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US20060026312A1 - Emulating a direct memory access controller - Google Patents

Emulating a direct memory access controller Download PDF

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Publication number
US20060026312A1
US20060026312A1 US11188667 US18866705A US2006026312A1 US 20060026312 A1 US20060026312 A1 US 20060026312A1 US 11188667 US11188667 US 11188667 US 18866705 A US18866705 A US 18866705A US 2006026312 A1 US2006026312 A1 US 2006026312A1
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thread
jsm
processor
stack
micro
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Abandoned
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US11188667
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Gerard Chauvel
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Texas Instruments Inc
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Texas Instruments Inc
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRICAL DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F12/00Accessing, addressing or allocating within memory systems or architectures
    • G06F12/02Addressing or allocation; Relocation
    • G06F12/08Addressing or allocation; Relocation in hierarchically structured memory systems, e.g. virtual memory systems
    • G06F12/10Address translation
    • G06F12/1081Address translation for peripheral access to main memory, e.g. direct memory access [DMA]
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRICAL DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F12/00Accessing, addressing or allocating within memory systems or architectures
    • G06F12/02Addressing or allocation; Relocation
    • G06F12/08Addressing or allocation; Relocation in hierarchically structured memory systems, e.g. virtual memory systems
    • G06F12/0802Addressing of a memory level in which the access to the desired data or data block requires associative addressing means, e.g. caches
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRICAL DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F9/00Arrangements for programme control, e.g. control unit
    • G06F9/06Arrangements for programme control, e.g. control unit using stored programme, i.e. using internal store of processing equipment to receive and retain programme
    • G06F9/30Arrangements for executing machine-instructions, e.g. instruction decode
    • G06F9/3017Runtime instruction translation, e.g. macros
    • G06F9/30174Runtime instruction translation, e.g. macros for non-native instruction set, e.g. Javabyte, legacy code
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRICAL DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F9/00Arrangements for programme control, e.g. control unit
    • G06F9/06Arrangements for programme control, e.g. control unit using stored programme, i.e. using internal store of processing equipment to receive and retain programme
    • G06F9/44Arrangements for executing specific programmes
    • G06F9/455Emulation; Software simulation, i.e. virtualisation or emulation of application or operating system execution engines
    • G06F9/45504Abstract machines for programme code execution, e.g. Java virtual machine [JVM], interpreters, emulators
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRICAL DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F2212/00Indexing scheme relating to accessing, addressing or allocation within memory systems or architectures
    • G06F2212/60Details of cache memory
    • G06F2212/601Reconfiguration of cache memory
    • G06F2212/6012Reconfiguration of cache memory of operating mode, e.g. cache mode or local memory mode

Abstract

An electronic device comprising a first processor adapted to process software instructions from a memory, and a second processor coupled to the first processor. The second processor is adapted to interrupt the first processor and to use the first processor as a direct memory access (DMA) controller. The second processor uses the first processor as a DMA controller by sending to the first processor a plurality of addresses, wherein the first processor uses a first address of the plurality of addresses to retrieve a group of instructions which, when executed, causes the first processor to load a datum directly from a memory location and to transfer the datum to a different memory location.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority to European Patent Application No. 04291918.3, filed on Jul. 27, 2004 and incorporated herein by reference. This application is related to co-pending and commonly assigned applications Ser. No. ______ (Attorney Docket No. TI-38583 (1962-22400)), entitled, “Delegating Tasks Between Multiple Processor Cores,” and Ser. No. ______ (Attorney Docket No. TI-38584 (1962-22500), entitled, “Interrupt Management In Dual Core Processors,” which are incorporated by reference herein.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0002]
    Direct Memory Access (DMA) is used in a variety of embedded systems. In systems without DMA, a central processing unit (CPU) generally must be used to access memory. However, in systems with DMA, memory may be directly accessed without using the CPU (i.e., the CPU is bypassed). Because the CPU is not interrupted from whatever task it is performing, system efficiency is enhanced. However, a system supporting DMA capability must contain a DMA controller to direct DMA activities in the system. DMA controllers occupy an undesirably large amount of circuit space and consume an undesirably large amount of power.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY
  • [0003]
    Disclosed herein is a technique by which one of a plurality of processor cores may be manipulated to perform the functions of a DMA controller. An illustrative embodiment comprises an electronic device comprising a first processor adapted to process software instructions from a memory, and a second processor coupled to the first processor. The second processor is adapted to interrupt the first processor and to use the first processor as a direct memory access (DMA) controller. The second processor uses the first processor as a DMA controller by sending to the first processor a plurality of addresses, wherein the first processor uses a first address of the plurality of addresses to retrieve a group of instructions which, when executed, causes the first processor to load a datum directly from a memory location and to transfer the datum to a different memory location.
  • [0004]
    Another illustrative embodiment comprises a processor that decodes and executes software instructions from memory, comprising decode logic adapted to receive from another processor a plurality of addresses, and fetch logic coupled to the decode logic and adapted to fetch a group of instructions from storage using a first address from the plurality of addresses. When processed by the decode logic, the group of instructions causes the processor to be used as a direct memory access (DMA) controller by causing the processor to load a datum directly from a memory location and to transfer the datum to a different memory location.
  • [0005]
    Yet another illustrative embodiment comprises a method that comprises sending a first address from a first processor core to a second processor core, the second processor core adapted to decode and execute software instructions from memory. The method also comprises sending a command from the first processor core to the second processor core. The command interrupts the second processor core and causes the second processor core to fetch, from a location specified by the first address, a group of instructions. When executed, the group of instructions causes the second processor core to be used as a direct memory access (DMA) controller.
  • Notation and Nomenclature
  • [0006]
    Certain terms are used throughout the following description and claims to refer to particular system components. As one skilled in the art will appreciate, companies may refer to a component by different names. This document does not intend to distinguish between components that differ in name but not function. In the following discussion and in the claims, the terms “including” and “comprising” are used in an open-ended fashion, and thus should be interpreted to mean “including, but not limited to . . . ”. Also, the term “couple” or “couples” is intended to mean either an indirect or direct connection. Thus, if a first device couples to a second device, that connection may be through a direct connection, or through an indirect connection via other devices and connections.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0007]
    For a more detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
  • [0008]
    FIG. 1 shows a diagram of a system in accordance with preferred embodiments of the invention and including a Java Stack Machine (“JSM”) and a Main Processor Unit (“MPU”), in accordance with embodiments of the invention;
  • [0009]
    FIG. 2 shows a block diagram of the JSM of FIG. 1 in accordance with preferred embodiments of the invention;
  • [0010]
    FIG. 3 shows various registers used in the JSM of FIGS. 1 and 2, in accordance with embodiments of the invention;
  • [0011]
    FIG. 4 shows the preferred operation of the JSM to include “micro-sequences,” in accordance with embodiments of the invention;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 5 shows an illustrative switching process between two execution threads, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 6 shows an illustrative 32-bit instruction that may be incorporated into a micro-sequence, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 7 shows a flow diagram of the switching process of FIG. 5, in accordance with embodiments of the invention;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 8 shows a timing diagram describing the transfer of data during each of a plurality of clock cycles, in accordance with embodiments of the invention;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 9 shows a flow diagram describing how memory is directly accessed and stored by the JSM of FIG. 2, in accordance with preferred embodiments of the invention; and
  • [0017]
    FIG. 10 shows the system described herein, in accordance with preferred embodiments of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0018]
    The following discussion is directed to various embodiments of the invention. Although one or more of these embodiments may be preferred, the embodiments disclosed should not be interpreted, or otherwise used, as limiting the scope of the disclosure, including the claims, unless otherwise specified. In addition, one skilled in the art will understand that the following description has broad application, and the discussion of any embodiment is meant only to be exemplary of that embodiment, and not intended to intimate that the scope of the disclosure, including the claims, is limited to that embodiment.
