A Bare Essentials Instruction Set

A project log for Trinity

A ternary LISP machine

john-sullyJohn Sully 12/15/2014 at 10:200 Comments

I've been a little bit worried about the ease of construction of my 20 instruction ISA, so I've put here a simplified version. This should still be sufficient to get a useable machine albeit with significant performance penalties. At only 11 instructions this design would require much simpler hardware.

Mnmonic Name Operation
Arithmetic And Logic
NAC Negate Accumulator -A -> A
AAC And Accumulator A & B -> A
OAC Or Accumulator A | B -> A
XAC XOR Accumulator A XOR B -> A
ADD Add Accumulator A + B -> A
SUB Subtract Accumulator A + (-B) -> A
Branch and Test
JAF Jump Flags (Indirect) if (op1 & flag) then (PC + 2 + op2) -> PC
Load and Store
SWP Swap A <-> B
LIM Load Immediate op1 -> A
OUT Output to terminal A -> Term Device
IN Input from terminal Term Device -> A

This design does not need a stack pointer or an index register. All jumps are relative. Unconditional jumps can be simulated by testing the True flag which is always true. This will likely be the ISA of my first machine but it will make implementing higher level languages tedious and the performance will be poor.

I'm also toying with the idea of some sort of trap infrastructure so I can emulate the missing instructions in software.