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Assembly Language Programming
Lecture Notes

Delivered by

Belal Hashmi
Compiled by

Junaid Haroon

Preface
Assembly language programming develops a very basic and low level understanding of the computer. In higher level languages there is a distance between the computer and the programmer. This is because higher level languages are designed to be closer and friendlier to the programmer, thereby creating distance with the machine. This distance is covered by translators called compilers and interpreters. The aim of programming in assembly language is to bypass these intermediates and talk directly with the computer. There is a general impression that assembly language programming is a difficult chore and not everyone is capable enough to understand it. The reality is in contrast, as assembly language is a very simple subject. The wrong impression is created because it is very difficult to realize that the real computer can be so simple. Assembly language programming gives a freehand exposure to the computer and lets the programmer talk with it in its language. The only translator that remains between the programmer and the computer is there to symbolize the computer’s numeric world for the ease of remembering.
To cover the practical aspects of assembly language programming, IBM PC based on Intel architecture will be used as an example. However this course will not be tied to a particular architecture as it is often done. In our view such an approach does not create versatile assembly language programmers.
The concepts of assembly language that are common across all platforms will be developed in such a manner as to emphasize the basic low level understanding of the computer instead of the peculiarities of one particular architecture. Emphasis will be more on assembly language and less on the
IBM PC.
Before attempting this course you should know basic digital logic operations of AND, OR, NOT etc. You should know binary numbers and their arithmetic. Apart from these basic concepts there is nothing much you need to know before this course. In fact if you are not an expert, you will learn assembly language quickly, as non-experts see things with simplicity and the basic beauty of assembly language is that it is exceptionally simple. Do not ever try to find a complication, as one will not be there. In assembly language what is written in the program is all that is there, no less and no more.
After successful completion of this course, you will be able to explain all the basic operations of the computer and in essence understand the psychology of the computer. Having seen the computer from so close, you will understand its limitations and its capabilities. Your logic will become fine grained and this is one of the basic objectives of teaching assembly language programming. Then there is the question that why should we learn assembly language when there are higher level languages one better than the other; C, C++,
Java, to name just a few, with a neat programming environment and a simple way to write programs. Then why do we need such a freehand with the computer that may be dangerous at times? The answer to this lies in a very simple example. Consider a translator translating from English to
Japanese. The problem faced by the translator is that every language has its own vocabulary and grammar. He may need to translate a word into a sentence and destroy the beauty of the topic. And given that we do not know

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Japanese, so we cannot verify that our intent was correctly conveyed or not.
Compiler is such a translator, just a lot dumber, and having a scarce number of words in its target language, it is bound to produce a lot of garbage and unnecessary stuff as a result of its ignorance of our program logic. In normal programs such garbage is acceptable and the ease of programming overrides the loss in efficiency but there are a few situations where this loss is unbearable.
Think about a four color picture scanned at 300 dots per inch making
90000 pixels per square inch. Now a processing on this picture requires
360000 operations per square inch, one operation for each color of each pixel. A few extra instructions placed by the translator can cost hours of extra time. The only way to optimize this is to do it directly in assembly language. But this doesn’t mean that the whole application has to be written in assembly language, which is almost never the case. It’s only the performance critical part that is coded in assembly language to gain the few extra cycles that matter at that point.
Consider an arch just like the ones in mosques. It cannot be made of big stones alone as that would make the arch wildly jagged, not like the fine arch we are used to see. The fine grains of cement are used to smooth it to the desired level of perfection. This operation of smoothing is optimization. The core structure is built in a higher level language with the big blocks it provides and the corners that need optimization are smoothed with the fine grain of assembly language which allows extreme control.
Another use of assembly language is in a class of time critical systems called real time systems. Real time systems have time bound responses, with an upper limit of time on certain operations. For such precise timing requirement, we must keep the instructions in our total control. In higher level languages we cannot even tell how many computer instructions were actually used, but in assembly language we can have precise control over them. Any reasonable sized application or a serious development effort has nooks and corners where assembly language is needed. And at these corners if there is no assembly language, there can be no optimization and when there is no optimization, there is no beauty. Sometimes a useful application becomes useless just because of the carelessness of not working on these jagged corners.
The third major reason for learning assembly language and a major objective for teaching it is to produce fine grained logic in programmers. Just like big blocks cannot produce an arch, the big thick grained logic learnt in a higher level language cannot produce the beauty and fineness assembly language can deliver. Each and every grain of assembly language has a meaning; nothing is presumed (e.g. div and mul for input and out put of decimal number). You have to put together these grains, the minimum number of them to produce the desired outcome. Just like a “for” loop in a higher level language is a block construct and has a hundred things hidden in it, but using the grains of assembly language we do a similar operation with a number of grains but in the process understand the minute logic hidden beside that simple “for” construct.
Assembly language cannot be learnt by reading a book or by attending a course. It is a language that must be tasted and enjoyed. There is no other way to learn it. You will need to try every example, observe and verify the things you are told about it, and experiment a lot with the computer. Only then you will know and become able to appreciate how powerful, versatile, and simple this language is; the three properties that are hardly ever present together. Whether you program in C/C++ or Java, or in any programming paradigm be it object oriented or declarative, everything has to boil down to the bits and bytes of assembly language before the computer can even understand it.

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Table of Contents
Preface
Table of Contents
1 Introduction to Assembly Language
1.1.
1.2.
1.3.
1.4.
1.5.
1.6.
1.7.
1.8.

Basic Computer Architecture
Registers
Instruction Groups
Intel iapx88 Architecture
History
Register Architecture
Our First Program
Segmented Memory Model

2 Addressing Modes
2.1.
2.2.
2.3.
2.4.
2.5.
2.6.
2.7.
2.8.

Data Declaration
Direct Addressing
Size Mismatch Errors
Register Indirect Addressing
Register + Offset Addressing
Segment Association
Address Wraparound
Addressing Modes Summary

3 Branching
3.1.
3.2.
3.3.
3.4.
3.5.
3.6.

Comparison and Conditions
Conditional Jumps
Unconditional Jump
Relative Addressing
Types of Jump
Sorting Example

4 Bit Manipulations
4.1.
4.2.
4.3.
4.4.
4.5.
4.6.

Multiplication Algorithm
Shifting and Rotations
Multiplication in Assembly Language
Extended Operations
Bitwise Logical Operations
Masking Operations

5 Subroutines
5.1.
5.2.
5.3.
5.4.
5.5.
5.6.

Program Flow
Our First Subroutine
Stack
Saving and Restoring Registers
Parameter Passing Through Stack
Local Variables

6 Display Memory

i iii 1
1
3
5
6
6
7
9
12
17
17
17
21
22
25
25
26
27
31
31
33
36
37
37
38
43
43
43
46
47
50
51
55
55
57
59
62
64
67
71

iv
6.1.
6.2.
6.3.
6.4.
6.5.