  • [0019]
    Described herein is a technique by which one of a plurality of processor cores may be manipulated to perform the functions of a DMA controller. A host processor simply sends a command and an address to a secondary processor, along with information pertaining to the data that is to be moved. The command causes the secondary processor to use the address to locate and retrieve a group of instructions that has been pre-programmed into the secondary processor. Executing this group of instructions causes the secondary processor to use the information pertaining to the data to load, move and store the data via direct memory access. However, before the secondary processor executes the group of instructions, it must first stop what it is doing in a currently executing thread and must further “bookmark” its place in the currently executing thread. By bookmarking its place in the currently executing thread, the secondary processor can execute the group of instructions and then resume executing in the thread at the bookmarked location. Accordingly, a technique for bookmarking a spot in a thread and a technique by which the secondary processor is made to act as a DMA controller are now discussed in turn.
  • [0020]
    In the context of software code, a “thread” may be defined as a single stream of code execution. While executing a software program, a processor may switch from a first thread to a second thread in order to complete a particular task. For example, the first thread may comprise some stimulus (i.e., instruction) that, when executed by the processor, causes the processor to halt execution of the first thread and to begin execution of the second thread. The second thread may comprise the performance of some task by a different portion of the software program.
  • [0021]
    The point in the first thread at which the switch is made may be termed the “switch point.” When switching from the first thread to the second thread, the processor first “bookmarks” the switch point, so that when the processor has finished executing the second thread of code, it can resume execution in the first thread at the switch point.
  • [0022]
    In order to bookmark the switch point, the processor stores all information that pertains to the switch point (known as the “context” of the switch point). Such information includes all registers, the program counter, pointer to the stack, etc. The processor copies such information to memory and retrieves the information later to resume execution in the first thread at the switch point. Bookmarking the switch point is time-consuming and consumes power which may be in limited supply in, for example, a battery-operated device such as a mobile phone.
  • [0023]
    Processors that store to memory all information pertaining to the switch point unnecessarily spend time and power doing so. Whereas the aforementioned processors store all registers, the program counter, stack pointer, etc., the subject matter described herein is achieved at least in part by the realization that in many cases, fewer than all such information need be stored. For example, only three values are saved to sufficiently bookmark the switch point: the program counter (PC), a second program counter called the micro-program counter (μPC), discussed below, and a status register. Once the processor has finished executing the second thread, these three values provide sufficient information for the processor to find the switch point in the first thread and resume execution at that switch point.
  • [0024]
    Accordingly, described herein is a programmable electronic device, such as a processor, that is able to bookmark a switch point using a minimal amount of information pertaining to the switch point. A “minimal” amount of information generally comprises information in one or more registers, but not all registers, of a processor core. For example, in some embodiments, a “minimal” amount of information comprises a PC register, a μPC register and a status register. In other embodiments, a “minimal” amount of information comprises the PC register, the μPC register and the status register, as well as one or more additional registers, but less than all registers. In still other embodiments, a “minimal” amount of information comprises less than all registers. In yet other embodiments, a “minimal” amount of information consists of only the information (i.e., registers) necessary to bookmark a switch point, where the amount of information (i.e., number of registers) varies depending on the processor used and/or the software application being processed. In such cases, the “minimal” amount of information may simply be one register or may be all of the registers in the processor core. Instead of storing all switch point information to memory, the processor described herein pushes a minimal amount of switch point information onto a processor stack. Later, when the processor needs the switch point information, it pops the information off of the stack and uses the information to resume execution at the switch point. In this way, the time and power demands placed on the processor are reduced or even minimized, resulting in increased performance.
  • [0025]
    Some situations, however, require more than a minimal amount of information to be stored. For example, in these situations, a minimum amount of information may not be sufficient to properly bookmark a switch point. Accordingly, the disclosed processor is capable of bookmarking a switch point using a minimal amount of information (“minimal context store”) needed to resume execution at the switch point. The processor also is capable of bookmarking a switch point using more than a minimal amount of information (“full context store”), as described further below.
  • [0026]
    The processor described herein is particularly suited for executing Java™ Bytecodes or comparable code. As is well known, Java is particularly suited for embedded applications. Java is a stack-based language, meaning that a processor stack is heavily used when executing various instructions (e.g., Bytecodes), which instructions generally have a size of 8 bits. Java is a relatively “dense” language meaning that on average each instruction may perform a large number of functions compared to various other instructions. The dense nature of Java is of particular benefit for portable, battery-operated devices that preferably include as little memory as possible to save space and power. The reason, however, for executing Java code is not material to this disclosure or the claims which follow. Further, the processor advantageously includes one or more features that permit the execution of the Java code to be accelerated.
  • [0027]
    Referring now to FIG. 1, a system 100 is shown in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention. As shown, the system includes at least two processors 102 and 104. Processor 102 is referred to for purposes of this disclosure as a Java Stack Machine (“JSM”) and processor 104 may be referred to as a Main Processor Unit (“MPU”). System 100 may also include memory 106 coupled to both the JSM 102 and MPU 104 and thus accessible by both processors. At least a portion of the memory 106 may be shared by both processors meaning that both processors may access the same shared memory locations. Further, if desired, a portion of the memory 106 may be designated as private to one processor or the other. System 100 also includes a Java Virtual Machine (“JVM”) 108, compiler 110, and a display 114. The MPU 104 preferably includes an interface to one or more input/output (“I/O”) devices such as a keypad to permit a user to control various aspects of the system 100. In addition, data streams may be received from the I/O space into the JSM 102 to be processed by the JSM 102. Other components (not specifically shown) may be included as desired for various applications.
  • [0028]
    As is generally well known, Java code comprises a plurality of “Bytecodes” 112. Bytecodes 112 may be provided to the JVM 108, compiled by compiler 110 and provided to the JSM 102 and/or MPU 104 for execution therein. In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, the JSM 102 may execute at least some, and generally most, of the Java Bytecodes. When appropriate, however, the JSM 102 may request the MPU 104 to execute one or more Java Bytecodes not executed or executable by the JSM 102. In addition to executing Java Bytecodes, the MPU 104 also may execute non-Java instructions. The MPU 104 also hosts an operating system (“O/S”) (not specifically shown) which performs various functions including system memory management, the system task management that schedules the JVM 108 and most or all other native tasks running on the system, management of the display 114, receiving input from input devices, etc. Without limitation, Java code may be used to perform any one of a variety of applications including multimedia, games or web based applications in the system 100, while non-Java code, which may comprise the O/S and other native applications, may still run on the system on the MPU 104.
