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This work presents a DSP architecture for multimedia applications. The DSP core is a simple RISC processor from the programmer's view, which has a high-performance DSP unit and the applications can be easily targeted on the RISC shell to reduce the development time. Moreover, the DSP unit is itself a fully-programmable 4-way VLIW datapath, which has a novel ping-pong register file. To smooth the instruction execution of the two-level programmable DSP processor and improve the code density, we propose a hierarchical encoding scheme for variable-length instructions. The simulations show that our DSP has comparable performance with state-of-the-art DSP architectures, and the hierarchical instruction encoding saves 31%∼64% code sizes compared to the fixed-length instruction encoding.