ASCII Codes
Display Memory Formation
Hello World in Assembly Language
Number Printing in Assembly
Screen Location Calculation

7 String Instructions
7.1.
7.2.
7.3.
7.4.
7.5.
7.6.
7.7.

83

String Processing
STOS Example – Clearing the Screen
LODS Example – String Printing
SCAS Example – String Length
LES and LDS Example
MOVS Example – Screen Scrolling
CMPS Example – String Comparison

8 Software Interrupts

9 Real Time Interrupts and Hardware Interfacing
Hardware Interrupts
I/O Ports
Terminate and Stay Resident
Programmable Interval Timer
Parallel Port

10 Debug Interrupts

95
98
99
105
105
106
111
114
116
125

10.1. Debugger using single step interrupt
10.2. Debugger using breakpoint interrupt
11 Multitasking

125
128
131

11.1. Concepts of Multitasking
11.2. Elaborate Multitasking
11.3. Multitasking Kernel as TSR
12 Video Services

131
133
135
141

12.1. BIOS Video Services
12.2. DOS Video Services
13 Secondary Storage
13.1.
13.2.
13.3.
13.4.

83
85
86
87
89
90
92
95

8.1. Interrupts
8.2. Hooking an Interrupt
8.3. BIOS and DOS Interrupts

9.1.
9.2.
9.3.
9.4.
9.5.

71
72
74
76
79

141
144
147

Physical Formation
Storage Access Using BIOS
Storage Access using DOS
Device Drivers

147
148
153
158

14 Serial Port Programming

163

14.1. Introduction
14.2. Serial Communication

163
165

15 Protected Mode Programming
15.1.
15.2.
15.3.
15.4.

Introduction
32bit Programming
VESA Linear Frame Buffer
Interrupt Handling

16 Interfacing with High Level Languages
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167
170
172
174
179
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
16.1. Calling Conventions
16.2. Calling C from Assembly
16.3. Calling Assembly from C
17 Comparison with Other Processors
17.1. Motorolla 68K Processors
17.2. Sun SPARC Processor

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179
181
183
183
184

v

1
Introduction to Assembly
Language
1.1. BASIC COMPUTER ARCHITECTURE
Address, Data, and Control Buses
A computer system comprises of a processor, memory, and I/O devices.
I/O is used for interfacing with the external world, while memory is the processor’s internal world. Processor is the core in this picture and is responsible for performing operations. The operation of a computer can be fairly described with processor and memory only. I/O will be discussed in a later part of the course. Now the whole working of the computer is performing an operation by the processor on data, which resides in memory.
The scenario that the processor executes operations and the memory contains data elements requires a mechanism for the processor to read that data from the memory. “That data” in the previous sentence much be rigorously explained to the memory which is a dumb device. Just like a postman, who must be told the precise address on the letter, to inform him where the destination is located. Another significant point is that if we only want to read the data and not write it, then there must be a mechanism to inform the memory that we are interested in reading data and not writing it.
Key points in the above discussion are:
• There must be a mechanism to inform memory that we want to do the read operation
• There must be a mechanism to inform memory that we want to read precisely which element
• There must be a mechanism to transfer that data element from memory to processor
The group of bits that the processor uses to inform the memory about which element to read or write is collectively known as the address bus.
Another important bus called the data bus is used to move the data from the memory to the processor in a read operation and from the processor to the memory in a write operation. The third group consists of miscellaneous independent lines used for control purposes. For example, one line of the bus is used to inform the memory about whether to do the read operation or the write operation. These lines are collectively known as the control bus.
These three buses are the eyes, nose, and ears of the processor. It uses them in a synchronized manner to perform a meaningful operation. Although the programmer specifies the meaningful operation, but to fulfill it the processor needs the collaboration of other units and peripherals. And that collaboration is made available using the three buses. This is the very basic description of a computer and it can be extended on the same lines to I/O but we are leaving it out just for simplicity for the moment.
The address bus is unidirectional and address always travels from processor to memory. This is because memory is a dumb device and cannot predict which element the processor at a particular instant of time needs.
Data moves from both, processor to memory and memory to processor, so the data bus is bidirectional. Control bus is special and relatively complex, because different lines comprising it behave differently. Some take

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information from the processor to a peripheral and some take information from the peripheral to the processor. There can be certain events outside the processor that are of its interest. To bring information about these events the data bus cannot be used as it is owned by the processor and will only be used when the processor grants permission to use it. Therefore certain processors provide control lines to bring such information to processor’s notice in the control bus. Knowing these signals in detail is unnecessary but the general idea of the control bus must be conceived in full.

