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Inside the Machine by Jon Stokes

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Microarchitecture and the ISA

In the preceding discussion of superscalar execution, I made a number of references to the discrepancy between the linear-execution, single-ALU programming model that the programmer sees and what the superscalar processor’s hardware actually does. It’s now time to flesh out that distinction between the programming model and the actual hardware by introducing some concepts and vocabulary that will allow us to talk with more precision about the divisions between the apparent and the actual in computer architecture.

Chapter 1 introduced the concept of the programming model as an abstract representation of the microprocessor that exposes to the programmer the microprocessor’s functionality. The DLW-1’s programming model ...

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