-four-hour postal rhythm demands minimal responsiveness from you: it doesn’t make any difference whether you mail your reply five minutes or five hours after receiving a letter.


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