PROCESSOR

MEMORY

PERIPHERALS

We take an example to explain the collaboration of the processor and memory using the address, control, and data buses. Consider that you want your uneducated servant to bring a book from the shelf. You order him to bring the fifth book from top of the shelf. All the data movement operations are hidden in this one sentence. Such a simple everyday phenomenon seen from this perspective explains the seemingly complex working of the three buses. We told the servant to “bring a book” and the one which is “fifth from top,” precise location even for the servant who is much more intelligent then our dumb memory. The dumb servant follows the steps one by one and the book is in your hand as a result. If however you just asked him for a book or you named the book, your uneducated servant will stand there gazing at you and the book will never come in your hand.
Even in this simplest of all examples, mathematics is there, “fifth from top.” Without a number the servant would not be able to locate the book. He is unable to understand your will. Then you tell him to put it with the seventh book on the right shelf. Precision is involved and only numbers are precise in this world. One will always be one and two will always be two. So we tell in the form of a number on the address bus which cell is needed out of say the 2000 cells in the whole memory.
A binary number is generated on the address bus, fifth, seventh, eighth, tenth; the cell which is needed. So the cell number is placed on the address bus. A memory cell is an n-bit location to store data, normally 8-bit also called a byte. The number of bits in a cell is called the cell width. The two dimensions, cell width and number of cells, define the memory completely just like the width and depth of a well defines it completely. 200 feet deep by
15 feet wide and the well is completely described. Similarly for memory we define two dimensions. The first dimension defines how many parallel bits are there in a single memory cell. The memory is called 8-bit or 16-bit for this reason and this is also the word size of the memory. This need not match the size of a processor word which has other parameters to define it.
In general the memory cell cannot be wider than the width of the data bus.
Best and simplest operation requires the same size of data bus and memory cell width.
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As we previously discussed that the control bus carries the intent of the processor that it wants to read or to write. Memory changes its behavior in response to this signal from the processor. It defines the direction of data flow. If processor wants to read but memory wants to write, there will be no communication or useful flow of information. Both must be synchronized, like a speaker speaks and the listener listens. If both speak simultaneously or both listen there will be no communication. This precise synchronization between the processor and the memory is the responsibility of the control bus. Control bus is only the mechanism. The responsibility of sending the appropriate signals on the control bus to the memory is of the processor.
Since the memory never wants to listen or to speak of itself. Then why is the control bus bidirectional. Again we take the same example of the servant and the book further to elaborate this situation. Consider that the servant went to fetch the book just to find that the drawing room door is locked. Now the servant can wait there indefinitely keeping us in surprise or come back and inform us about the situation so that we can act accordingly. The servant even though he was obedient was unable to fulfill our orders so in all his obedience, he came back to inform us about the problem. Synchronization is still important, as a result of our orders either we got the desired cell or we came to know that the memory is locked for the moment. Such information cannot be transferred via the address or the data bus. For such situations when peripherals want to talk to the processor when the processor wasn’t expecting them to speak, special lines in the control bus are used. The information in such signals is usually to indicate the incapability of the peripheral to do something for the moment. For these reasons the control bus is a bidirectional bus and can carry information from processor to memory as well as from memory to processor.
1.2. REGISTERS
The basic purpose of a computer is to perform operations, and operations need operands. Operands are the data on which we want to perform a certain operation. Consider the addition operation; it involves adding two numbers to get their sum. We can have precisely one address on the address bus and consequently precisely one element on the data bus. At the very same instant the second operand cannot be brought inside the processor. As soon as the second is selected, the first operand is no longer there. For this reason there are temporary storage places inside the processor called registers. Now one operand can be read in a register and added into the other which is read directly from the memory. Both are made accessible at one instance of time, one from inside the processor and one from outside on the data bus. The result can be written to at a distinct location as the operation has completed and we can access a different memory cell. Sometimes we hold both operands in registers for the sake of efficiency as what we can do inside the processor is undoubtedly faster than if we have to go outside and bring the second operand.
Registers are like a scratch pad ram inside the processor and their operation is very much like normal memory cells. They have precise locations and remember what is placed inside them. They are used when we need more than one data element inside the processor at one time. The concept of registers will be further elaborated as we progress into writing our first program. Memory is a limited resource but the number of memory cells is large.
Registers are relatively very small in number, and are therefore a very scarce and precious resource. Registers are more than one in number, so we have to precisely identify or name them. Some manufacturers number their registers like r0, r1, r2, others name them like A, B, C, D etc. Naming is useful since the registers are few in number. This is called the nomenclature of the
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particular architecture. Still other manufacturers name their registers according to their function like X stands for an index register. This also informs us that there are special functions of registers as well, some of which are closely associated to the particular architecture. For example index registers do not hold data instead they are used to hold the address of data.
There are other functions as well and the whole spectrum of register functionalities is quite large. However most of the details will become clear as the registers of the Intel architecture are discussed in detail.
Accumulator
There is a central register in every processor called the accumulator.
Traditionally all mathematical and logical operations are performed on the accumulator. The word size of a processor is defined by the width of its accumulator. A 32bit processor has an accumulator of 32 bits.
Pointer, Index, or Base Register
The name varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the basic distinguishing property is that it does not hold data but holds the address of data. The rationale can be understood by examining a “for” loop in a higher level language, zeroing elements in an array of ten elements located in consecutive memory cells. The location to be zeroed changes every iteration.
That is the address where the operation is performed is changing. Index register is used in such a situation to hold the address of the current array location. Now the value in the index register cannot be treated as data, but it is the address of data. In general whenever we need access to a memory location whose address is not known until runtime we need an index register. Without this register we would have needed to explicitly code each iteration separately.
In newer architectures the distinction between accumulator and index registers has become vague. They have general registers which are more versatile and can do both functions. They do have some specialized behaviors but basic operations can be done on all general registers.
Flags Register or Program Status Word
This is a special register in every architecture called the flags register or the program status word. Like the accumulator it is an 8, 16, or 32 bits register but unlike the accumulator it is meaningless as a unit, rather the individual bits carry different meanings. The bits of the accumulator work in parallel as a unit and each bit mean the same thing. The bits of the flags register work independently and individually, and combined its value is meaningless. An example of a bit commonly present in the flags register is the carry flag.
The carry can be contained in a single bit as in binary arithmetic the carry can only be zero or one. If a 16bit number is added to a 16bit accumulator, and the result is of 17 bits the 17th bit is placed in the carry bit of the flags register. Without this 17th bit the answer is incorrect. More examples of flags will be discussed when dealing with the Intel specific register set.
Program Counter or Instruction Pointer
Everything must translate into a binary number for our dumb processor to understand it, be it an operand or an operation itself. Therefore the instructions themselves must be translated into numbers. For example to add numbers we understand the word “add.” We translate this word into a number to make the processor understand it. This number is the actual instruction for the computer. All the objects, inheritance and encapsulation constructs in higher level languages translate down to just a number in assembly language in the end. Addition, multiplication, shifting; all big
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programs are made using these simple building blocks. A number is at the bottom line since this is the only thing a computer can understand.
A program is defined to be “an ordered set of instructions.” Order in this definition is a key part. Instructions run one after another, first, second, third and so on. Instructions have a positional relationship. The whole logic depends on this positioning. If the computer executes the fifth instructions after the first and not the second, all our logic is gone. The processor should ensure this ordering of instructions. A special register exists in every processor called the program counter or the instruction pointer that ensures this ordering. “The program counter holds the address of the next instruction to be executed.” A number is placed in the memory cell pointed to by this register and that number tells the processor which instruction to execute; for example 0xEA, 255, or 152. For the processor 152 might be the add instruction. Just this one number tells it that it has to add, where its operands are, and where to store the result. This number is called the opcode. The instruction pointer moves from one opcode to the next. This is how our program executes and progresses. One instruction is picked, its operands are read and the instruction is executed, then the next instruction is picked from the new address in instruction pointer and so on.
Remembering 152 for the add operation or 153 for the subtract operation is difficult. To make a simple way to remember difficult things we associate a symbol to every number. As when we write “add” everyone understands what we mean by it. Then we need a small program to convert this “add” of ours to
152 for the processor. Just a simple search and replace operation to translate all such symbols to their corresponding opcodes. We have mapped the numeric world of the processor to our symbolic world. “Add” conveys a meaning to us but the number 152 does not. We can say that add is closer to the programmer’s thinking. This is the basic motive of adding more and more translation layers up to higher level languages like C++ and Java and Visual
Basic. These symbols are called instruction mnemonics. Therefore the mnemonic “add a to b” conveys more information to the reader. The dumb translator that will convert these mnemonics back to the original opcodes is a key program to be used throughout this course and is called the assembler.
1.3. INSTRUCTION GROUPS
Usual opcodes in every processor exist for moving data, arithmetic and logical manipulations etc. However their mnemonics vary depending on the will of the manufacturer. Some manufacturers name the mnemonics for data movement instructions as “move,” some call it “load” and “store” and still other names are present. But the basic set of instructions is similar in every processor. A grouping of these instructions makes learning a new processor quick and easy. Just the group an instruction belongs tells a lot about the instruction. Data Movement Instructions
These instructions are used to move data from one place to another. These places can be registers, memory, or even inside peripheral devices. Some examples are: mov lad

