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Hardware Assist for a Microprocessor-Implemented Interpreter

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000053093D
Original Publication Date: 1981-Aug-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-12
Document File: 1 page(s) / 12K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Moore, FR: AUTHOR

Abstract

Microprocessors can be programmed to interpret the instructions execute on main-frame processors having complex architectures, as well as to directly interpret higher level programming languages, but the resulting execution speed is relatively low. A significant performance boost can be realized by adding hardware assists to directly execute selected functions with high usage.

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Hardware Assist for a Microprocessor-Implemented Interpreter

Microprocessors can be programmed to interpret the instructions execute on main-frame processors having complex architectures, as well as to directly interpret higher level programming languages, but the resulting execution speed is relatively low. A significant performance boost can be realized by adding hardware assists to directly execute selected functions with high usage.

The assist hardware can be implemented to connect to the microprocessor's memory bus and monitor storage references. Selected storage addresses can be used as "trigger" addresses, where the assist will execute a predetermined function whenever a trigger address is referenced. If parameters are required for the selected function, they can be passed between the microprocessor and the assist hardware via the storage bus in conjunction with the trigger addresses.

The increase in performance realized by the hardware assist mechanism is determined by the various functions which are selected for the assist; additional assist functions give higher performance. Examples of assisted functions for interpreting a main-frame architecture would range from the calculations of the effective address of an instruction's operands to the complete implementation of highly used instructions. Assists for interpreting higher level languages could include push-down stacks, associative arrays, and lookaside tables.

The choice of functions to select for ass...