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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Computer Architecture # 05 : Languages and The Machine

In the last chapter we looked at the relationship between the ISA, the assembly language, and machine language. We also saw in some detail how instructions effected register transfers and the movement of data between memory and the CPU, but we touched only briefly on the actual process of assembly and program
linking and loading. In this chapter we widen our view of the relationships between computer languages and the machine.
We begin by discussing compilation, the process of translating a program written in a high level language into a functionally equivalent program in assembly language. Following that, we discuss the process of assembly, the translation of an assembly language program into a functionally equivalent machine language program. We then discuss  linking, the process of linking together separately assembled modules into a single program, and  loading, the process of moving programs into memory and preparing them for execution.
Following that, we discuss the use of assembly language macros, which can be thought of as akin to assembly-time procedures, with the exception that they are placed inline, or expanded, in the assembly language program at every location where they are invoked.

5.1 The Compilation Process
As we will see later in the chapter, the process of assembling an assembly language program into machine code is rather straightforward, because there is a one to one mapping between assembly language statements and the equivalent machine binary codes. High-level languages, on the other hand, present a much more complex problem. 

(to be continue)

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