ax, bx
1234

Arithmetic and Logic Instructions
Arithmetic instructions like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and Logical instructions like logical and, logical or, logical xor, or complement are part of this group. Some examples are: and add add ax, 1234 bx, 0534 bx, [1200]

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The bracketed form is a complex variation meaning to add the data placed at address 1200. Addressing data in memory is a detailed topic and is discussed in the next chapter.
Program Control Instructions
The instruction pointer points to the next instruction and instructions run one after the other with the help of this register. We can say that the instructions are tied with one another. In some situations we don’t want to follow this implied path and want to order the processor to break its flow if some condition becomes true instead of the spatially placed next instruction.
In certain other cases we want the processor to first execute a separate block of code and then come back to resume processing where it left.
These are instructions that control the program execution and flow by playing with the instruction pointer and altering its normal behavior to point to the next instruction. Some examples are: cmp jne

ax, 0
1234

We are changing the program flow to the instruction at 1234 address if the condition that we checked becomes true.
Special Instructions
Another group called special instructions works like the special service commandos. They allow changing specific processor behaviors and are used to play with it. They are used rarely but are certainly used in any meaningful program. Some examples are: cli sti

Where cli clears the interrupt flag and sti sets it. Without delving deep into it, consider that the cli instruction instructs the processor to close its ears from the outside world and never listen to what is happening outside, possibly to do some very important task at hand, while sti restores normal behavior. Since these instructions change the processor behavior they are placed in the special instructions group.
1.4. INTEL IAPX88 ARCHITECTURE
Now we select a specific architecture to discuss these abstract ideas in concrete form. We will be using IBM PC based on Intel architecture because of its wide availability, because of free assemblers and debuggers available for it, and because of its wide use in a variety of domains. However the concepts discussed will be applicable on any other architecture as well; just the mnemonics of the particular language will be different.
Technically iAPX88 stands for “Intel Advanced Processor Extensions 88.” It was a very successful processor also called 8088 and was used in the very first IBM PC machines. Our discussion will revolve around 8088 in the first half of the course while in the second half we will use iAPX386 which is very advanced and powerful processor. 8088 is a 16bit processor with its accumulator and all registers of 16 bits. 386 on the other hand, is a 32bit processor. However it is downward compatible with iAPX88 meaning that all code written for 8088 is valid on the 386. The architecture of a processor means the organization and functionalities of the registers it contains and the instructions that are valid on the processor. We will discuss the register architecture of 8088 in detail below while its instructions are discussed in the rest of the book at appropriate places.
1.5. HISTORY
Intel did release some 4bit processors in the beginning but the first meaningful processor was 8080, an 8bit processor. The processor became
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popular due to its simplistic design and versatile architecture. Based on the experience gained from 8080, an advanced version was released as 8085.
The processor became widely popular in the engineering community again due to its simple and logical nature.
Intel introduced the first 16bit processor named 8088 at a time when the concept of personal computer was evolving. With a maximum memory of 64K on the 8085, the 8088 allowed a whole mega byte. IBM embedded this processor in their personal computer. The first machines ran at 4.43 MHz; a blazing speed at that time. This was the right thing at the right moment. No one expected this to become the biggest success of computing history. IBM
PC XT became so popular and successful due to its open architecture and easily available information.
The success was unexpected for the developers themselves. As when Intel introduced the processor it contained a timer tick count which was valid for five years only. They never anticipated the architecture to stay around for more than five years but the history took a turn and the architecture is there at every desk even after 25 years and the tick is to be specially handled every now and then.
1.6. REGISTER ARCHITECTURE
The iAPX88 architecture consists of 14 registers.

CS

SP

DS

BP

SS

SI

ES

DI
AH

FLAGS

(AX)

BH

BL

(BX)

CH

IP

AL

CL

(CX)

DH

DL

(DX)

General Registers (AX, BX, CX, and DX)
The registers AX, BX, CX, and DX behave as general purpose registers in
Intel architecture and do some specific functions in addition to it. X in their names stand for extended meaning 16bit registers. For example AX means we are referring to the extended 16bit “A” register. Its upper and lower byte are separately accessible as AH (A high byte) and AL (A low byte). All general purpose registers can be accessed as one 16bit register or as two 8bit registers. The two registers AH and AL are part of the big whole AX. Any change in AH or AL is reflected in AX as well. AX is a composite or extended register formed by gluing together the two parts AH and AL.
The A of AX stands for Accumulator. Even though all general purpose registers can act as accumulator in most instructions there are some specific variations which can only work on AX which is why it is named the accumulator. The B of BX stands for Base because of its role in memory addressing as discussed in the next chapter. The C of CX stands for Counter as there are certain instructions that work with an automatic count in the
CX register. The D of DX stands for Destination as it acts as the destination in I/O operations. The A, B, C, and D are in letter sequence as well as depict some special functionality of the register.

