Reading Assignment and Discussion Topics
Computer Science 471

for class on Tuesday Nov. 7, 2000

Please read Sections 6.2 and 6.3 of the Patterson & Hennessy text, and be prepared to discuss the following issue:

Do you think that the control circuitry for the five-stage MIPS pipeline of the text is somehow equivalent to one or more finite-state machines? At some level it must be, of course, since any sequential, deterministic device made of a finite collection of parts can be described as a finite-state machine. It seems as if there might be a very large number of states with complicated state-transition rules: after all, there are lots and lots of combinations of instructions that could potentially occupy the five different pipeline stages in the same cycle. How would you describe the finite-state machine or machines, and how would you specify the states and the state-transition function or functions? (We'll be operating at the circles-and-arrows level for most of this class.)