Two threads are better than one…

The EightThirtyTwo ISA – Part 10 – 2019-11-16

One of the main goals with a pipelined CPU is keeping the pipleline as full as possible at all times. The biggest obstacle to this goal is the existence of ‘hazards’ – situations where what’s about to happen at the beginning of the pipeline depends on an outcome that’s yet to be determined further down the line. This is a particular weakness of the EightThirtyTwo CPU: because we have only eight registers, and because many operations involve the tmp register, there’s a good chance that any given instruction will depend on the result of the previous one. One way around this is to use results forwarding where, for example, a result calculated in the ALU can be sent directly to the ALU’s inputs for the next instruction rather than being first written to and then read again from the register file.

I haven’t yet attempted to implement this for the EightThirtyTwo. Instead, I’ve attempted something far less sane for a lightweight CPU – dual-threading!

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