Intel iAPX 432
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12-10-2010, 12:10 PM

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Akash S. Govani
Neel R. Sitapara
Intel iAPX 432

Abstract—The Intel iAPX-432 is one of the most sophisticated architectures in existence. Intel iAPX 432 is an object-based micromainframe. The Intel designers has produced an extremely uniform and tightly integrated hardware/software system. This uniformity is due to the use of a consistent philosophy. There are no special privileges in the Intel 432 system. The mechanism used by programmer-defined type managers are identical to those used by operating system type managers. The Intel iAPX 432 was Intel’s first 32-bit microprocessor design, introduced in 1981 as a set of three integrated circuits. The iAPX 432 was intended to be Intel’s major design for the 1980s, implementing many advanced multitasking and memory management features in hardware, which led them to refer to the design as the Micromainframe. The abbreviation iAPX reportedly stands for Intel Advanced Processor architecture, the X coming from the Greek letter Chi. The iAPX 432 was originally planned to have a 10 MHz clock, but available models used 5, 7, and 8 MHz. The peak performance was 2 million instructions per second. There are 230 instructions. All the resources are represented as the objects and their address is stored in access segment of memory. It is designed to be programmed in Ada. The Intel 432 is an ambitious system in terms of both architecture and implementation. It is fair to say that Intel 432 has not been a commercial success. The commercial problems of the Intel 432 are probably due in part to premature and somewhat overzealous marketing of the product before its implementation and software were ready. The initial version of the Intel 432 had performance problems which have been corrected to some extent by later versions of the architecture. Still, whether or not the Intel 432 succeeds as a product, it has opened a new era of microprocessor design. Index Terms—Object-Oriented Programming, MIMD, GDP, IP, CISC, VLSI, HYDRA Operating System, Micromainframe, stack, multiprocessor, microprogrammed machine, multibus, dispatch, virtual space, capabilities, generic object, packets, environment, RISC, garbage collection, domain, refinement, typed object, programmer defined types, TDO, TCO .

In 1975, Intel began work on a microcomputer system project and implimentation. The goals for this system were large-scale computational power, incremental performance capacity, highly dependable hardware and software, and increased programmer productivity. Six years later, in 1981, Intel announced a new processor:The Intel iAPX 432 represents a dramatic advance in computer architecture: it is the first computer whose architecture supports true software transparent, multiprocessor operation; it is the first commercial system to support an object-oriented programming methodology; it is designed to be programmed entirely in high-level languages; it supports a virtual address space of over a trillion bytes; and it supports on the chip itself the proposed IEEE-standard for floating point architecture. The development of the iAPX 432 system might be considered the most significant architectural development of 1970’s; it was an ambitious super-CISC, object-oriented VLSI microprocessor. It achieved the integration of software operations in hardware by having many operating system functions in hardware and microcode (it provides a collection of mechanisms in hardware, leaving the selection of policies to the software). This was partially due to an attempt to implement in silicon a system similar to Carnegie-Mellon’s Hydra operating system. The 432 employs protection and addressing concepts to limit the consequences of errors, has a heavy emphasis on encouraging good software-structuring practices, has aids for software testing and debugging, and has mechanisms that reduce the complexity of operating systems and other system programs. The 432 challenged the limits of the technology available at the time; it was so complex that 3 chips (4 in the final release) were required to contain all the hardware. The 432 failed commercially as a processor but was a major learning experience for Intel; it was a success of sorts that the final product performed correctly. [1] II. ARCHITECTURAL CLASSIFICATION Since, Intel 432 processing elements consists of three chips viz. _ The General Data Processor.GDP is implemented on two 64-pin chips. _ The third 64-pin chip is called Interface Processor. it was known as ”Micormainframe” and not as Microprocessor. The 432 had a MIMD, stack-based architecture, which was designed to be a multiprocessor system that could accommodate a total of six processors, each either a GDP or IP. The general structure of i432 is as shown in Fig1. Due to the iAPX 432 having a multiple-chip organization, its register structure is not like that of other chips. There are no registers that are visible to the programmer.

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