operation code



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An instruction code is a group of bits that instruct the computer to perform a specific operation. It is usually divided into parts, each having its own particular interpretation. The most basic part of an instruction code is its operation part. The operation code of an instruction is a group of bits that define such operations as add, subtract, multiply, shift, and complement. The number of bits required for the operation code of an instruction depends on the total number of operations available in the computer. The operation code must consist of at least n bits for a given 2" (or less) distinct operations. As an illustration, consider a computer with 64 distinct operations, one of them being an ADD operation. The operation code consists of six bits, with a bit configuration 110010 assigned to the ADD operation . When this operation code is decoded in the control unit, the computer issues control signals to read an operand from memory and add the operand to a processor register.

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At this point we must recognize the relationship between a computer operation and a microoperation. An operation is part of an instruction stored in computer memory. It is a binary code that tells the computer to perform a specific operation. The control unit receives the instruction from memory and interprets the operation code bits. It then issues a sequence of control signals to initiate microoperations in internal computer registers. For every operation code, the control issues a sequence of microoperations needed for the hardware implementation of the specified operation. For this reason, an operation code is sometimes called a macrooperation because it specifies a set of microoperations.

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The operation part of an instruction code specifies the operation to be performed. This operation must be performed on some data stored in processor registers or in memory. An instruction code must therefore specify not only the operation but also the registers or the memory words where the operands are to be found, as well as the register or memory word where the result is to be stored. Memory words can be specified in instruction codes by their address. Processor registers can be specified by assigning to the instruction another binary code of k bits that specifies one of 2 ' registers. There are many variations for arranging the binary code of instructions, and each computer has its own particular instruction code format. Instruction code formats are conceived by computer designers who specify the architecture of the computer. In this chapter we choose a particular instruction code to explain the basic organization and design of digital computers.

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