  • [0029]
    The JVM 108 generally comprises a combination of software and hardware. The software may include the compiler 110 and the hardware may include the JSM 102. The JVM may include a class loader, Bytecode verifier, garbage collector, and a Bytecode interpreter loop to interpret the Bytecodes that are not executed on the JSM processor 102.
  • [0030]
    In accordance with preferred embodiments of the invention, the JSM 102 may execute at least two types of instruction sets. One type of instruction set may comprise standard Java Bytecodes. As is well-known, Java is a stack-based programming language in which instructions generally target a stack. For example, an integer add (“IADD”) Java instruction pops two integers off the top of the stack, adds them together, and pushes the sum back on the stack. A “simple” Bytecode instruction is generally one in which the JSM 102 may perform an immediate operation either in a single cycle (e.g., an “iadd” instruction) or in several cycles (e.g., “dup2_x2”). A “complex” Bytecode instruction is one in which several memory accesses may be required to be made within the JVM data structure for various verifications (e.g., NULL pointer, array boundaries). As will be described in further detail below, one or more of the complex Bytecodes may be replaced by a “micro-sequence” comprising various other instructions.
  • [0031]
    Another type of instruction set executed by the JSM 102 may include instructions other than standard Java instructions. In accordance with at least some embodiments of the invention, the other instruction set may include register-based and memory-based operations to be performed. This other type of instruction set generally complements the Java instruction set and, accordingly, may be referred to as a complementary instruction set architecture (“C-ISA”). By complementary, it is meant that a complex Java Bytecode may be replaced by a “micro-sequence” comprising C-ISA instructions. The execution of Java may be made more efficient and run faster by replacing some sequences of Bytecodes by preferably shorter and more efficient sequences of C-ISA instructions. The two sets of instructions may be used in a complementary fashion to obtain satisfactory code density and efficiency. As such, the JSM 102 generally comprises a stack-based architecture for efficient and accelerated execution of Java Bytecodes combined with a register-based architecture for executing register and memory based C-ISA instructions. Both architectures preferably are tightly combined and integrated through the C-ISA. Because various of the data structures described herein are generally JVM-dependent and thus may change from one JVM implementation to another, the software flexibility of the micro-sequence provides a mechanism for various JVM optimizations now known or later developed.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 2 shows an exemplary block diagram of the JSM 102. As shown, the JSM includes a core 120 coupled to data storage 122 and instruction storage 130. The core may include one or more components as shown. Such components preferably include a plurality of registers 140, three address generation units (“AGUs”) 142, 147, micro-translation lookaside buffers (micro-TLBs) 144, 156, a multi-entry micro-stack 146, an arithmetic logic unit (“ALU”) 148, a multiplier 150, decode logic 152, and instruction fetch logic 154. In general, operands may be retrieved from data storage 122 or from the micro-stack 146 and processed by the ALU 148, while instructions may be fetched from instruction storage 130 by fetch logic 154 and decoded by decode logic 152. The address generation unit 142 may be used to calculate addresses based, at least in part, on data contained in the registers 140. The AGUs 142 may calculate addresses for C-ISA instructions. The AGUs 142 may support parallel data accesses for C-ISA instructions that perform array or other types of processing. The AGU 147 couples to the micro-stack 146 and may manage overflow and underflow conditions in the micro-stack preferably in parallel. The micro-TLBs 144, 156 generally perform the function of a cache for the address translation and memory protection information bits that are preferably under the control of the operating system running on the MPU 104. The decode logic 152 comprises auxiliary registers 151.
  • [0033]
    Referring now to FIG. 3, the registers 140 may include 16 registers designated as R0-R15. In some embodiments, registers R0-R5 and R8-R14 may be used as general purposes (“GP”) registers usable for any purpose by the programmer. Other registers, and some of the GP registers, may be used for specific functions. For example, in addition to use as a GP register, register R5 may be used to store the base address of a portion of memory in which Java local variables may be stored when used by the current Java method. The top of the micro-stack 146 can be referenced by the values in registers R6 and R7. The top of the micro-stack 146 has a matching address in external memory pointed to by register R6. The values contained in the micro-stack 146 are the latest updated values, while their corresponding values in external memory may or may not be up to date. Register R7 provides the data value stored at the top of the micro-stack 146. Register R15 may be used for status and control of the JSM 102. At least one bit (called the “Micro-Sequence-Active” bit) in status register R15 is used to indicate whether the JSM 102 is executing a simple instruction or a complex instruction through a micro-sequence. This bit controls, in particular, which program counter is used (PC or μPC) to fetch the next instruction, as will be explained below.
  • [0034]
    Referring again to FIG. 2, as noted above, the JSM 102 is adapted to process and execute instructions from at least two instruction sets, at least one having instructions from a stack-based instruction set (e.g., Java). The stack-based instruction set may include Java Bytecodes. Unless empty, Java Bytecodes may pop data from and push data onto the micro-stack 146. The micro-stack 146 preferably comprises the top n entries of a larger stack that is implemented in data storage 122. Although the value of n may vary in different embodiments, in accordance with at least some embodiments, the size n of the micro-stack may be the top eight entries in the larger, memory-based stack. The micro-stack 146 preferably comprises a plurality of gates in the core 120 of the JSM 102. By implementing the micro-stack 146 in gates (e.g., registers) in the core 120 of the processor 102, access to the data contained in the micro-stack 146 is generally very fast, although any particular access speed is not a limitation on this disclosure.
  • [0035]
    The ALU 148 adds, subtracts, and shifts data. The multiplier 150 may be used to multiply two values together in one or more cycles. The instruction fetch logic 154 generally fetches instructions from instruction storage 130. The instructions may be decoded by decode logic 152. Because the JSM 102 is adapted to process instructions from at least two instruction sets, the decode logic 152 generally comprises at least two modes of operation, one mode for each instruction set. As such, the decode logic unit 152 may include a Java mode in which Java instructions may be decoded and a C-ISA mode in which C-ISA instructions may be decoded.
  • [0036]
    The data storage 122 generally comprises data cache (“D-cache”) 124 and data random access memory (“DRAM”) 126. Reference may be made to U.S. Pat. No. 6,826,652, filed Jun. 9, 2000 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,792,508, filed Jun. 9, 2000, both incorporated herein by reference. Reference also may be made to U.S. Ser. No. 09/932,794 (Publication No. 20020069332), filed Aug. 17, 2001 and incorporated herein by reference. The stack (excluding the micro-stack 146), arrays and non-critical data may be stored in the D-cache 124, while Java local variables, critical data and non-Java variables (e.g., C, C++) may be stored in D-RAM 126. The instruction storage 130 may comprise instruction RAM (“I-RAM”) 132 and instruction cache (“I-cache”) 134. The I-RAM 132 may be used for “complex” micro-sequenced Bytecodes or micro-sequences, as described below. The I-cache 134 may be used to store other types of Java Bytecode and mixed Java/C-ISA instructions.
