The Alu control The alu has four control inputs



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7.7 The ALU Control

The ALU has four control inputs. These bits were not encoded; hence, only 6 of the possible 16 possible input combinations are used in this subset. The MIPS ALU shows the 6 following combinations:



Depending on the instruction class, the ALU will need to perform one of these first five functions. (NOR is needed for other parts of the MIPS instruction set.) For load word and store word instructions, we use the ALU to compute the memory address by addition. For the R-type instructions, the ALU needs to perform one of the five actions (AND, OR, subtract, add, or set on less than), depending on the value of the 6-bit funct (or function) field in the low-order bits of the instruction. For branch equal, the ALU must perform a subtraction.

We can generate the 4-bit ALU control input using a small control unit that has as inputs the function field of the instruction and a 2-bit control field, which we call ALUOp. ALUOp indicates whether the operation to be performed should be add (00) for loads and stores, subtract (01) for beq, or determined by the operation encoded in the funct field (10). The output of the ALU control unit is a 4-bit signal that directly controls the ALU by generating one of the 4-bit combinations shown previously.

In Figure 23, we show how to set the ALU control inputs based on the 2-bit ALUOp control and the 6-bit function code. For completeness, the relationship between the ALUOp bits and the instruction opcode is also shown.

This style of using multiple levels of decoding—that is, the main control unit generates the ALUOp bits, which then are used as input to the ALU control that generates the actual signals to control the ALU unit—is a common implementation technique. Using multiple levels of control can reduce the size of the main control unit. Using several smaller control units may also potentially increase the speed of the control unit. Such optimizations are important, since the control unit is often performance-critical.




There are several different ways to implement the mapping from the 2-bit ALUOp field and the 6-bit funct field to the three ALU operation control bits. Because only a small number of the 64 possible values of the function field are of interest and the function field is used only when the ALUOp bits equal 10, we can use a small piece of logic that recognizes the subset of possible values and causes the correct setting of the ALU control bits.

Because in many instances we do not care about the values of some of the inputs and to keep the tables compact, we also include don’t-care terms. A don’tcare term in this truth table (represented by an X in an input column) indicates that the output does not depend on the value of the input corresponding to that column. For example, when the ALUOp bits are 00, as in the first line of the table in Figure 24, we always set the ALU control to 010, independent of the function code. In this case, then, the function code inputs will be don’t cares in this line of the truth table. Once the truth table has been constructed, it can be optimized and then turned into gates.

7.8 Finalizing the Control

Now that we have seen how the instructions operate in steps, let’s continue with the control implementation. The control function can be precisely defined using the contents of Figure 19. The outputs are the control lines, and the input is the 6-bit opcode field, Op [5:0]. Thus, we can create a truth table for each of the outputs based on the binary encoding of the opcodes. Figure 25 shows the logic in the control unit as one large truth table that combines all the outputs and that uses the opcode bits as inputs. It completely specifies the control function, and we can implement it directly in gates in an automated fashion.

Now, let’s add the jump instruction to show how the basic datapath and control can be extended to handle other instructions in the instruction set.



7.9 Implementing Jumps

One class of instructions missing is that of the jump instruction. Extend the datapath and control of Figure 18 to include the jump instruction. Describe how to set any new control lines. The jump instruction looks somewhat like a branch instruction but computes the target PC differently and is not conditional. Like a branch, the low order 2 bits of a jump address are always 00. The next lower 26 bits of this 32-bit address come from the 26-bit immediate field in the instruction, as shown in Figure 26. The upper 4 bits of the address that should replace the PC come from the PC of the jump instruction plus 4. Thus, we can implement a jump by storing into the PC the concatenation of


■ the upper 4 bits of the current PC + 4 (these are bits 31:28 of the sequentially following instruction address)

■ the 26-bit immediate field of the jump instruction



■ the bits 00
Figure 27 shows the addition of the control for jump added to Figure 5.17. An additional multiplexor is used to select the source for the new PC value, which is either the incremented PC (PC + 4), the branch target PC, or the jump target PC. One additional control signal is needed for the additional multiplexor. This control signal, called Jump, is asserted only when the instruction is a jump—that is, when the opcode is 2.






Lecturer: Salah Mahdi Saleh




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