Unit- 2 Assembler Design

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Assembler Design

Assembler is system software which is used to convert an assembly language program to its equivalent object code. The input to the assembler is a source code written in assembly language (using mnemonics) and the output is the object code. The design of an assembler depends upon the machine architecture as the language used is mnemonic language.

Basic Assembler Functions:

The basic assembler functions are:

  • Translating mnemonic language code to its equivalent object code.

  • Assigning machine addresses to symbolic labels.

  • The design of assembler can be to perform the following:

    • Scanning (tokenizing)

    • Parsing (validating the instructions)

    • Creating the symbol table

    • Resolving the forward references

    • Converting into the machine language

  • The design of assembler in other words:

    • Convert mnemonic operation codes to their machine language equivalents

    • Convert symbolic operands to their equivalent machine addresses

    • Decide the proper instruction format Convert the data constants to internal machine representations

    • Write the object program and the assembly listing

So for the design of the assembler we need to concentrate on the machine architecture of the SIC/XE machine. We need to identify the algorithms and the various data structures to be used. According to the above required steps for assembling the assembler also has to handle assembler directives, these do not generate the object code but directs the assembler to perform certain operation. These directives are:

  • SIC Assembler Directive:

    • START: Specify name & starting address.

    • END: End of the program, specify the first execution instruction.


    • End of record: a null char(00)

End of file: a zero length record

The assembler design can be done:

  • Single pass assembler

  • Multi-pass assembler

Single-pass Assembler:

In this case the whole process of scanning, parsing, and object code conversion is done in single pass. The only problem with this method is resolving forward reference. This is shown with an example below:

10 1000 FIRST STL RETADR 141033





95 1033 RETADR RESW 1

In the above example in line number 10 the instruction STL will store the linkage register with the contents of RETADR. But during the processing of this instruction the value of this symbol is not known as it is defined at the line number 95. Since I single-pass assembler the scanning, parsing and object code conversion happens simultaneously. The instruction is fetched; it is scanned for tokens, parsed for syntax and semantic validity. If it valid then it has to be converted to its equivalent object code. For this the object code is generated for the opcode STL and the value for the symbol RETADR need to be added, which is not available.

Due to this reason usually the design is done in two passes. So a multi-pass assembler resolves the forward references and then converts into the object code. Hence the process of the multi-pass assembler can be as follows:


  • Assign addresses to all the statements

  • Save the addresses assigned to all labels to be used in Pass-2

  • Perform some processing of assembler directives such as RESW, RESB to find the length of data areas for assigning the address values.

  • Defines the symbols in the symbol table(generate the symbol table)


  • Assemble the instructions (translating operation codes and looking up addresses).

  • Generate data values defined by BYTE, WORD etc.

  • Perform the processing of the assembler directives not done during pass-1.

  • Write the object program and assembler listing.

Assembler Design:

The most important things which need to be concentrated is the generation of Symbol table and resolving forward references.

  • Symbol Table:

    • This is created during pass 1

    • All the labels of the instructions are symbols

    • Table has entry for symbol name, address value.

  • Forward reference:

    • Symbols that are defined in the later part of the program are called forward referencing.

    • There will not be any address value for such symbols in the symbol table in pass

Example Program:

The example program considered here has a main module, two subroutines

  • Purpose of example program

- Reads records from input device (code F1)

- Copies them to output device (code 05)

- At the end of the file, writes EOF on the output device, then RSUB to the

operating system

  • Data transfer (RD, WD)

-A buffer is used to store record

-Buffering is necessary for different I/O rates

-The end of each record is marked with a null character (00)16

-The end of the file is indicated by a zero-length record

  • Subroutines (JSUB, RSUB)


-Save link register first before nested jump

The first column shows the line number for that instruction, second column shows the addresses allocated to each instruction. The third column indicates the labels given to the statement, and is followed by the instruction consisting of opcode and operand. The last column gives the equivalent object code.