  • [0037]
    As noted above, the C-ISA instructions generally complement the standard Java Bytecodes. For example, the compiler 110 may scan a series of Java Bytecodes 112 and replace a complex Bytecode with a micro-sequence as explained previously. The micro-sequence may be created to optimize the function(s) performed by the replaced complex Bytecodes.
  • [0038]
    FIG. 4 illustrates the operation of the JSM 102 to replace Java Bytecodes with micro-sequences. FIG. 4 shows some, but not necessarily all, components of the JSM. In particular, the instruction storage 130, the decode logic 152, and a micro-sequence vector table 162 are shown. The decode logic 152 receives instructions from the instruction storage 130 and accesses the micro-sequence vector table 162. In general and as described above, the decode logic 152 receives instructions (e.g., instructions 170) from instruction storage 130 via instruction fetch logic 154 (FIG. 2) and decodes the instructions to determine the type of instruction for subsequent processing and execution. In accordance with the preferred embodiments, the JSM 102 either executes the Bytecode from instructions 170 or replaces a Bytecode from instructions 170 with a micro-sequence as described below.
  • [0039]
    The micro-sequence vector table 162 may be implemented in the decode logic 152 or as separate logic in the JSM 102. The micro-sequence vector table 162 preferably includes a plurality of entries 164. The entries 164 may include one entry for each Bytecode that the JSM may receive. For example, if there are a total of 256 Bytecodes, the micro-sequence vector table 162 preferably comprises at least 256 entries. Each entry 164 preferably includes at least two fields—a field 166 and an associated field 168. Field 168 may comprise a single bit that indicates whether the instruction 170 is to be directly executed or whether the associated field 166 contains a reference to a micro-sequence. For example, a bit 168 having a value of “0” (“not set”) may indicate the field 166 is invalid and thus, the corresponding Bytecode from instructions 170 is directly executable by the JSM. Bit 168 having a value of “1” (“set”) may indicate that the associated field 166 contains a reference to a micro-sequence.
  • [0040]
    If the bit 168 indicates the associated field 166 includes a reference to a micro-sequence, the reference may comprise the full starting address in instruction storage 130 of the micro-sequence or a part of the starting address that can be concatenated with a base address that may be programmable in the JSM. In the former case, field 166 may provide as many address bits as are required to access the full memory space. In the latter case, a register within the JSM registers 140 is programmed to hold the base address and the vector table 162 may supply only the offset to access the start of the micro-sequence. Most or all JSM internal registers 140 and any other registers preferably are accessible by the main processor unit 104 and, therefore, may be modified by the JVM as necessary. Although not required, this latter addressing technique may be preferred to reduce the number of bits needed within field 166. At least a portion 180 of the instruction 130 may be allocated for storage of micro-sequences and thus the starting address may point to a location in micro-sequence storage 130 at which a particular micro-sequence can be found. The portion 180 may be implemented in I-RAM 132 shown above in FIG. 2.
  • [0041]
    Although the micro-sequence vector table 162 may be loaded and modified in accordance with a variety of techniques, the following discussion includes a preferred technique. The vector table 162 preferably comprises a JSM resource that is addressable via a register 140. A single entry 164 or a block of entries within the vector table 162 may be loaded by information from the data cache 124 (FIG. 2). When loading multiple entries (e.g., all of the entries 164) in the table 162, a repeat loop of instructions may be executed. Prior to executing the repeat loop, a register (e.g., R0) preferably is loaded with the starting address of the block of memory containing the data to load into the table. Another register (e.g., R1) preferably is loaded with the size of the block to load into the table. Register R14 is loaded with the value that corresponds to the first entry in the vector table that is to be updated/loaded.
  • [0042]
    The repeated instruction loop preferably comprises two instructions that are repeated n times. The value n preferably is the value stored in register R1. The first instruction in the loop preferably performs a load from the start address of the block (R0) to the first entry in the vector table 162. The second instruction in the loop preferably adds an “immediate” value to the block start address. The immediate value may be “2” if each entry in the vector table is 16 bits wide. The loop repeats itself to load the desired portions of the total depending on the starting address.
  • [0043]
    In operation, the decode logic 152 uses a Bytecode from instructions 170 as an index into micro-sequence vector table 162. Once the decode logic 152 locates the indexed entry 164, the decode logic 152 examines the associated bit 168 to determine whether the Bytecode is to be replaced by a micro-sequence. If the bit 168 indicates that the Bytecode can be directly processed and executed by the JSM, then the instruction is so executed. If, however, the bit 168 indicates that the Bytecode is to be replaced by a micro-sequence, then the decode logic 152 preferably changes this instruction into a “no operation” (NOP) and sets the micro-sequence-active bit (described above) in the status register R15. In another embodiment, the JSM's pipe may be stalled to fetch and replace this micro-sequenced instruction by the first instruction of the micro-sequence. Changing the micro-sequenced Bytecode into a NOP while fetching the first instruction of the micro-sequence permits the JSM to process multi-cycle instructions that are further advanced in the pipe without additional latency. The micro-sequence-active bit may be set at any suitable time such as when the micro-sequence enters the JSM execution stage (not specifically shown).
  • [0044]
    As described above, the JSM 102 implements two program counters—the PC and the μPC. The PC and the μPC are stored in auxiliary registers 151, which in turn is stored in the decode logic 152. In accordance with a preferred embodiment, one of these two program counters is the active program counter used to fetch and decode instructions. The PC 186 may be the currently active program counter when the decode logic 152 encounters a Bytecode to be replaced by a micro-sequence. Setting the status register's micro-sequence-active bit causes the micro-program counter 188 to become the active program counter instead of the program counter 186. Also, the contents of the field 166 associated with the micro-sequenced Bytecode preferably are loaded into the μPC 188. At this point, the JSM 102 is ready to begin fetching and decoding the instructions comprising the micro-sequence. At or about the time the decode logic begins using the μPC 188, the PC 186 preferably is incremented by a suitable value to point the PC 186 to the next instruction following the Bytecode that is replaced by the micro-sequence. In at least some embodiments, the micro-sequence-active bit within the status register R15 may only be changed when the first instruction of the micro-sequence enters the execute phase of JSM 102 pipe. The switch from PC 186 to the μPC 188 preferably is effective immediately after the micro-sequenced instruction is decoded, thereby reducing the latency.
  • [0045]
    The micro-sequence may end with a predetermined value or Bytecode from the C-ISA called “RtuS” (return from micro-sequence) that indicates the end of the sequence. This C-ISA instruction causes a switch from the μPC 188 to the PC 186 upon completion of the micro-sequence. Preferably, the PC 186 previously was incremented, as discussed above, so that the value of the PC 186 points to the next instruction to be decoded. The instruction may have a delayed effect or an immediate effect depending on the embodiment that is implemented. In embodiments with an immediate effect, the switch from the μPC 188 to the PC 186 is performed immediately after the instruction is decoded and the instruction after the RtuS instruction is the instruction pointed to by the address present in the PC 186.
