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A pipelined interface for high floating-point performance with precise exceptions

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1 Author(s)
Iacobovici, S. ; Nat. Semicond., Santa Clara, CA, USA

Two options are presented that were considered for a pipelined interface between a central processing unit (CPU) and a floating-point coprocessor (FPU), along with the CPU recovery mechanisms that provide precise floating-point exceptions for each option. The first option supports parallel execution of both floating-point and integer instructions, while the second option pipelines only the execution of floating-point instructions. The use of the second option in National Semiconductor's 32532/32580 processor cluster because it offers high performance with significantly lower complexity. The 32532 microprocessor features a pipelined slave protocol that hides the CPU-FPU communication overhead for most floating-point instructions by pipelining their execution. A simple recovery mechanism implemented within the CPU maintains the precision of floating-point exceptions. As a result, the 32532 microprocessor supports very high floating point performance without sacrificing software compatibility with previous Series 32000 CPU-FPU clusters.<>

Published in:

Micro, IEEE  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 3 )