Microprocessor Design/VLIW Processors

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Very Long Instruction Words (VLIW) can be used to simultaneously specify multiple instructions in parallel with one another.

VLIW Vs Superscalar[edit | edit source]

In a superscalar design, the microprocessor will have multiple independant execution units. An instruction scheduler determines which instructions will be executed on which execution unit, at what time. This scheduler unit requires large amounts of additional hardware complexity.

VLIW is similar to superscalar architecture except that instead of using scheduling hardware to map instructions to available execution units, instructions for all units are provided in every instruction word. The scheduling is performed by the compiler at compile time.

The term VLIW comes from the fact that multiple instructions typically requires large instruction words. If each instruction is 32 bits (including opcode, source and destination registers, etc), and the processor has 4 execution cores, then the total instruction word length is 128 bits long!

Multi-Issue[edit | edit source]

Similar to the VLIW design, a multi-issue processor will issue an unfixed number of instructions per cycle, and each will be executed simultaneously.