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SPARC Architecture, Assembly Language Programming and C [Paperback]

Richard Paul
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 28 July 1993 --  
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Book Description

28 July 1993 0138768897 978-0138768898 1
An introduction to computer architecture for the SPARC® reduced instruction set architecture, this text teaches how to evaluate compilers, data strucures, and control structures in order to write efficient programs in a high-level language.

Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (28 July 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0138768897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0138768898
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 18.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,450,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Written from a programmer's perspective, this book introduces the SPARC assembly language to readers early on. Other introductory material encompasses making use of UNIX® tools (the m4 macro processor, the assembler, the gnu emacs editor, and the gdb debugger). Further coverage includes a formal definition of the von Neumann machine, its relationship to programmable calculators, and to the JAVA™ bytecode and JAVA virtual machine. This book's loyal audience has been anticipating a revision of a very successful book for this growing market. Not only is this book suitable for introductory computer architecture courses, but for programmers who will be programming SPARC architecture machine in languages such as C and C++.

  • Provides reader understanding of the complexity and cost of using various data and control structures in high-level languages
  • Includes the latest material on the new Ultra SPARC architecture
  • Frequent references to C and C++ language constructs and their translation into SPARC assembly language
  • Offers optional material on floating point, traps, memory management, and other architectures
  • Companion Website supplements the text with updates and code examples at http://www.prenhall.com/paul

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

RICHARD P. PAUL received a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Stanford University. His career as an educator and researcher has spanned three decades, beginning with his development of the WAVE robot language. He was one of the first researchers to demonstrate the use of programmable robots for assembly. He went on to join the faculty at Purdue University as a professor of Electrical Engineering and the Ransburg Professor of Robotics. Dr. Paul currently teaches at the University of Pennsylvania in Computer and Information Science. His expertise extends his contributions into major U.S. robot manufacturers, researching the field of robot programming language development. He has served as one of the founding editors of the International Journal of Robotics Research, as well as a President of the IEEE Council on Robotics and Automation. This year Dr. Paul will become emeritus. His current research and development interests include time-delayed teleoperation and the development of the teleprogramming system.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much m4, too little C 8 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The concept behind this book is excellent. Showing how high level languages (such as C, as in the title) are most efficiently translated into assembly language and giving a guide to reading the resulting machine code is a worthy objective. Sadly Paul spends far too much time in explaining the little-used m4 macro processor and too little in giving in-depth explanations of assembler idioms. His example programs are confusing in the extreme as they are a mix of standard SPARC 'as' assembly laguage and his own home-brewed m4 macros. Far too often he introduces complex concepts with a simple "thus" yet yet spends several pages explaining the vagaries of m4. I expected a good book about SPARC assembly language; I got a rather poor boo about m4
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book, well explained. 6 Oct 2000
Format:Paperback
If you want to understand how your 'C' programs (or any program) is translated into assembly then this is the book. There aren't many books around that explain from simple to complex functions of SPARC chips but this covers all aspects.
First explaining different stack concepts, by chapter 2 you're already able to write simple programs doing arithmetic calculations and do/while/for loops.
Explaining piplines, von-neumann cycles, macro assembly, debuggers, binary arithmetic, digital logic (boolean) is all presented by chapter 4.
By chapter 5 onwards the actual details of the SPARC chip are discussed: how the stack handles data structures and arrays, subroutines, stack pointers, frame pointers, traps, memory alignment, IO, FPU calculations.
Even though its published in 1993 - its a good grounding for 64-bit computing or understanding other load/store ALU's.
If nothing else - you'll understand difficulties compiler programmers have.
For SPARC developers/system administrators/engineers - its a must.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.1 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars dumb as a sack of hammers, weak as a bag of kittens... 8 April 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
at best, this book is a quick gloss over a small, safe subset of sparc programming. a very pricey quick gloss. at worst, this book is an exercise in futility and frustration. the author's reliance and execessive use on the m4 macro processor is enough to make one walk into oncoming traffic. none of the examples in the book are decipherable without running through the author's library of m4 macro routines - rather, the reader is presented with an indirect representation of sparc assembly that makes concepts hard to learn. the author's misdirected aims of symbolic abstractions are ok in the context of a higher-level programming language, but are absolutely worthless in the context of assembly-level programming. through this book, one is encouraged to program sparc assembly in a high-level manner similar to C - actual pragmatic and real-world assembly programming idioms are nowhere to be found. needless to say, any reader will be sorrowfully disappointed to find that m4 is about as common as leprosy in production environments. i would be beaten like a red-headed step child if i were to incorporate any of the author's practices at work. do yourself a favor and pick up the documentation at sparc.com and leave richard p. paul to nance around with the m4 processor by himself in his more aptly title book "M4, C, and Sparc Architecture"
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent book about SPARC Assembly Language. 26 Jun 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
For anyone interested in learning about the SPARC Architecture/Instruction Set (and RISC machines in general) this book is invaluable. It is especially useful for optimizing iterative and decision making C/C++ constructs. In fact, if one follows the tenets espoused in this book, one can learn to hand optimize time-critical sections of C/C++ code that is better than that produced by gcc or cc - the aversion of the UNIX community to write any code in assembly language notwithstanding.
The book really delivers what its rather verbose title implies. That is, a really outstanding feature of the text is the way in which the author translates the standard C/C++ constructs to their low-level counterparts. He does this in stages - creating a variety of examples that progress from functional but grossly inefficient code fragments up to superbly succinct variants. I have used this book in a one semester undergraduate course at the University of Delaware for three years and have also used excerpts from it when I have taught the MIPS Architecture. There is no other book that treats RISC (or CISC) architecture from Professor Paul's relational premise, with which I totally agree. Having taught INTEL stuff for 10+ years, I firmly believe that much of its content could be effectively utilized in CISC courses. The book is also used as the secondary text in the graduate compiler course at U.D.
The book is not without flaws, most of which are because of an incredible number of typographical errors - I have counted over 60 just involving commas! Hopefully the new edition which I believe is due to be published soon will have been edited/typeset with more care. Also, there are some minor changes to the gnu software (gdb and gcc) that need to be upgraded.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing 21 May 2006
By Joshua - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I picked up this book to familiarize myself with the SPARC architecture for an upcoming project and I was extremely disappointed in the presentation of the material, both grammatically and intuitively.