The object code later will be loaded into memory for execution. The simple object program we use contains three types of records:

  • Header record

- Col. 1 H

- Col. 2~7 Program name

- Col. 8~13 Starting address of object program (hex)

- Col. 14~19 Length of object program in bytes (hex)

  • Text record

- Col. 1 T

- Col. 2~7 Starting address for object code in this record (hex)

- Col. 8~9 Length of object code in this record in bytes (hex)

- Col. 10~69 Object code, represented in hex (2 col. per byte)

  • End record

- Col.1 E

    • Col.2~7 Address of first executable instruction in object program (hex) “^” is only for separation only

Object code for the example program:

Some of the features in the program depend on the architecture of the machine. If the program is for SIC machine, then we have only limited instruction formats and hence limited addressing modes. We have only single operand instructions. The operand is always a memory reference. Anything to be fetched from memory requires more time. Hence the improved version of SIC/XE machine provides more instruction formats and hence more addressing modes. The moment we change the machine architecture the availability of number of instruction formats and the addressing modes changes. Therefore the design usually requires considering two things: Machine-dependent features and Machine-independent features.

Machine-Dependent Features:

  • Instruction formats and addressing modes

  • Program relocation

Instruction formats and Addressing Modes

The instruction formats depend on the memory organization and the size of the memory. In SIC machine the memory is byte addressable. Word size is 3 bytes. So the size of the memory is 212 bytes. Accordingly it supports only one instruction format. It has only two registers: register A and Index register. Therefore the addressing modes supported by this architecture are direct, indirect, and indexed. Whereas the memory of a SIC/XE machine is 220 bytes (1 MB). This supports four different types of instruction types, they are:

  • 1 byte instruction

  • 2 byte instruction

  • 3 byte instruction

  • 4 byte instruction

  • Instructions can be:

    • Instructions involving register to register

    • Instructions with one operand in memory, the other in Accumulator (Single operand instruction)

    • Extended instruction format

  • Addressing Modes are:

    • Index Addressing(SIC): Opcode m, x

    • Indirect Addressing: Opcode @m

    • PC-relative: Opcode m

    • Base relative: Opcode m

    • Immediate addressing: Opcode #c

      1. Translations for the Instruction involving Register-Register addressing mode:

During pass 1 the registers can be entered as part of the symbol table itself. The value for these registers is their equivalent numeric codes. During pass 2, these values are assembled along with the mnemonics object code. If required a separate table can be created with the register names and their equivalent numeric values.

        1. Translation involving Register-Memory instructions:

In SIC/XE machine there are four instruction formats and five addressing modes.

Among the instruction formats, format -3 and format-4 instructions are Register-Memory type of instruction. One of the operand is always in a register and the other operand is in the memory. The addressing mode tells us the way in which the operand from the memory is to be fetched.

There are two ways: Program-counter relative and Base-relative. This addressing mode can be represented by either using format-3 type or format-4 type of instruction format. In format-3, the instruction has the opcode followed by a 12-bit displacement value in the address field. Where as in format-4 the instruction contains the mnemonic code followed by a 20-bit displacement value in the address field.

2. Program-Counter Relative: In this usually format-3 instruction format is used. The instruction contains the opcode followed by a 12-bit displacement value. The range of displacement values are from 0 -2048. This displacement (should be small enough to fit in a 12-bit field) value is added to the current contents of the program counter to get the target address of the operand required by the instruction. This is relative way of calculating the address of the operand relative to the program counter. Hence the displacement of the operand is relative to the current program counter value. The following example shows how the address is calculated:

3. Base-Relative Addressing Mode: in this mode the base register is used to mention the displacement value. Therefore the target address is

TA = (base) + displacement value

This addressing mode is used when the range of displacement value is not sufficient. Hence the operand is not relative to the instruction as in PC-relative addressing mode. Whenever this mode is used it is indicated by using a directive BASE. The moment the assembler encounters this directive the next instruction uses base-relative addressing mode to calculate the target address of the operand.

When NOBASE directive is used then it indicates the base register is no more used to calculate the target address of the operand. Assembler first chooses PC-relative, when the displacement field is not enough it uses Base-relative.

