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Short for hardware abstraction layer, programming in an operating system that functions as an interface between a system��s hardware and software, providing a consistent hardware platform on which to run applications. When a HAL is employed, applications do not access hardware directly but access the abstract layer provided by the HAL. Like APIs, HALs allow applications to be device-independent because they abstract information from such systems as caches, I/O buses and interrupts and use this data to give the software a way to interact with the specific requirements of the hardware on which it is running.

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