Computer Dictionary/Advanced RISC Machine
of low-cost, power-efficient 32-bit RISC microprocessors for embedded control, computing, digital signal processing, games, consumer multimedia and portable applications. It was the first commercial RISC microprocessor (or was the [[Computer Dictionary/MIPS R2000|MIPS R2000]]?) and was licensed for production by [[Computer Dictionary/Asahi Kasei Microsystems|Asahi Kasei Microsystems]], Cirrus Logic, GEC Plessey Semiconductors, Samsung, Sharp, Texas Instruments and VLSI Technology.
The ARM has a small and highly orthogonal instruction set, as do most RISC processors. Every instruction includes a four-bit code which specifies a condition (of the [[Computer Dictionary/processor status register|processor status register]]) which must be satisfied for the instruction to be executed. Unconditional execution is specified with a condition "true".
Instructions are split into load and store which access memory and arithmetic and logic instructions which work on registers (two source and one destination).
The ARM has 27 registers of which 16 are accessible in any particular processor mode. R15 combines the program counter and processor status byte, the other registers are general purpose except that R14 holds the return address after a subroutine call and R13 is conventionally used as a [[Computer Dictionary/stack pointer|stack pointer]]. There are four processor modes: user, interrupt (with a private copy of R13 and R14), fast interrupt (private copies of R8 to R14) and supervisor (private copies of R13 and R14). The ALU includes a 32-bit barrel-shifter allowing, e.g., a single-cycle shift and add.
The first ARM processor, the ARM1 was a prototype which was never released. The ARM2 was originally called the Acorn RISC Machine. It was designed by Acorn Computers Ltd. and used in the original Archimedes, their successor to the [[Computer Dictionary/BBC Micro|BBC Micro]] and BBC Master series which were based on the eight-bit 6502 microprocessor. It was clocked at 8 MHz giving an average performance of 4 - 4.7 MIPS. Development of the ARM family was then continued by a new company, Advanced RISC Machines Ltd.
The ARM3 added a fully-associative on-chip cache and some support for multiprocessing. This was followed by the ARM600 chip which was an ARM6 processor core with a 4-kilobyte 64-way set-associative cache, an MMU based on the MEMC2 chip, a write buffer (8 words?) and a coprocessor interface.
An ARM800 chip is also planned.
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