LDB #LENGTH (instruction)

BASE LENGTH (directive)



For example:

12 0003 LDB #LENGTH 69202D


: :

100 0033 LENGTH RESW 1

105 0036 BUFFER RESB 4096

: :

160 104E STCH BUFFER, X 57C003

165 1051 TIXR T B850

In the above example the use of directive BASE indicates that Base-relative addressing mode is to be used to calculate the target address. PC-relative is no longer used. The value of the LENGTH is stored in the base register. If PC-relative is used then the target address calculated is:

The LDB instruction loads the value of length in the base register which 0033. BASE directive explicitly tells the assembler that it has the value of LENGTH.

BUFFER is at location (0036)16

(B) = (0033)16

disp = 0036 – 0033 = (0003)16

20 000A LDA LENGTH 032026

: :

175 1056 EXIT STX LENGTH 134000

Consider Line 175. If we use PC-relative

Disp = TA – (PC) = 0033 –1059 = EFDA

PC relative is no longer applicable, so we try to use BASE relative addressing mode.

4. Immediate Addressing Mode

In this mode no memory reference is involved. If immediate mode is used the target address is the operand itself.

If the symbol is referred in the instruction as the immediate operand then it is immediate with PC-relative mode as shown in the example below:

5. Indirect and PC-relative mode:

In this type of instruction the symbol used in the instruction is the address of the location which contains the address of the operand. The address of this is found using PC-relative addressing mode. For example:

The instruction jumps the control to the address location RETADR which in turn has the address of the operand. If address of RETADR is 0030, the target address is then 0003 as calculated above.

Program Relocation

Sometimes it is required to load and run several programs at the same time. The system must be able to load these programs wherever there is place in the memory. Therefore the exact starting is not known until the load time.

Absolute Program

In this the address is mentioned during assembling itself. This is called Absolute Assembly. Consider the instruction:

55 101B LDA THREE 00102D

This statement says that the register A is loaded with the value stored at location 102D. Suppose it is decided to load and execute the program at location 2000 instead of location 1000. Then at address 102D the required value which needs to be loaded in the register A is no more available. The address also gets changed relative to the displacement of the program. Hence we need to make some changes in the address portion of the instruction so that we can load and execute the program at location 2000. Apart from the instruction which will undergo a change in their operand address value as the program load address changes. There exist some parts in the program which will remain same regardless of where the program is being loaded.

Since assembler will not know actual location where the program will get loaded, it cannot make the necessary changes in the addresses used in the program. However, the assembler identifies for the loader those parts of the program which need modification. An object program that has the information necessary to perform this kind of modification is called the relocatable program.

Control Sections:

A control section is a part of the program that maintains its identity after assembly; each control section can be loaded and relocated independently of the others. Different control sections are most often used for subroutines or other logical subdivisions. The programmer can assemble, load, and manipulate each of these control sections separately.

Because of this, there should be some means for linking control sections together. For example, instructions in one control section may refer to the data or instructions of other control sections. Since control sections are independently loaded and relocated, the assembler is unable to process these references in the usual way. Such references between different control sections are called external references.

The assembler generates the information about each of the external references that will allow the loader to perform the required linking. When a program is written using multiple control sections, the beginning of each of the control section is indicated by an assembler directive

    • assembler directive: CSECT

The syntax

secname CSECT

    • separate location counter for each control section

Control sections differ from program blocks in that they are handled separately by the assembler. Symbols that are defined in one control section may not be used directly another control section; they must be identified as external reference for the loader to handle. The external references are indicated by two assembler directives:

EXTDEF (external Definition):

It is the statement in a control section, names symbols that are defined in this section but may be used by other control sections. Control section names do not need to be named in the EXTREF as they are automatically considered as external symbols.

EXTREF (external Reference):

It names symbols that are used in this section but are defined in some other control section.

The order in which these symbols are listed is not significant. The assembler must include proper information about the external references in the object program that will cause the loader to insert the proper value where they are required.

Handling External Reference

Case 1

15 0003 CLOOP +JSUB RDREC 4B100000

  • The operand RDREC is an external reference.