  • [0046]
    As discussed above, one or more Bytecodes may be replaced with a micro-sequence or a group of other instructions. Such replacement instructions may comprise any suitable instructions for the particular application and situation at hand. At least some such suitable instructions are disclosed in U.S. Ser. No. 10/631,308 (Publication No. 20040024989), filed Jul. 31, 2003 and incorporated herein by reference.
  • [0047]
    Replacement micro-sequence instructions also may be used to bookmark switch points when switching code execution threads. Referring to FIG. 5, the line marked “T1” denotes a first thread T1 that is processed by the JSM 102. The thread T1 comprises a plurality of Bytecode instructions, a plurality of micro-sequence instructions, or some combination thereof. As previously explained, the instructions that are executed in thread T1 are retrieved from the instruction storage 130. More specifically, Bytecodes are retrieved from the Bytecode storage 170 and micro-sequence instructions are retrieved from micro-sequence storage 180.
  • [0048]
    While processing thread T1, the decode logic 152 may encounter a sequence of JSM instructions that causes the processing of thread T1 to be paused and the processing of a separate thread T2 to be initialized. This sequence is executed in thread T1 at or immediately prior to switch point 502. Execution of this sequence causes processing of thread T1 to stop, and processing of a separate thread T2 (denoted by line “T2”) to begin in order to perform some separate task in thread T2. In some embodiments, instead of comprising a sequence of instructions (hereinafter referred to as “switch instructions”) that explicitly performs a thread switch, thread T1 may comprise a sequence of instructions that calls an operating system (OS) call (e.g., threadyield ( )), which OS call selects one of a plurality of threads to execute based on thread priorities as dictated by the OS. A thread switch also may be directly initialized by the OS. Specifically, if the OS is running on the MPU 104, the OS may use a sequence of MPU commands to initialize the thread switch.
  • [0049]
    Before the JSM 102 switches from processing thread T1 to processing thread T2, however, information pertaining to the switch point 502 (i.e., “context” information) is stored by being pushed onto a T1 stack 123 (preferably a memory-based stack designated specifically for thread T1 and stored in storage 122, FIG. 2) of the JSM 102. In some embodiments, the context information may be pushed onto the micro-stack 146. Further, in preferred embodiments, the context information is a minimal amount of information, as described below.
  • [0050]
    Context information that is collected preferably comprises the values of the PC 186, μPC 188 and status register (register R15) as they are at the switch point 502. When the decode logic 152 encounters a sequence of switch instructions while processing thread T1, the sequence causes the execution of thread T1 to be halted at switch point 502, the context of switch point 502 to be saved, and the execution of thread T2 to be initialized. In some embodiments, commands sent from the MPU 104 may perform a function similar to that of a sequence of switch instructions.
  • [0051]
    Regardless of whether a switch from thread T1 to thread T2 is initialized by code in thread T1 or commands received from the MPU 104, the switching processes are similar. As described above, the execution of thread T1 is first halted. Once the JSM 102 has stopped processing thread T1, the JSM 102 is made to store the context of the switch point 502. The context of the switch point 502 preferably comprises the minimum amount of information necessary for the JSM 102 to resume processing thread T1 at switch point 502 after the JSM 102 has finished processing thread T2. The JSM 102 stores the context of the switch point 502 by retrieving the PC 186 and the μPC 188 from the auxiliary registers 151 and pushing them onto the T1 stack 123. The JSM 102 also retrieves the value of the status register R15 and pushes that value onto the T1 stack 123 as well. These three values—the PC 186, the μPC 188 and the status register R15—together comprise the minimum amount of information needed for the JSM 102 to resume processing thread T1 at switch point 502 after processing thread T2.
  • [0052]
    However, in some embodiments, it is preferable to also store a fourth value for efficiency purposes. Accordingly, the JSM 102 pushes a fourth value onto the T1 stack 123, where the fourth value is variable. For example, the fourth value may be one of the registers 140. The scope of disclosure is not limited to pushing the PC 186, μPC 188, status register and variable register onto the stack in any particular order, nor is the scope of disclosure limited to pushing these particular values onto the stack. As described above, any suitable number of values (e.g., a minimum amount of information) may be pushed onto the stack to store a context.
  • [0053]
    In some embodiments, the switch instructions in the thread T1 may be 32-bit instructions that, when executed, call a subroutine or some other portion of code comprising instructions that store the context of the switch point 502 by pushing context values (e.g., PC, μPC, status register) onto the T1 stack 123. FIG. 6 shows an illustrative embodiment of such 32-bit instructions. Specifically, FIG. 6 shows a 32-bit instruction 599 that comprises information that describes the class of the 32-bit instruction 599 and further specifies the type of the instruction 599. For example, as shown in the figure, bits 31:28 describe the class of the instruction and bits 27:24 and bits 3:0 describe the particular type of instruction being used. Bits 27:24 and bits 3:0 may specify, for example, that the instruction is a minimum-context push instruction which, when executed, causes various context values to be pushed onto the stack, as described above. Bits 23:2 are not of significance and preferably do not contain arguments or other relevant data. Instead, bits 23:2 may contain placeholder values (e.g., “0” bits). The scope of disclosure is not limited to the use of instructions as shown in FIG. 6. Context values also may be pushed onto the T1 stack 123 by commands received from the MPU 104.
  • [0054]
    Each thread has its own RAM base address for storing local variables used by that thread. The micro-sequence may contain instructions that, when executed, cause the JSM 102 to clean and invalidate the DRAM 126 to save the local variables being used by thread T1. More specifically, at least some of the contents of the DRAM 126 preferably are transferred to other areas of the storage 122, such as another DRAM (not specifically shown) that may be located in the storage 122. The DRAM 126 then is invalidated to clear space in the DRAM 126 for local variables that are used by thread T2. After the DRAM 126 has been cleaned and invalidated, the JSM 102 also may push the RAM base address onto the main stack, so that the local variables used by thread T1 may be retrieved for later use. Also, because each thread pushes and pops different values onto the micro-stack 146, the JSM 102 may further clean and invalidate the micro-stack 146 in order to preserve the entries of the micro-stack 146 and to clear the micro-stack 146 for use by thread T2. In at least some embodiments, the entries of the micro-stack 146 may be copied and/or transferred to the data cache 124. Further, in some embodiments, the JSM 102 may invalidate the current entries of the micro-stack 146, so that after a thread switch, the entries loaded into the micro-stack 146 replace the invalidated entries.
  • [0055]
    After the PC 186, the μPC 188, the status register R15 and an optional fourth register have been pushed onto the T1 stack 123, the JSM 102 stores the stack pointer (i.e., register R6). The stack pointer may be defined as the address of the topmost entry on T1 stack 123 and may be stored in any suitable memory (e.g., storage 122). Once at least the PC 186, μPC 188, and the status register have been pushed onto the T1 stack 123, and once the stack pointer for the T1 stack 123 has been stored in memory, the context of switch point 502 has been stored.
