Computer Architecture : Instruction Set

The instruction set is the set of basic instructions that a processor understands. The instruction set is a portion of what makes up an architecture. It is a group of commands for a CPU in machine language. The term can refer to all possible instructions for a CPU or a subset of instructions to enhance its performance in certain situations. The instruction set provides commands to the processor, to tell it what it needs to do. The instruction set consists of addressing modes, instructions, native data types, registers, memory architecture, interrupt, and exception handling, and external I/O. n example of an instruction set is the x86 instruction set, which is common to find on computers today. Different computer processors can use almost the same instruction set while still having very different internal design. Both the Intel Pentium and AMD Athlon processors use nearly the same x86 instruction set. An instruction set can be built into the hardware of the processor, or it can be emulated in software, using an interpreter. The hardware design is more efficient and faster for running programs than the emulated software version. Some examples of instruction set are given below :

ADD :                Add two numbers together
COMPARE :    Compare numbers
IN :                    Input information form a device, e.g., keyboard
JUMP :             Jump to designated RAM address.
JUMP IF :        Conditional statement that jumps to a designated RAM address.
LOAD :             Load information from RAM to the CPU.
OUT :               Output information to device, e.g., monitor.
STORE :           Store information to RAM.

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