    • The assembler has no idea where RDREC is

    • inserts an address of zero

    • can only use extended format to provide enough room (that is, relative addressing for external reference is invalid)

  • The assembler generates information for each external reference that will allow the loader to perform the required linking.

Case 2


  • There are two external references in the expression, BUFEND and BUFFER.

  • The assembler inserts a value of zero

  • passes information to the loader

  • Add to this data area the address of BUFEND

  • Subtract from this data area the address of BUFFER

Case 3

On line 107, BUFEND and BUFFER are defined in the same control section and the expression can be calculated immediately.


Object Code for the example program:

The assembler must also include information in the object program that will cause the loader to insert the proper value where they are required. The assembler maintains two new record in the object code and a changed version of modification record.

Define record (EXTDEF)

  • Col. 1 D

  • Col. 2-7 Name of external symbol defined in this control section

  • Col. 8-13 Relative address within this control section (hexadecimal)

  • Col.14-73 Repeat information in Col. 2-13 for other external symbols

Refer record (EXTREF)

  • Col. 1 R

  • Col. 2-7 Name of external symbol referred to in this control section

  • Col. 8-73 Name of other external reference symbols

Modification record

  • Col. 1 M

  • Col. 2-7 Starting address of the field to be modified (hexadecimal)

  • Col. 8-9 Length of the field to be modified, in half-bytes (hexadecimal)

  • Col.11-16 External symbol whose value is to be added to or subtracted from

the indicated field

A define record gives information about the external symbols that are defined in this control section, i.e., symbols named by EXTDEF.

A refer record lists the symbols that are used as external references by the control section, i.e., symbols named by EXTREF.

The new items in the modification record specify the modification to be performed: adding or subtracting the value of some external symbol. The symbol used for modification my be defined either in this control section or in another section.

The object program is shown below. There is a separate object program for each of the control sections. In the Define Record and refer record the symbols named in EXTDEF and EXTREF are included.

In the case of Define, the record also indicates the relative address of each external symbol within the control section.

For EXTREF symbols, no address information is available. These symbols are simply named in the Refer record.

Handling Expressions in Multiple Control Sections:

The existence of multiple control sections that can be relocated independently of one another makes the handling of expressions complicated. It is required that in an expression that all the relative terms be paired (for absolute expression), or that all except one be paired (for relative expressions).

When it comes in a program having multiple control sections then we have an extended restriction that:

  • Both terms in each pair of an expression must be within the same control section

    • If two terms represent relative locations within the same control section , their difference is an absolute value (regardless of where the control section is located.

      • Legal: BUFEND-BUFFER (both are in the same control section)

    • If the terms are located in different control sections, their difference has a value that is unpredictable.

      • Illegal: RDREC-COPY (both are of different control section) it is the difference in the load addresses of the two control sections. This value depends on the way run-time storage is allocated; it is unlikely to be of any use.

      • How to enforce this restriction

  • When an expression involves external references, the assembler cannot determine whether or not the expression is legal.

  • The assembler evaluates all of the terms it can, combines these to form an initial expression value, and generates Modification records.

  • The loader checks the expression for errors and finishes the evaluation.


Here we are discussing

    • The structure and logic of one-pass assembler. These assemblers are used when it is necessary or desirable to avoid a second pass over the source program.

    • Notion of a multi-pass assembler, an extension of two-pass assembler that allows an assembler to handle forward references during symbol definition.

One-Pass Assembler

The main problem in designing the assembler using single pass was to resolve forward references. We can avoid to some extent the forward references by:

      • Eliminating forward reference to data items, by defining all the storage reservation statements at the beginning of the program rather at the end.

      • Unfortunately, forward reference to labels on the instructions cannot be avoided. (forward jumping)

      • To provide some provision for handling forward references by prohibiting forward references to data items.

There are two types of one-pass assemblers:

  • One that produces object code directly in memory for immediate execution (Load-and-go assemblers).

  • The other type produces the usual kind of object code for later execution.

Load-and-Go Assembler

  • Load-and-go assembler generates their object code in memory for immediate execution.

  • No object program is written out, no loader is needed.

