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MICROPROGRAMMING AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO EMULATION AND TECHNOLOGY

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000147893D
Original Publication Date: 1974-May-16
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2007-Mar-28
Document File: 26 page(s) / 1M

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Fuller, Samuel H.: AUTHOR [+5]

Abstract

MICROPROGRAMMING AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO EMULATION AND TECHNOLOGY Samuel H. Fuller and Victor R.. Lesser Carnegie-Mellon University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania C. Gordon Bell and Charles Kaman Digital Equipment Corporation Maynard, Massachusetts This report will appear in the 7th Annual Microprogramming Workshop in Palo Alto, California, October 1. This work was supported by the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (contract F44620-73-C-0074) and is monitored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. This documerrt has been approved for public release and sale; its distribution is unlimited. May 16, 1974 ABSTRACT The structure of microprogrammed processors, and microprogramming in general, is largely determined by two facts: the state of (semiconductor) technology and the task of emulation. This article first reviews those technological advances as well as those constraints and demands imposed by the emulation process that have shaped the evolution of microprogramming.

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MICROPROGRAMMING AND ITS RELATIONSHIP

TO EMULATION AND TECHNOLOGY

Samuel H. Fuller and Victor R.. Lesser Carnegie-Mellon University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

C. Gordon Bell and Charles Kaman

Digital Equipment Corporation
Maynard, Massachusetts

May 16, 1974

This report will appear in the 7th Annual Microprogramming Workshop in Palo Alto, California, October 1.

This work was supported by the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Office of the Secretary of Defense (contract F44620-73-C-0074) and is monitored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. This documerrt has been approved for public release and sale; its distribution is unlimited.

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ABSTRACT

    The structure of microprogrammed processors, and microprogramming in general, is largely determined by two facts: the state of (semiconductor) technology and the task of emulation. This article first reviews those technological advances as well as those constraints and demands imposed by the emulation process that have shaped the evolution of microprogramming.

    The other main theme of this article is that it is a fruitless exercise to try to characterize and understand microprogramming in terms of how it differs from 'regular' programming. The right approach to understanding microprogramming is to recognize that it is primarily applied to the task of emulation (interpretation). Through this approach the evolution of microprogramming independent of a particular technology and type of instruction set being emulated, will be reviewed and future trends indicated.

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1. INTRODUCTION

    The structure of microprogrammed processors, and microprogramming in general, is largely determined by two factors: the state of (semiconductor) technology and the task of emulation. Therefore, this article first reviews those technological advances as well as those constraints and demands imposed by the emulation process that have shaped the evolution of microprogramming. The remainder of this article then uses these observations to put the past developments of microprogramming in perspective and forecast the major developments in the years ahead.

    The other main theme of this article is that it is a fruitless exercise to try to characterize and understand microprogramming in terms of how it differs from 'regular' programming. The futility of this approach can be seen by the numerous, contradictory definitions on microprogramming in the literature [Rosin, 1969; Wilkes, 1969; Mallach, 19721. Attempts to base a definition on features of a processor's architecture, such as horizontal instruction formats, lack of an explicit program counter, or visibility of real registers and data paths; or...