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Index Registers (SI and DI)
SI and DI stand for source index and destination index respectively. These are the index registers of the Intel architecture which hold address of data and used in memory access. Being an open and flexible architecture, Intel allows many mathematical and logical operations on these registers as well like the general registers. The source and destination are named because of their implied functionality as the source or the destination in a special class of instructions called the string instructions. However their use is not at all restricted to string instructions. SI and DI are 16bit and cannot be used as
8bit register pairs like AX, BX, CX, and DX.
Instruction Pointer (IP)
This is the special register containing the address of the next instruction to be executed. No mathematics or memory access can be done through this register. It is out of our direct control and is automatically used. Playing with it is dangerous and needs special care. Program control instructions change the IP register.
Stack Pointer (SP)
It is a memory pointer and is used indirectly by a set of instructions. This register will be explored in the discussion of the system stack.
Base Pointer (BP)
It is also a memory pointer containing the address in a special area of memory called the stack and will be explored alongside SP in the discussion of the stack.
Flags Register
The flags register as previously discussed is not meaningful as a unit rather it is bit wise significant and accordingly each bit is named separately.
The bits not named are unused. The Intel FLAGS register has its bits organized as follows:
15

14

13

12

11

10

9

8

7

6

O

D

I

T

S

Z

5

4

3

A

2
P

1

0
C

The individual flags are explained in the following table.
C

Carry

When two 16bit numbers are added the answer can be
17 bits long or when two 8bit numbers are added the answer can be 9 bits long. This extra bit that won’t fit in the target register is placed in the carry flag where it can be used and tested.

P

Parity

Parity is the number of “one” bits in a binary number.
Parity is either odd or even. This information is normally used in communications to verify the integrity of data sent from the sender to the receiver.

A

Auxiliary
Carry

A number in base 16 is called a hex number and can be represented by 4 bits. The collection of 4 bits is called a nibble. During addition or subtraction if a carry goes from one nibble to the next this flag is set. Carry flag is for the carry from the whole addition while auxiliary carry is the carry from the first nibble to the second.

Z

Zero Flag

The Zero flag is set if the last mathematical or logical instruction has produced a zero in its destination.
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S

Sign Flag

A signed number is represented in its two’s complement form in the computer. The most significant bit (MSB) of a negative number in this representation is 1 and for a positive number it is zero. The sign bit of the last mathematical or logical operation’s destination is copied into the sign flag.

T

Trap Flag

The trap flag has a special role in debugging which will be discussed later.

I

Interrupt Flag

It tells whether the processor can be interrupted from outside or not. Sometimes the programmer doesn’t want a particular task to be interrupted so the
Interrupt flag can be zeroed for this time. The programmer rather than the processor sets this flag since the programmer knows when interruption is okay and when it is not. Interruption can be disabled or enabled by making this bit zero or one, respectively, using special instructions.

D

Direction Flag

Specifically related to string instructions, this flag tells whether the current operation has to be done from bottom to top of the block (D=0) or from top to bottom of the block (D=1).

O

Overflow Flag

The overflow flag is set during signed arithmetic, e.g. addition or subtraction, when the sign of the destination changes unexpectedly. The actual process sets the overflow flag whenever the carry into the MSB is different from the carry out of the MSB

Segment Registers (CS, DS, SS, and ES)
The code segment register, data segment register, stack segment register, and the extra segment register are special registers related to the Intel segmented memory model and will be discussed later.
1.7. OUR FIRST PROGRAM
The first program that we will write will only add three numbers. This very simple program will clarify most of the basic concepts of assembly language.
We will start with writing our algorithm in English and then moving on to convert it into assembly language.
English Language Version
“Program is an ordered set of instructions for the processor.” Our first program will be instructions manipulating AX and BX in plain English. move 5 to ax move 10 to bx add bx to ax move 15 to bx add bx to ax

Even in this simple reflection of thoughts in English, there are some key things to observe. One is the concept of destination as every instruction has a “to destination” part and there is a source before it as well. For example the second line has a constant 10 as its source and the register BX as its destination. The key point in giving the first program in English is to convey that the concepts of assembly language are simple but fine. Try to understand them considering that all above is everyday English that you know very well and every concept will eventually be applicable to assembly language. Virtual University of Pakistan

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Assembly Language Version
Intel could have made their assembly language exactly identical to our program in plain English but they have abbreviated a lot of symbols to avoid unnecessarily lengthy program when the meaning could be conveyed with less effort. For example Intel has named their move instruction “mov” instead of “move.” Similarly the Intel order of placing source and destination is opposite to what we have used in our English program, just a change of interpretation. So the Intel way of writing things is: operation destination, source operation destination operation source operation The later three variations are for instructions that have one or both of their operands implied or they work on a single or no operand. An implied operand means that it is always in a particular register say the accumulator, and it need not be mentioned in the instruction. Now we attempt to write our program in actual assembly language of the iapx88.
Example 1.1
001
002
003
004
005
006
007
008
009
010

; a program to add
[org 0x0100] mov mov add mov add 001

To start a comment a semicolon is used and the assembler ignores everything else on the same line. Comments must be extensively used in assembly language programs to make them readable.

002

Leave the org directive for now as it will be discussed later.

003

The constant 5 is loaded in one register AX.

004

The constant 10 is loaded in another register BX.

005

Register BX is added to register AX and the result is stored in register AX. Register AX should contain 15 by now.

006

The constant 15 is loaded in the register BX.

007

Register BX is again added to register AX now producing 15+15=30 in the AX register. So the program has computed 5+10+15=30.

008

Vertical spacing must also be used extensively in assembly language programs to separate logical blocks of code.

009-010

The ending lines are related more to the operating system than to assembly language programming. It is a way to inform DOS that our program has terminated so it can display its command prompt again. The computer may reboot or behave improperly if this termination is not present.

mov int three numbers using registers ax, bx, ax, bx, ax, 5
10
bx
15
bx

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

;
;
;
;
;

load first number in ax load second number in bx accumulate sum in ax load third number in bx accumulate sum in ax

; terminate program

Assembler, Linker, and Debugger
We need an assembler to assemble this program and convert this into executable binary code. The assembler that we will use during this course is
“Netwide Assembler” or NASM. It is a free and open source assembler. And the tool that will be most used will be the debugger. We will use a free debugger called “A fullscreen debugger” or AFD. These are the whole set of
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weapons an assembly language programmer needs for any task whatsoever at hand.
To assemble we will give the following command to the processor assuming that our input file is named EX01.ASM. nasm ex01.asm –o ex01.com –l ex01.lst

This will produce two files EX01.COM that is our executable file and
EX01.LST that is a special listing file that we will explore now. The listing file produced for our example above is shown below with comments removed for neatness. 1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