  • It is useful in a system with frequent program development and testing

    • The efficiency of the assembly process is an important consideration.

  • Programs are re-assembled nearly every time they are run; efficiency of the assembly process is an important consideration.

Forward Reference in One-Pass Assemblers: In load-and-Go assemblers when a forward reference is encountered :

  • Omits the operand address if the symbol has not yet been defined

  • Enters this undefined symbol into SYMTAB and indicates that it is undefined

  • Adds the address of this operand address to a list of forward references associated with the SYMTAB entry

  • When the definition for the symbol is encountered, scans the reference list and inserts the address.

  • At the end of the program, reports the error if there are still SYMTAB entries indicated undefined symbols.

  • For Load-and-Go assembler

    • Search SYMTAB for the symbol named in the END statement and jumps to this location to begin execution if there is no error

After Scanning line 40 of the program:

40 2021 J` CLOOP 302012

The status is that upto this point the symbol RREC is referred once at location 2013, ENDFIL at 201F and WRREC at location 201C. None of these symbols are defined. The figure shows that how the pending definitions along with their addresses are included in the symbol table.

The status after scanning line 160, which has encountered the definition of RDREC and ENDFIL is as given below:

If One-Pass needs to generate object code:

  • If the operand contains an undefined symbol, use 0 as the address and write the Text record to the object program.

  • Forward references are entered into lists as in the load-and-go assembler.

  • When the definition of a symbol is encountered, the assembler generates another Text record with the correct operand address of each entry in the reference list.

  • When loaded, the incorrect address 0 will be updated by the latter Text record containing the symbol definition.

Multi_Pass Assembler:

  • For a two pass assembler, forward references in symbol definition are not allowed:




  • Symbol definition must be completed in pass 1.

  • Prohibiting forward references in symbol definition is not a serious inconvenience.

    • Forward references tend to create difficulty for a person reading the program.

Implementation Issues for Modified Two-Pass Assembler:

Implementation Isuues when forward referencing is encountered in Symbol Defining statements :

  • For a forward reference in symbol definition, we store in the SYMTAB:

    • The symbol name

    • The defining expression

    • The number of undefined symbols in the defining expression

  • The undefined symbol (marked with a flag *) associated with a list of symbols depend on this undefined symbol.

  • When a symbol is defined, we can recursively evaluate the symbol expressions depending on the newly defined symbol.

Important Question

  1. Why an Assembly Language is needed?

Programming in machine code, by supplying the computer with the numbers of the operations it must perform, can be quite a burden, because for every operation the corresponding number must be looked up or remembered. Looking up all numbers takes a lot of time, and mis-remembering a number may introduce computer bugs.

So Assembly Languages are evolved which contains mnemonic instructions corresponding to the Machine codes using which the program can be written easily.

Therefore a set of mnemonics was devised. Each number was represented by an alphabetic code. So instead of entering the number corresponding to addition to add two numbers one can enter "add".

Although mnemonics differ between different CPU designs some are common, for instance: "sub" (subtract), "div" (divide), "add" (add) and "mul" (multiply).

  1. What is an Assembler?

An assembler is a program that accepts an assembly language program as input and produces its machine language equivalent along with information for the loader

(An Assembler translates a program written in an assembly language to it machine language equivalent)

  1. Explain the terms a)Label,b)Opcode,c)Operand,and d)Comment

(What is the format in which the assembly language program is written?).

  • Label field.

    • The label is a symbolic name that represents the memory address of an executable statement or a variable.

  • Opcode/directive fields.

    • The opcode (e.g. operation code) specifies the symbolic name for a machine instruction.

    • The directive specifies commands to the assembler about the way to assemble the program.

  • Operand field.

    • The operand specifies the data that is needed by a statement.

  • Comment field.

    • The comment provides clear explanation for a statement.

