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1.4. Instruction Set Overview

The instruction set comprises ten basic instruction types:

  • Two of these make use of the on-chip arithmetic logic unit, barrel shifter and multiplier to perform high-speed operations on the data in a bank of 31 registers, each 32 bits wide.

  • Three classes of instruction control the data transfer between memory and the registers:

    • one optimized for flexibility of addressing

    • one for rapid context switching

    • one for swapping data

  • Two instructions control the flow and privilege level of execution.

  • Three types are dedicated to the control of external coprocessors which allow the functionality of the instruction set to be extended off-chip in an open and uniform way.

The ARM instruction set is a good target for compilers of many different high-level languages. Where required for critical code segments, assembly code programming is also straightforward, unlike some RISC processors which depend on sophisticated compiler technology to manage complicated instruction interdependencies.

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