  • [0056]
    Because the context has been stored, the JSM 102 is ready to switch from thread T1 to thread T2. Similar to thread T1, thread T2 comprises a plurality of instructions (e.g., Bytecodes, micro-sequences or a combination thereof). Like thread T1, thread T2 may be executed multiple times. However, each time processing switches from thread T1 to thread T2, as the context of thread T1 is stored from the JSM 102 onto a stack, so should the context of thread T2 be loaded from a stack onto the JSM 102. The context of thread T2 may be found on top of the T2 stack 125. The T2 stack 125 preferably is a memory-based stack, specifically designated for thread T2 and stored in the storage 122. The thread T2 context may have been pushed onto the T2 stack 125 at the end of a previous iteration in a substantially similar fashion to the context-saving process described above in relation to thread T1, or, alternatively, the thread T2 context may have been pushed onto the T2 stack 125 during the creation of the thread T2.
  • [0057]
    Thus, to begin processing thread T2, the JSM 102 loads the stack pointer for T2 stack 125 from the storage 122 to register R6. The RAM base address is loaded from the T2 stack 125, thus loading the local variables for thread T2. The JSM 102 also loads the context of thread T2 from the T2 stack 125 onto the auxiliary registers 151 and/or the registers 140. In particular, the JSM 102 uses specific instructions to pop context values off of the T2 stack 125, where at least some of the specific instructions are indivisible. For example, a MCTXPOP instruction may be used to pop minimum context values off of the T2 stack 125. This MCTXPOP instruction, in at least some embodiments, is indivisible, mandatory for performing a context switch, and should not be preempted. In this way, the JSM 102 is initialized to the context of the previous iteration of thread T2. Thus, the JSM 102 effectively is able to resume processing where it “left off.” The JSM 102 decodes and executes thread T2 in a similar fashion to thread T1.
  • [0058]
    After thread T2 has been executed, the JSM 102 may resume processing thread T1 at switch point 502. To resume processing thread T1 at switch point 502, the JSM 102 loads the context information of thread T1 from the T1 stack 123. The JSM 102 loads the stack pointer of thread T1 from the storage 122 and into register R6. The JSM 102 then pops the RAM base address off of the T1 stack 123 and uses the RAM base address to load the local variables for thread T1. The JSM 102 also pops the status value, μPC 188 and the PC 186 off of the T1 stack 123. The JSM 102 stores the status value to the register R15 and stores the μPC 188 and the PC 186 to the auxiliary registers 151. In this way, the context information that is stored on top of the T1 stack 123 is popped off the stack and is used by the JSM 102 to return to the context of switch point 502. The JSM 102 may now resume processing thread T1 at switch point 502. The thread switch from thread T2 to thread T1 may be controlled by a sequence of code being executed in thread T2 or, alternatively, by commands sent from the MPU 104. The thread switching technique described above may be applied to any suitable pair of threads in the system 100.
  • [0059]
    FIG. 7 shows a flowchart summarizing the process used to switch from one thread to another thread. The process 600 may begin by processing thread T1 (block 602). The process 600 comprises monitoring for a sequence of code in thread T1, or commands from the MPU 104, that initialize a thread switch from thread T1 to thread T2 (block 604). If no such sequence is encountered or no such command is received from the MPU 104, the process 600 comprises continuing to process thread T1 (block 602). However, if such a sequence or MPU 104 command is encountered, then the process 600 comprises halting processing of thread T1 (block 606) and pushing either the full or minimum context to the T1 stack (block 608), as previously described.
  • [0060]
    The process 600 further comprises cleaning and invalidating the RAM (block 610), pushing the RAM base address onto the T1 stack (block 612), cleaning and invalidating the micro-stack (block 614), and storing the T1 stack pointer to any suitable memory (block 616). The context of thread T1 has now been saved. Before beginning to process thread T2, the context of thread T2 (if any) is to be loaded from the T2 stack. Specifically, the process 600 comprises loading the T2 stack pointer from memory (block 618), popping the RAM base address from the T2 stack (block 620), popping the full or minimum context from the T2 stack (block 622), and subsequently beginning processing of the thread T2 (block 624).
  • [0061]
    In the embodiments described above, a minimum context (i.e., PC, μPC, status register) is pushed onto a stack to bookmark a switch point. While storing the minimum-context is faster than storing the full-context (i.e., all registers in the JSM core), in some embodiments, it may be desirable to perform a full-context store instead of a minimum-context store, for reasons previously described. Thus, in such embodiments, full contexts also may be stored and/or loaded, in which case most or all of the registers 140 as well as most or all of the auxiliary registers 151 are stored and/or loaded with each thread switch. For instance, in cases where one or more register values other than the PC 186, μPC 188, and status register are affected in a second thread, it may be desirable to store all register values via a full-context store. In such cases, the 32-bit instructions described above and shown in FIG. 6 may comprise data (e.g., in bits 31:24 and 3:0) that causes a full-context store to be performed. Similarly, a 32-bit instruction may comprise data that causes a full-context load to be performed. Further, as also described above, a full-context store and/or load may be initialized by a command from the MPU 104 instead of by code being executed in thread T1. A full-context store and/or load is performed in a similar manner to a minimum-context store and/or load, with the exception being a difference in the number of registers stored and/or loaded.
  • [0062]
    As explained above, the technique of storing contexts during thread switches may be used to service commands received by the JSM 102 from the MPU 104. For example, in performing a series of tasks, the MPU 104 may determine that delegating one or more tasks to the JSM 102 would be expeditious, so that the MPU 104 may allocate its resources to performing other tasks. In such a case, the MPU 104 sends a command to the JSM 102, instructing the JSM 102 to perform a particular task. The command is coupled with a parameter, which parameter preferably comprises the address of a micro-sequence. The JSM 102, upon receiving the command and the associated parameter, stores the parameter in a suitable storage unit, such as a register 140, an auxiliary register 151 or on any one of the stacks in the JSM 102. The JSM 102 then uses the parameter (i.e., the micro-sequence address) to locate the micro-sequence in the micro-sequence storage 180. Upon locating the micro-sequence, the JSM 102 retrieves the micro-sequence and executes the micro-sequence, thus obeying the command sent from the MPU 104. The micro-sequence preferably is pre-programmed into the micro-sequence storage 180.
  • [0063]
    In obeying the command from the MPU 104, the JSM 102 may be required to pause whatever task it is completing at the moment the command is received from the MPU 104. More specifically, the JSM 102 may be performing a particular task or executing a sequence of code in a first thread T1 when it is interrupted with the command from the MPU 104. In order for the JSM 102 to service the command, it must first pause the execution of the first thread T1 at a switch point and bookmark the switch point by storing the context of the first thread T1. The JSM 102 then may service the command from the MPU 104 in a second thread T2. Once the command from the MPU 104 has been serviced, the JSM 102 may resume execution at the switch point in the first thread T1 by retrieving the stored context of the first thread T1.