[org 0x0100]
00000000
00000003
00000006
00000008
0000000B

B80500
BB0A00
01D8
BB0F00
01D8

mov mov add mov add

ax, bx, ax, bx, ax,

5
10
bx
15
bx

0000000D B8004C
00000010 CD21

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

The first column in the above listing is offset of the listed instruction in the output file. Next column is the opcode into which our instruction was translated. In this case this opcode is B8. Whenever we move a constant into
AX register the opcode B8 will be used. After it 0500 is appended which is the immediate operand to this instruction. An immediate operand is an operand which is placed directly inside the instruction. Now as the AX register is a word sized register, and one hexadecimal digit takes 4 bits so 4 hexadecimal digits make one word or two bytes. Which of the two bytes should be placed first in the instruction, the least significant or the most significant? Similarly for 32bit numbers either the order can be most significant, less significant, lesser significant, and least significant called the big-endian order used by Motorola and some other companies or it can be least significant, more significant, more significant, and most significant called the little-endian order and is used by Intel. The big-endian have the argument that it is more natural to read and comprehend while the littleendian have the argument that this scheme places the less significant value at a lesser address and more significant value at a higher address.
Because of this the constant 5 in our instruction was converted into 0500 with the least significant byte of 05 first and the most significant byte of 00 afterwards. When read as a word it is 0005 but when written in memory it will become 0500. As the first instruction is three bytes long, the listing file shows that the offset of the next instruction in the file is 3. The opcode BB is for moving a constant into the BX register, and the operand 0A00 is the number 10 in little-endian byte order. Similarly the offsets and opcodes of the remaining instructions are shown in order. The last instruction is placed at offset 0x10 or 16 in decimal. The size of the last instruction is two bytes, so the size of the complete COM file becomes 18 bytes. This can be verified from the directory listing, using the DIR command, that the COM file produced is exactly 18 bytes long.
Now the program is ready to be run inside the debugger. The debugger shows the values of registers, flags, stack, our code, and one or two areas of the system memory as data. Debugger allows us to step our program one instruction at a time and observe its effect on the registers and program data. The details of using the AFD debugger can be seen from the AFD manual. After loading the program in the debugger observe that the first instruction is now at 0100 instead of absolute zero. This is the effect of the org directive at the start of our program. The first instruction of a COM file must be at
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offset 0100 (decimal 255) as a requirement. Also observe that the debugger is showing your program even though it was provided only the COM file and neither of the listing file or the program source. This is because the translation from mnemonic to opcode is reversible and the debugger mapped back from the opcode to the instruction mnemonic. This will become apparent for instructions that have two mnemonics as the debugger might not show the one that was written in the source file.
As a result of program execution either registers or memory will change.
Since our program yet doesn’t touch memory the only changes will be in the registers. Keenly observe the registers AX, BX, and IP change after every instruction. IP will change after every instruction to point to the next instruction while AX will accumulate the result of our addition.
1.8. SEGMENTED MEMORY MODEL
Rationale
In earlier processors like 8080 and 8085 the linear memory model was used to access memory. In linear memory model the whole memory appears like a single array of data. 8080 and 8085 could access a total memory of
64K using the 16 lines of their address bus. When designing iAPX88 the Intel designers wanted to remain compatible with 8080 and 8085 however 64K was too small to continue with, for their new processor. To get the best of both worlds they introduced the segmented memory model in 8088.
There is also a logical argument in favor of a segmented memory model in additional to the issue of compatibility discussed above. We have two logical parts of our program, the code and the data, and actually there is a third part called the program stack as well, but higher level languages make this invisible to us. These three logical parts of a program should appear as three distinct units in memory, but making this division is not possible in the linear memory model. The segmented memory model does allow this distinction. Mechanism
The segmented memory model allows multiple functional windows into the main memory, a code window, a data window etc. The processor sees code from the code window and data from the data window. The size of one window is restricted to 64K. 8085 software fits in just one such window. It sees code, data, and stack from this one window, so downward compatibility is attained.
However the maximum memory iAPX88 can access is 1MB which can be accessed with 20 bits. Compare this with the 64K of 8085 that were accessed using 16 bits. The idea is that the 64K window just discussed can be moved anywhere in the whole 1MB. The four segment registers discussed in the
Intel register architecture are used for this purpose. Therefore four windows can exist at one time. For example one window that is pointed to by the CS register contains the currently executing code.
To understand the concept, consider the windows of a building. We say that a particular window is 3 feet above the floor and another one is 20 feet above the floor. The reference point, the floor is the base of the segment called the datum point in a graph and all measurement is done from that datum point considering it to be zero. So CS holds the zero or the base of code. DS holds the zero of data. Or we can say CS tells how high code from the floor is, and DS tells how high data from the floor is, while SS tells how high the stack is. One extra segment ES can be used if we need to access two distant areas of memory at the same time that both cannot be seen through the same window. ES also has special role in string instructions. ES is used as an extra data segment and cannot be used as an extra code or stack segment. Virtual University of Pakistan

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Revisiting the concept again, like the datum point of a graph, the segment registers tell the start of our window which can be opened anywhere in the megabyte of memory available. The window is of a fixed size of 64KB. Base and offset are the two key variables in a segmented address. Segment tells the base while offset is added into it. The registers IP, SP, BP, SI, DI, and BX all can contain a 16bit offset in them and access memory relative to a segment base.
The IP register cannot work alone. It needs the CS register to open a 64K window in the 1MB memory and then IP works to select code from this window as offsets. IP works only inside this window and cannot go outside of this 64K in any case. If the window is moved i.e. the CS register is changed,
IP will change its behavior accordingly and start selecting from the new window. The IP register always works relatively, relative to the segment base stored in the CS register. IP is a 16bit register capable of accessing only 64K memory so how the whole megabyte can contain code anywhere. Again the same concept is there, it can access 64K at one instance of time. As the base is changed using the CS register, IP can be made to point anywhere is the whole megabyte. The process is illustrated with the following diagram.
Physical Address
00000
Segment
Base
Offset
64K

xxxx0
Paragraph
Boundary

FFFFF
Physical Address Calculation
Now for the whole megabyte we need 20 bits while CS and IP are both
16bit registers. We need a mechanism to make a 20bit number out of the two
16bit numbers. Consider that the segment value is stored as a 20 bit number with the lower four bits zero and the offset value is stored as another 20 bit number with the upper four bits zeroed. The two are added to produce a
20bit absolute address. A carry if generated is dropped without being stored anywhere and the phenomenon is called address wraparound. The process is explained with the help of the following diagram.