First, when learning assembly language, the last thing a reader or student needs is the code to be obfuscated by a preprocessing tool such as m4. Hiding address offsets and variable alignments in nearly impossible to decipher macros is NOT helpful. This does not make it easier to learn assembly. I found myself learning more about a tool that I'll never use after finishing this book than about SPARC assembly.

Second, whoever edited the manuscript for this book should be fired. I found myself editing the book as I read so I could understand what the author was trying to say. I also found the language to be a bit obtuse in a few, unfortunately important, places.

Third, the diagrams in the book need some serious help as well. They were almost useless. Many of them made the topic being discussed more confusing. I found myself using Wikipedia or the Sparc V8 manual more than once.

All that said, the book does try to cover the important aspects of the SPARC architecture. I did get the needed information from the book, but it could have been organized and presented much better.

The book could be a great SPARC reference and tutorial book if these problems were addressed in a future edition.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor in too many respects 15 Dec 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
For starters, the first apparent detail of this book is the glaring grammatical errors. Ok, no big deal, but still, it's an eyesore. The book is complex for the sake of complexity. Each chapter could easily be 2/3 or less the length it is now. The M4 macro is over-used and under-explained. If it used this much, a whole chapter should be devoted to it (at least more than a four page section covering few basics). The examples are poor and many of them simply don't work. A total lack of explanation as to what is actually going on "behind the scenes" as the macro does its work left me hung out to dry on many occasions. With way too much work, I reaped very little knowledge from this book. I can see this being a half-decent reference for those who have extensive knowledge of the M4 macro and previous experience in assembly language. If you're a beginner, stay miles away from this book. Books on a topic as inherently confusing as this need to be clearer and more extensive in their explanations and have examples that work.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I didn't find it that bad, actually 13 Nov 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found the book quite useful as an introduction to SPARC assembly language. There is a lot of material on program optimization, which could be skipped or read. The extensive use of the m4 preprocessor gets slightly annoying at times, but the programs generally remain easy to read. The reason for a four star review is that although I feel the book does not cover the subject in a lot of depth, it wasn't very user-friendly to the absolute beginner either. As such, the book would make a good textbook for a course, but it is not that good for the independent learner. By the way, I'm basing this on the first edition.
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