  • [0064]
    The JSM 102 stores contexts and retrieves contexts in a manner similar to that previously described. In particular, when storing the context, the JSM 102 stores either a full context or, preferably, a minimum context. When storing a full context, the JSM 102 pushes all available registers 140 (and optionally auxiliary registers 151) onto the T1 stack 123. When storing a minimum context, the JSM 102 pushes the PC 186, the μPC 188, the status register R15 and optionally a fourth register value onto the T1 stack 123. In either case, before shifting to the second thread T2, the JSM 102 also stores the value of the stack pointer (i.e., register R6) in any suitable memory (e.g., DRAM 126). As previously described, the JSM 102 stores the value of the stack pointer so that, when it is ready to resume executing thread T1, the JSM 102 is able to locate the context information that is on the T1 stack 123. Specifically, once the JSM 102 has serviced the command from the MPU 104 and is ready to resume executing thread T1 at the switch point, the JSM 102 uses the stack pointer to locate the context information on the T1 stack 123. Once the context information is located, the JSM 102 pops the context information off of the stack and stores the context information to the appropriate registers (e.g., registers 140 and/or auxiliary registers 151) in the JSM 102. The JSM 102 then may resume executing in thread T1.
  • [0065]
    One task the MPU 104 may delegate to the JSM 102 may be for the JSM 102 to transfer data from a source to a destination via direct memory access, thus causing the JSM 102 to act as a DMA controller. In some embodiments, the JSM 102 may transfer blocks of data, while in other embodiments, the JSM 102 may selectively transfer a plurality of individual portions (e.g., bytes) of data.
  • [0066]
    The MPU 104 sends a command and a parameter to the JSM 102. The parameter comprises the address of a DMA micro-sequence stored in the micro-sequence storage 180. In addition, the MPU 104 sends information pertaining to the data that is to be transferred. Specifically, the MPU 104 sends a data source address, a data size, and a data destination address to the JSM 102. Although these addresses, parameters and other information may be transferred from the MPU 104 to the JSM 102 in any suitable manner, in some embodiments, the MPU 104 writes the data source address, data size, and data destination address to a register 140, an auxiliary register 151, a T1 stack 123, a T2 stack 125, or a micro-stack 146. The MPU 104 then may send the command and the DMA micro-sequence address to the JSM 102. Alternatively, the information pertaining to the data to be transferred may be pre-programmed into the JSM 102, and the MPU 104 may simply transfer the command and the DMA micro-sequence to the JSM 102. The memory location of the information pertaining to the data may be provided to the DMA micro-sequence so that the DMA micro-sequence may locate the information. Alternatively, the information pertaining to the data may be written by the MPU 104 to memory locations indicated by the micro-sequence on the JSM 102. The JSM 102 then may first retrieve the source address, data size and destination address from these memory locations, since the micro-sequence comprises the addresses of these locations.
  • [0067]
    The command received from the MPU 104 causes the JSM 102 to use the DMA micro-sequence address to locate and execute the DMA micro-sequence in C-ISA mode. When executed, the DMA micro-sequence causes the JSM 102 to act as a DMA controller in that it causes the JSM 102 to use the data source address, data size and data destination address to load, transfer and store the data. The DMA micro-sequence preferably comprises a loop containing at least two instructions:
    {
    Repeat (X)
     MEMCOPY (AR1+AR3++V2, AR0++V1)
    }

    where “Repeat (X)” causes the MEMCOPY instruction to be repeated X times. The number of iterations X corresponds to one of the parameters (i.e., data size) provided by the MPU 104. Where the “MEMCOPY” instruction causes data to be copied from the source address “AR1+AR3++V2” to the destination address “AR0++V1.” The source address “AR1+AR3++V2” comprises three parts. The first part of the source address, AR1, specifies a base address in memory. The second part of the source address, AR3, specifies an index by which the base address AR1 should be increased. The sum of AR1+AR3 is an address that specifies the precise location in memory from which to load data. The third part of the source address, ++V2, is used as a post-increment to increment the value AR1+AR3 with each iteration of the MEMCOPY instruction. The values AR1, AR3 preferably are provided to the JSM 102 by the MPU 104, and the value V2 preferably is hard-coded into the DMA micro-sequence.
  • [0068]
    Here, the destination address “AR0++V1” comprises two parts. The first part of the destination address, AR0, specifies the location in memory to which the data should be stored. The second part of the destination address, ++V1, is used as a post-increment to increment the value AR0 with each iteration of the MEMCOPY instruction. The value AR0 preferably is provided to the JSM 102 by the MPU 104, and the value V1 preferably is hard-coded into the DMA micro-sequence. In this example, the values AR0, AR1, AR2 refer to auxiliary registers 151, although data may be loaded from and stored to any suitable memory location.
  • [0069]
    The MEMCOPY instruction is now discussed in detail. Each time the MEMCOPY instruction is executed, data is loaded from the source address AR1+AR3++V2 and is pushed onto the micro-stack 146, which micro-stack 146 preferably is a first-in, last-out (FILO) stack. Loading the data and pushing the data onto the micro-stack 146 preferably takes about 1 clock cycle. Also, each time the MEMCOPY instruction is executed, data previously pushed on the micro-stack 146 is popped off of the micro-stack 146 and is stored to the destination address AR0++V1. Popping the data off of the micro-stack 146 and storing the data to the destination address preferably takes about 1 clock cycle. The micro-stack 146 is used because, when loading and storing data during direct memory accesses, there may be delays associated with the JSM 102 pipeline. The micro-stack 146 synchronizes the data loading and storing so that no data discrepancies or errors result from the delay associated with the JSM 102 pipeline.
  • [0070]
    In at least some embodiments, the loading and storing of data may be pipelined as shown in FIG. 8. As shown, in a first clock cycle 1, a first datum is loaded from a source address and is pushed onto the micro-stack 146 (indicated by “802”). In a second clock cycle 2, a post-increment (indicated by “806”) of the source and/or destination addresses is performed as previously described. The post-increment is performed in clock cycle 2 so that, when a second datum is loaded from a source address and is pushed onto the micro-stack 146 (indicated by “808”), the source address is not the same address as the address used to load the datum in clock cycle 1 (indicated by “802”), but instead is the next available source address. In a third clock cycle 3, the first datum is stored to a destination address (indicated by “804”), a post-increment (indicated by “812”) is performed, and a third datum is loaded from a corresponding source address and is pushed onto the micro-stack 146 (as indicated by “810”).
  • [0071]
    As previously described, a post-increment is performed to increment both the current source address and the current destination address used by the instruction MEMCOPY. For example, the post-increment in clock cycle 3 is performed so that the datum stored in clock cycle 3 (indicated by “804”) is stored not to the same memory address to which a previous datum may have been stored, but is instead stored to the next available destination address. Similarly, the post-increment in clock cycle 3 also is performed so that the datum loaded in clock cycle 3 (indicated by “810”) is loaded not from the same location the datum in clock cycle 2 was loaded, but instead from the next available source address. This process continues until the MEMCOPY instruction has been repeated X number of times. In this way, the JSM 102 acts as a DMA controller to transfer the data located at the source address to the destination address.
