bit-slice and microcode discussion list

ben bfranchuk at
Fri Aug 23 15:52:25 CDT 2019

On 8/23/2019 12:00 PM, Paul Koning via cctalk wrote:
>> On Aug 23, 2019, at 1:47 PM, Noel Chiappa via cctalk <cctalk at> wrote:
>>> From: Jon Elson
>>>> On 08/22/2019 12:47 PM, Tom Uban via cctalk wrote:
>>>> On a possible related note, I am looking for information on converting
>>>> CISC instructions to VLIW RISC.
>>> I think it might end up looking a bit like the optimizers that were
>>> used on drum memory computers back in the dark ages.
>> I dunno; those were all about picking _addresses_ for instructions, such
>> that the next instruction was coming up to the heads as the last one
>> completed.
>> The _order_ of execution wasn't changed, there was no issue of contention
>> for computing elements, etc - i.e. all the things ones think of a
>> CISC->VLIW translation as doing.
> Instruction ordering (instruction scheduling) is as old as the CDC 6600, though then it was often done by the programmer.
> An early example of that conversion is the work done at DEC for "just in time" conversion of VAX instructions to MIPS, and later to Alpha.  I wonder if their compiler technology was involved in that.  It wouldn't surprise me.  The Alpha "assembler" was actually the compiler back end, and as a result you could ask it to optimize your assembly programs.  That was an interesting way to get a feel for what transformations of the program would be useful given the parallelism in that architecture.
> 	paul

Why bother is my view. The problem is Three fold, a) The hardware people 
keep changing the internal
details. b) A good compiler can see the the original program structure 
and optimize for that. c) The flat memory model as from FORTRAN or LISP 
where variables are random over the entire memory space scrambles your 

With that said if you can make the optimization in defined some sort of 
MACRO format changing parameters would be simple and be effective unseen 
changes. Kind of the the early Compiler Compilers.

I see RISC as emulation of the HARVARD memory model.
A Harvard model would not take  much change in programing other than not 
having a "SMALL" mode. Two 32 bit wide buses (data) (program) could
be faster as external memory is more drum like with filling of caches
rather than random memory than one large data path doing everything.

I still favor the CLASSIC instruction set model. OP:AC:IX:OFFSET
Core Memory made the machines slow with the memory restore cycle, Giving 
rise to CSIC like the PDP 11 to give a better use of that dead cycle.
RISC is only fast because of the PAGE cycle of dynamic memory at
the time.

Too bad everything is all 8/16/32/64+ computing or say a 36 bit classic
style cpu design could run quite effective at a few GHZ.

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