  1. What are the basic functions of an assembler?

Functions of a Basic Assembler

  • Convert mnemonic operation codes to their machine

language equivalents

E.g. STL -> 14 (line 10)

  • Convert symbolic operands to their equivalent

machine addresses

E.g. RETADR -> 1033 (line 10)

  • Build the machine instructions in the proper format

  • Convert the data constants to internal machine


E.g. EOF -> 454F46 (line 80)

  • Write the object program and the assembly listing

  1. What are assembler Directives?

Assembler directives are Pseudo-instructions that are not translated into machine instructions and they provide instructions to the assembler itself.

  • The SIC assembler directives.

    • START

      • Specification of the name and start address of the program.

    • END

      • Indication of the end of the program and optionally the address of the first executable instruction.

    • BYTE

      • Declaration of character or string constants.

    • WORD

      • Declaration of integer constants.

    • RESB

      • Declaration of character variables or arrays.

    • RESW

      • Declaration of integer variables or arrays.

  1. What are the functions of two pass assembler?

Functions of Two Pass Assembler

  • Pass 1 - define symbols (assign addresses)

  • Assign addresses to all statements in the program

  • Save the values assigned to all labels for use in Pass 2

  • Process some assembler directives

  • Pass 2 - assemble instructions and generate object program

Assemble instructions

  • Generate data values defined by BYTE, WORD, etc.

  • Process the assembler directives not done in Pass 1

  • Write the object program and the assembly listing

  1. What is the format of the Object Program generated by the Assembler?

Contains 3 types of records:

Header record:

Col. 1 H

Col. 2-7 Program name

Col. 8-13 Starting address (hex)

Col. 14-19 Length of object program in bytes (hex)

Text record

Col.1 T

Col.2-7 Starting address in this record (hex)

Col. 8-9 Length of object code in this record in bytes (hex)

Col. 10-69 Object code (hex) (2 columns per byte)

End record

Col.1 E

Col.2~7 Address of first executable instruction (hex)

(END program_name)

  1. Give an example of object program generated by an Assembler.

  1. What is forward reference?

Forward reference is a reference to a label that is defined later in the program.



o RETADR is not yet defined when we encounter STL instruction

o So it is called forward reference..

  1. Give an example of Assembly language along with the objectcode generated.

Line Loc Source statement Object code

5 1000 COPY START 1000

10 1000 FIRST STL RETADR 141033

15 1003 CLOOP JSUB RDREC 482039

20 1006 LDA LENGTH 001036

25 1009 COMP ZERO 281030

30 100C JEQ ENDFIL 301015

35 100F JSUB WRREC 482061

40 1012 J CLOOP 3C1003

45 1015 ENDFIL LDA EOF 00102A

50 1018 STA BUFFER 0C1039

55 101B LDA THREE 00102D

60 101E STA LENGTH 0C1036

65 1021 JSUB WRREC 482061

70 1024 LDL RETADR 081033

75 1027 RSUB 4C0000

80 102A EOF BYTE C’EOF’ 454F46

85 102D THREE WORD 3 000003

90 1030 ZERO WORD 0 000000

95 1033 RETADR RESW 1

100 1036 LENGTH RESW 1

105 1039 BUFFER RESB 4096

110 .


120 .

125 2039 RDREC LDX ZERO 041030

130 203C LDA ZERO 001030

135 203F RLOOP TD INPUT E0205D

140 2042 JEQ RLOOP 30203D

145 2045 RD INPUT D8205D

150 2048 COMP ZERO 281030

155 204B JEQ EXIT 302057

160 204E STCH BUFFER,X 549039

165 2051 TIX MAXLEN 2C205E

170 2054 JLT RLOOP 38203F

175 2057 EXIT STX LENGTH 101036

180 205A RSUB 4C0000

185 205D INPUT BYTE X’F1’ F1

190 205E MAXLEN WORD 4096 001000

195 .


205 .

210 2061 WRREC LDX ZERO 041030

215 2064 WLOOP TD OUTPUT E02079

220 2067 JEQ WLOOP 302064

225 206A LDCH BUFFER,X 509039

230 206D WD OUTPUT DC2079

235 2070 TIX LENGTH 2C1036

240 2073 JLT WLOOP 382064

245 2076 RSUB 4C0000

250 2079 OUTPUT BYTE X’05’ 05



10) Write an Algorithm for pass 1 of SIC Assembler.