  • [0072]
    This technique is summarized in FIG. 9. The process 900 begins with the MPU 104 sending a command, a DMA micro-sequence address, and information pertaining to the necessary data transfer to the JSM 102 (block 902). As previously described, this information comprises the data source address, the data size that is used to determine the number of iterations, and the data destination address. The JSM 102 receives the command and other information from the MPU 104, pauses the currently executing thread T1 at a switch point, and saves the context of the switch point, as described above (block 904). Once the context has been saved, the JSM 102 follows the command to retrieve and execute the DMA micro-sequence in a new thread T2 (block 906). The execution of the DMA micro-sequence causes the JSM 102 to repeat the MEMCOPY instruction a predetermined number of times (block 908). Each iteration of the MEMCOPY instruction causes the JSM 102 to load a new datum from a corresponding source address. Once the datum has been loaded, the JSM 102 pushes the datum onto the FILO micro-stack 146. The JSM 102 then pops a previously-pushed datum off of the FILO micro-stack 146 and stores the datum to the corresponding destination address (block 910). Once the MEMCOPY instruction has been executed the predetermined number of times, the data transfer is complete. The JSM 102 may restore the context and resume executing thread T1 at the switch point (block 912).
  • [0073]
    System 100 may be implemented as a mobile cell phone 415 such as that shown in FIG. 10. As shown, the battery-operated, mobile communication device includes an integrated keypad 412 and display 414. The JSM processor 102 and MPU processor 104 and other components may be included in electronics package 410 connected to the keypad 412, display 414, and radio frequency (“RF”) circuitry 416. The RF circuitry 416 may be connected to an antenna 418.
  • [0074]
    While the preferred embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, modifications thereof can be made by one skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and teachings of the invention. The embodiments described herein are exemplary only, and are not intended to be limiting. Many variations and modifications of the invention disclosed herein are possible and are within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of protection is not limited by the description set out above. Each and every claim is incorporated into the specification as an embodiment of the present invention.

Claims (25)

  1. 1. An electronic device, comprising:
    a first processor adapted to process software instructions from a memory; and
    a second processor coupled to the first processor, said second processor adapted to interrupt the first processor and to use the first processor as a direct memory access (DMA) controller;
    wherein the second processor uses the first processor as a DMA controller by sending to the first processor a plurality of addresses;
    wherein the first processor uses a first address of the plurality of addresses to retrieve a group of instructions which, when executed, causes the first processor to load a datum directly from a memory location and to transfer the datum to a different memory location.
  2. 2. The electronic device of claim 1, wherein, after processing the group of instructions, the second processor ceases to use the first processor as a DMA controller and wherein the first processor resumes processing software instructions from the memory.
  3. 3. The electronic device of claim 1, wherein the device is at least one of a battery-operated device or a mobile communication device.
  4. 4. The electronic device of claim 1, wherein the second processor sends a command to the first processor, and wherein the command causes the first processor to retrieve and execute the group of instructions.
  5. 5. The electronic device of claim 1, wherein, when executed, the group of instructions causes the first processor to:
    use a second address of the plurality of addresses to load the datum directly from the memory location and to push the datum onto a stack; and
    pop another datum off of the stack and to store the another datum directly to another memory location specified by a third address of the plurality of addresses.
  6. 6. The electronic device of claim 5, wherein the first processor pauses a first execution thread at a switch point prior to executing the group of instructions in a second execution thread.
  7. 7. The electronic device of claim 6, wherein, prior to executing the group of instructions in the second execution thread, the first processor pushes onto a separate stack data pertaining to the switch point, said data comprising information needed to resume execution of the first execution thread at the switch point.
  8. 8. The electronic device of claim 7, wherein the data comprises only a minimum amount of information needed to resume execution of the first thread at the switch point.
  9. 9. The electronic device of claim 7, wherein, after executing the group of instructions, the first processor pops the data off of the separate stack and stores the data to registers in the first processor.
  10. 10. The electronic device of claim 5, wherein the stack is a first-in, last-out (FILO) stack.
  11. 11. The electronic device of claim 5, wherein the stack prevents data discrepancies by synchronizing loading and storing of data.
  12. 12. A processor that decodes and executes software instructions from memory, comprising:
    decode logic adapted to receive from another processor a plurality of addresses; and
    fetch logic coupled to the decode logic and adapted to fetch a group of instructions from storage using a first address from the plurality of addresses;
    wherein, when processed by the decode logic, the group of instructions causes the processor to be used as a direct memory access (DMA) controller by causing the processor to load a datum directly from a memory location and to transfer the datum to a different memory location.
  13. 13. The processor of claim 12, wherein the group of instructions causes the processor to load the datum during a first clock cycle and to store the datum during a subsequent clock cycle.
  14. 14. The processor of claim 13, wherein at least some of the plurality of addresses are modified by the processor during a second clock cycle in between the first clock cycle and the subsequent clock cycle.
  15. 15. The processor of claim 12, wherein, when executed, the group of instructions causes the processor to:
    load the datum directly from the memory location specified by a second address from the plurality of addresses and to push the datum onto a stack; and
    pop the datum off of the stack and to store the datum to the different memory location specified by a third address from the plurality of addresses.
  16. 16. The processor of claim 15, wherein the processor processes the group of instructions in a second thread after pausing execution of a first thread at a switch point.
  17. 17. The processor of claim 16, wherein the processor pushes onto a separate stack data pertaining to the switch point.
  18. 18. The processor of claim 17, wherein said data consists of a minimum amount of information needed to resume execution of the first thread at the switch point.
  19. 19. A method, comprising:
    sending a first address from a first processor core to a second processor core, said second processor core adapted to decode and execute software instructions from memory; and
    sending a command from the first processor core to the second processor core;
    wherein the command interrupts the second processor core and causes the second processor core to fetch, from a location specified by the first address, a group of instructions;
    wherein, when executed, the group of instructions causes the second processor core to be used as a direct memory access (DMA) controller.
  20. 20. The method of claim 19 further comprising sending a plurality of addresses from the first processor core to the second processor core, wherein executing the group of instructions comprises:
    loading a first datum from a first memory location specified by a second address from the plurality of addresses and pushing the first datum onto a stack; and
    when loading and pushing the first datum, popping a second datum from the stack and storing the second datum to a second memory location specified by a third address from the plurality of addresses.
  21. 21. The method of claim 20 further comprising incrementing at least one of the second address or the third address when loading and pushing the first datum.
  22. 22. The method of claim 19, wherein the group of instructions is executed a predetermined number of times.
  23. 23. The method of claim 19, wherein executing the group of instructions comprises executing the group of instructions in a new execution thread after pausing, at a switch point, an original execution thread running on the second processor core.
  24. 24. The method of claim 23 further comprising storing data pertaining to the switch point prior to executing the group of instructions.
  25. 25. The method of claim 24, wherein said data comprises only contents of registers in the second processor core used by the group of instructions.
US11188667 2004-07-27 2005-07-25 Emulating a direct memory access controller Abandoned US20060026312A1 (en)

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