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15----------------------------0
16bit Segment Register

0000

Segment Address

15----------------------------0
0000

16bit Logical Address

Offset Address

19-----------------------------------0
20bit Physical Address

Therefore memory is determined by a segment-offset pair and not alone by any one register which will be an ambiguous reference. Every offset register is assigned a default segment register to resolve such ambiguity. For example the program we wrote when loaded into memory had a value of 0100 in IP register and some value say 1DDD in the CS register. Making both 20 bit numbers, the segment base is 1DDD0 and the offset is 00100 and adding them we get the physical memory address of 1DED0 where the opcode
B80500 is placed.
Paragraph Boundaries
As the segment value is a 16bit number and four zero bits are appended to the right to make it a 20bit number, segments can only be defined a 16byte boundaries called paragraph boundaries. The first possible segment value is
0000 meaning a physical base of 00000 and the next possible value of 0001 means a segment base of 00010 or 16 in decimal. Therefore segments can only be defined at 16 byte boundaries.
Overlapping Segments
We can also observe that in the case of our program CS, DS, SS, and ES all had the same value in them. This is called overlapping segments so that we can see the same memory from any window. This is the structure of a
COM file.
Using partially overlapping segments we can produce a number of segment, offset pairs that all access the same memory. For example
1DDD:0100 and IDED:0000 both point to the same physical memory. To test this we can open a data window at 1DED:0000 in the debugger and change the first three bytes to “90” which is the opcode for NOP (no operation). The change is immediately visible in the code window which is pointed to by CS containing 1DDD. Similarly IDCD:0200 also points to the same memory location. Consider this like a portion of wall that three different people on three different floors are seeing through their own windows. One of them painted the wall red; it will be changed for all of them though their perspective is different. It is the same phenomenon occurring here.
The segment, offset pair is called a logical address, while the 20bit address is a physical address which is the real thing. Logical addressing is a mechanism to access the physical memory. As we have seen three different logical addresses accessed the same physical address.

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00000
1DCD0
1DDD0
Offset
0100

1DED0

Offset
0200
64K

64K

FFFFF

EXERCISES
1.
2.

3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.

12.
13.

How the processor uses the address bus, the data bus, and the control bus to communicate with the system memory?
Which of the following are unidirectional and which are bidirectional?
a. Address Bus
b. Data Bus
c. Control Bus
What are registers and what are the specific features of the accumulator, index registers, program counter, and program status word? What is the size of the accumulator of a 64bit processor?
What is the difference between an instruction mnemonic and its opcode? How are instructions classified into groups?
A combination of 8bits is called a byte. What is the name for 4bits and for 16bits?
What is the maximum memory 8088 can access?
List down the 14 registers of the 8088 architecture and briefly describe their uses.
What flags are defined in the 8088 FLAGS register? Describe the function of the zero flag, the carry flag, the sign flag, and the overflow flag. Give the value of the zero flag, the carry flag, the sign flag, and the overflow flag after each of the following instructions if AX is initialized with 0x1254 and BX is initialized with 0x0FFF.
a. add ax, 0xEDAB
b. add ax, bx
c. add bx, 0xF001
What is the difference between little endian and big endian formats?
Which format is used by the Intel 8088 microprocessor?
For each of the following words identify the byte that is stored at lower memory address and the byte that is stored at higher memory address in a little endian computer.
a. 1234
b. ABFC
c. B100
d. B800
15
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14. What are the contents of memory locations 200, 201, 202, and 203 if the word 1234 is stored at offset 200 and the word 5678 is stored at offset 202?
15. What is the offset at which the first executable instruction of a COM file must be placed?
16. Why was segmentation originally introduced in 8088 architecture?
17. Why a segment start cannot start from the physical address 55555.
18. Calculate the physical memory address generated by the following segment offset pairs.
a. 1DDD:0436
b. 1234:7920
c. 74F0:2123
d. 0000:6727
e. FFFF:4336
f. 1080:0100
g. AB01:FFFF
19. What are the first and the last physical memory addresses accessible using the following segment values?
a. 1000
b. 0FFF
c. 1002
d. 0001
e. E000
20. Write instructions that perform the following operations.
a. Copy BL into CL
b. Copy DX into AX
c. Store 0x12 into AL
d. Store 0x1234 into AX
e. Store 0xFFFF into AX
21. Write a program in assembly language that calculates the square of six by adding six to the accumulator six times.

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2
Addressing Modes
2.1. DATA DECLARATION
The first instruction of our first assembly language program was “mov ax,
5.” Here MOV was the opcode; AX was the destination operand, while 5 was the source operand. The value of 5 in this case was stored as part of the instruction encoding. In the opcode B80500, B8 was the opcode and 0500 was the operand stored immediately afterwards. Such an operand is called an immediate operand. It is one of the many types of operands available.
Writing programs using just the immediate operand type is difficult. Every reasonable program needs some data in memory apart from constants.
Constants cannot be changed, i.e. they cannot appear as the destination operand. In fact placing them as destination is meaningless and illegal according to assembly language syntax. Only registers or data placed in memory can be changed. So real data is the one stored in memory, with a very few constants. So there must be a mechanism in assembly language to store and retrieve data from memory.
To declare a part of our program as holding data instead of instructions we need a couple of very basic but special assembler directives. The first directive is “define byte” written as “db.” db somevalue

As a result a cell in memory will be reserved containing the desired value in it and it can be used in a variety of ways. Now we can add variables instead of constants. The other directive is “define word” or “dw” with the same syntax as “db” but reserving a whole word of 16 bits instead of a byte.
There are directives to declare a double or a quad word as well but we will restrict ourselves to byte and word declarations for now. For single byte we use db and for two bytes we use dw.
To refer to this variable later in the program, we need the address occupied by this variable. The assembler is there to help us. We can associate a symbol with any address that we want to remember and use that symbol in the rest of the code. The symbol is there for our own comprehension of code.
The assembler will calculate the address of that symbol using our origin directive and calculating the instruction lengths or data declarations inbetween and replace all references to the symbol with the corresponding address. This is just like variables in a higher level language, where the compiler translates them into addresses; just the process is hidden from the programmer one level further. Such a symbol associated to a point in the program is called a label and is written as the label name followed by a colon.
2.2. DIRECT ADDRESSING
Now we will rewrite our first program such that the numbers 5, 10, and 15 are stored as memory variables instead of constants and we access them from there.
Example 2.1
001
002
003

; a program to add three numbers using memory variables
[org 0x0100] mov ax, [num1]
; load first number in ax

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Course Code: CS401

mov add mov add mov

;
;
;
;
;

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

dw dw dw dw num1: num2: num3: num4: bx, [num2] ax, bx bx, [num3] ax, bx
[num4], ax

load second number in bx accumulate sum in ax load third number in bx accumulate sum in ax store sum in num4

5
10
15
0

002

Originate our program at 0100. The first executable instruction should be placed at this offset.