11) Write an algorithm for pass 2 of SIC assembler.

  1. What are the Data Structures used in an Assembler?

Data Structures:

Operation Code Table (OPTAB)

Symbol Table (SYMTAB)

Location Counter(LOCCTR)

  1. Explain the features of a Symbol Table.

  • SYMTAB (symbol table)

  • Content

Label name and its value (address)

May also include flag (type, length) etc.

  • Usage

Pass 1: labels are entered into SYMTAB with their address (from

LOCCTR) as they are encountered in the source program

Pass 2: symbols used as operands are looked up in SYMTAB to

obtain the address to be inserted in the assembled instruction

  • Characteristic

Dynamic table (insert, delete, search)

  • Implementation

Hash table for efficiency of insertion and retrieval

COPY 1000

FIRST 1000

CLOOP 1003


EOF 1024


ZERO 1030




RDREC 2039


  1. What is Location Counter?

Location Counter

  • A variable used to help in assignment of addresses

  • Initialized to the beginning address specified in the START statement

  • Counted in bytes

  1. What are the machine dependant fetures of a SIC/XE Assembler?

Machine-dependent features of assemblers Features of the SIC/XE machine

Programming features.

    1. # symbol.

      1. Indication of the immediate addressing mode.

      2. Immediate addressing provides a faster access to an operand reference.

    2. @ symbol.

      1. Indication of the indirect addressing mode.

      2. Indirect addressing reduces the number of instructions.

    3. + symbol.

      1. Explicit selection of the format 4 instruction with a direct addressing mode.

      2. Format 4 is selected when the 12-bit displacement of format 3 is too small.

    4. BASE directive.

      1. Indication that the base register B holds a base address used in a base addressing.

      2. NOBASE directive disables the base register.

      3. LDB instruction loads the base register with a base address.

    5. Register-to-register addressing.

      1. Register addressing reduces the size of a machine instruction and speeds up a computation

Assembling features.

    1. Multiprogramming.

      1. Larger memory allows us to load many programs.

      2. The object code is relative to zero because the load address is variable.

      3. Program must be relocated when it is loaded in memory.

    2. Register set mapping.

      1. A separate register table can store the numeric values of the registers.

      2. The numeric values of the registers can be preloaded with the symbol table.

    3. Relative (PC and base) addressing mode.

      1. Operand value is subtracted from PC or base register value.

      2. PC relative addressing provides a displacement from –2048 to +2047.

      3. Base relative addressing provides a displacement from 0 to 4095.

  1. What is Program Relocation?

Program relocation

  • Principles.

    • The load address of an object program is unknown at assembly time if the system implements the multiprogramming feature.

    • The assembler generates addresses relative to zero in the object program.

    • At load time, relocation is performed by adding the load address to the relative addresses.

    • Operands of instructions that use direct addressing must be relocated, and the assembler provides the relocation information in the object program.

    • Operands of instructions that use relative addressing do not need to be relocated.

    • Relocation can be processed by the loader or by the CPU using relocation registers.

  1. What are the advantages of program relocation?

Program Relocation

  • The larger main memory of SIC/XE

    • Several programs can be loaded and run at the same time.

    • This kind of sharing of the machine between programs

    • is called multiprogramming

  • To take full advantage

  1. What are program blocks?

Program Blocks

  • Refer to segments of code that are rearranged within a single object program unit

  • USE [blockname]

  • At the beginning, statements are assumed to be part of the unnamed (default) block

  • If no USE statements are included, the entire program belongs to this single block

  • Each program block may actually contain several separate segments of the source program

  1. How the program blocks are assembled?

Program Blocks - Implementation

  • Pass 1

    • Each program block has a separate location counter

    • Each label is assigned an address that is relative to the start of the block that contains it

    • At the end of Pass 1, the latest value of the location counter for each block indicates the length of that block

    • The assembler can then assign to each block a starting address in the object program

  • Pass 2

    • The address of each symbol can be computed by adding the assigned block starting address and the relative address of the symbol to that block

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