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Shortcuts: Calendar | Assignments | Resources | Today (if there is a class) Course: Assembly Programming


Date Topic, content Deliverables



Microprocessors and microcontrollers. Applications. Architectures. Coourse outline.


Hexadecimal arithmetic

Representation of non-negative numbers in hardware, registers and memory. Decimal, binary, octal, and hexadecimal systems. Converting between the systems.

Quiz 1

Decimal, binary, octal and hexadecimal systems.


Two's complement

Representing negative numbers in hardware. Register size, and why it is important. Methods for encoding negative numbers: packed, signed, bias, one's complement and two's complement. Converting between the value and two's complement in binary and hexadecimal systems.

Quiz 2

Two's complement.


Processor architecture

Architecture of a processor. Registers, register file, ALU, datapath. CISC vs. RISC architectures. x86 architecture as CISC representative. ARM architecture as RISC. Instruction encoding.

Developing and testing a simple Assembly program. Using cross-compilation tools. Introduction to the Make system.


Computing environment

Environment and tools for compiling and debugging Assembly programs. Compiler, preprocessor, assembly, linker, loader, debugger. Cross-compilation and toolchains. Emulators and virtual machines.

Announced: HW1 - Arithmetic progression


ARM Assembly and arithmetic

Introduction to ARM Assembly language and programming. Instruction types. Arithmetic instructions. MOV, ADD, SUB. MVN, ADC, SBC, RSB, RSC. Barrel Shifter.

Evaluating and following the code "on paper".


Flow control and tests

Flow control in Assembly. Branch instructions. B, BL, BX, BLX. Working directly with PC register. CPSR flags. Condition field. Bit operations. AND, ORR, EOR, BIC, shift and rotation. CMP, CMN, TST, TEQ. Fast flags and the S postfix.

Quiz 3

Code comprehension.

  • Due HW1 - Arithmetic progression
  • Announced: HW2 - Matrix multiplication


Memory instructions

Reading and writing data to memory. Memory access instructions. STR, LDR, STRB, STRH, LDRB, LDRH, LDRSB, LDRSH. Addressing modes: offset, pre-indexed and post-indexed. Using barrel shifter with addressing. Data alignment in memory.


Calling subroutines and interfacing with C

Variable types in C: static, automatic and dynamic. Calling subroutines and parameter passing conventions. Parameters and return value. Stack and registers. Saving the registers, the context. Loading and storing multiple registers: LDM, STM. Interfacing between Assembly and C.

  • Due HW2 - Matrix multiplication



Symbol encoding in hardware and software. Code tables. ASCII. EBCDIC. ISO code tables. Foreign letter symbols. UTF-8, UTF-16. Strings in C and memory. Converting values to symbols and strings.



Data representation in memory. Assembly code comprehension. Two programming tasks.

  • Assignment Proj - Project


Expressions and Macro commands

Expressions in Assembly. Operators in expressions. Constants. Assigning values to symbols. Directives: .set, .equiv, .eqv. Conditional compilation. Directives .if, .ifdef, .endif., ifb, .ifc, .ifeqs. More conditionals .ifeq, .ifge, .ifne and others. Macro commands: .macro, .endm., .rept. Recursive macros. Local macros. Macros across sections.

  • Due M1P1 - Midterm 1 programming task 1, tested
  • Due M1P2 - Midterm 1 programming task 2, tested


Inline Assembly

Including Assembly in C code. Inline code and Assembly code operands. Tasks for the compiler, linker and loader. Dynamic loaders and libraries.



Execution time for instructions. Case study for code optimization. Leveraging the documentation and specification of instructions. Reordering the code. Unrolling loops. Taking advantage of branch prediction. Cache memory and the code performance.

Review of the course topics

  • Due By midnight Proj - Project




Data representation in memory. Assembly code comprehension. Multiple choice questions and a programming task.

  • Due ExamP1 - Exam programming task, tested