Simple sequential execution

The Arm architecture describes instructions following a Simple Sequential Execution (SSE) model. This means that the processor behaves as if the processor fetched, decoded and executed one instruction at a time, and  in the order in which the instructions appeared in memory.

In practice, modern processors have pipelines that can execute multiple instructions at once, and may do so out of order. This diagram shows an example pipeline for an Arm Cortex processor:

Arm Cortex Pipeline 

You will remember that the architecture is a functional description. This means that it does not specify how an individual processor works. Each processor must behave consistently with the simple sequential execution model, even if it is re-ordering instructions internally.

Previous Next