003

The source operand is changed from constant 5 to [num1]. The bracket is signaling that the operand is placed in memory at address num1. The value 5 will be loaded in ax even though we did not specified it in our program code, rather the value will be picked from memory. The instruction should be read as “read the contents of memory location num1 in the ax register.” The label num1 is a symbol for us but an address for the processor while the conversion is done by the assembler.

013

The label num1 is defined as a word and the assembler is requested to place 5 in that memory location. The colon signals that num1 is a label and not an instruction.

Using the same process to assemble as discussed before we examine the listing file generated as a result with comments removed.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16

[org 0x0100]
00000000
00000003
00000007
00000009
0000000D
0000000F

A1[1700]
8B1E[1900]
01D8
8B1E[1B00]
01D8
A3[1D00]

mov mov add mov add mov mov int 00000012 B8004C
00000015 CD21
00000017
00000019
0000001B
0000001D

0500
0A00
0F00
0000

num1: num2: num3: num4: ax, [num1] bx, [num2] ax, bx bx, [num3] ax, bx
[num4], ax ax, 0x4c00
0x21

dw dw dw dw 5
10
15
0

The first instruction of our program has changed from B80500 to A11700.
The opcode B8 is used to move constants into AX, while the opcode A1 is used when moving data into AX from memory. The immediate operand to our new instruction is 1700 or as a word 0017 (23 decimal) and from the bottom of the listing file we can observe that this is the offset of num1. The assembler has calculated the offset of num1 and used it to replace references to num1 in the whole program. Also the value 0500 can be seen at offset
0017 in the file. We can say contents of memory location 0017 are 0005 as a word. Similarly num2, num3, and num4 are placed at 0019, 001B, and
001D addresses.
When the program is loaded in the debugger, it is loaded at offset 0100, which displaces all memory accesses in our program. The instruction
A11700 is changed to A11701 meaning that our variable is now placed at
0117 offset. The instruction is shown as mov ax, [0117]. Also the data window can be used to verify that offset 0117 contains the number 0005.
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Execute the program step by step and examine how the memory is read and the registers are updated, how the instruction pointer moves forward, and how the result is saved back in memory. Also observe inside the debugger code window below the code for termination, that the debugger is interpreting our data as code and showing it as some meaningless instructions. This is because the debugger sees everything as code in the code window and cannot differentiate our declared data from opcodes. It is our responsibility that we terminate execution before our data is executed as code. Also observe that our naming of num1, num2, num3, and num4 is no longer there inside the debugger. The debugger is only showing the numbers
0117, 0119, 011B, and 011D. Our numerical machine can only work with numbers. We used symbols for our ease to label or tag certain positions in our program. The assembler converts these symbols into the appropriate numbers automatically. Also observe that the effect of “dw” is to place 5 in two bytes as 0005. Had we used “db” this would have been stored as 05 in one byte.
Given the fact that the assembler knows only numbers we can write the same program using a single label. As we know that num2 is two ahead of num1, we can use num1+2 instead of num2 and let the assembler calculate the sum during assembly process.
Example 2.2
001
002
003
004
005
006
007
008
009
010
011
012
013
014
015
016

; a program to add
[org 0x0100] mov mov add mov add mov

three numbers accessed using a single label

004

The second number is read from num1+2. Similarly the third number is read from num1+4 and the result is accessed at num1+6.

013-016

The labels num2, num3, and num4 are removed and the data there will be accessed with reference to num1.

;
;
;
;
;
;

mov int num1:

ax, [num1] bx, [num1+2] ax, bx bx, [num1+4] ax, bx
[num1+6], ax

load first number in ax load second number in bx accumulate sum in ax load third number in bx accumulate sum in ax store sum at num1+6

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

dw dw dw dw 5
10
15
0

Every location is accessed with reference to num1 in this example. The expression “num1+2” comprises of constants only and can be evaluated at the time of assembly. There are no variables involved in this expression. As we open the program inside the debugger we see a verbatim copy of the previous program. There is no difference at all since the assembler catered for the differences during assembly. It calculated 0117+2=0119 while in the previous it directly knew from the value of num2 that it has to write 0119, but the end result is a ditto copy of the previous execution.
Another way to declare the above data and produce exactly same results is shown in the following example.
Example 2.3
001
002
003
004

; a program to add three numbers accessed using a single label
[org 0x0100] mov ax, [num1]
; load first number in ax mov bx, [num1+2]
; load second number in bx

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add mov add mov ;
;
;
;

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

dw

num1:

ax, bx bx, [num1+4] ax, bx
[num1+6], ax

accumulate sum in ax load third number in bx accumulate sum in ax store sum at num1+6

5, 10, 15, 0

As we do not need to place labels on individual variables we can save space and declare all data on a single line separated by commas.
This declaration will declare four words in consecutive memory locations while the address of first one is num1.

013

The method used to access memory in the above examples is called direct addressing. In direct addressing the memory address is fixed and is given in the instruction. The actual data used is placed in memory and now that data can be used as the destination operand as well. Also the source and destination operands must have the same size. For example a word defined memory is read in a word sized register. A last observation is that the data
0500 in memory was corrected to 0005 when read in a register. So registers contain data in proper order as a word.
A last variation using direct addressing shows that we can directly add a memory variable and a register instead of adding a register into another that we were doing till now.
Example 2.4
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09
10
11
12
13

; a program to add
[org 0x0100] mov mov mov add mov add

three numbers directly in memory
;
;
;
;
;
;

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

dw

num1:

ax, [num1]
[num1+6], ax ax, [num1+2]
[num1+6], ax ax, [num1+4]
[num1+6], ax

load first number in ax store first number in result load second number in ax add second number to result load third number in ax add third number to result

5, 10, 15, 0

We generate the following listing file as a result of the assembly process described previously. Comments are again removed.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13

[org 0x0100]
00000000
00000003
00000006
00000009
0000000D
00000010

A1[1900]
A3[1F00]
A1[1B00]
0106[1F00]
A1[1D00]
0106[1F00]

mov mov mov add mov add mov int 00000014 B8004C
00000017 CD21
00000019 05000A000F000000

num1:

ax, [num1]
[num1+6], ax ax, [num1+2]
[num1+6], ax ax, [num1+4]
[num1+6], ax ax, 0x4c00
0x21

dw

5, 10, 15, 0

The opcode of add is changed because the destination is now a memory location instead of a register. No other significant change is seen in the listing file. Inside the debugger we observe that few opcodes are longer now and the location num1 is now translating to 0119 instead of 0117. This is done automatically by the assembler as a result of using labels instead of
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hard coding addresses. During execution we observe that the word data as it is read into a register is read in correct order. The significant change in this example is that the destination of addition is memory. Method to access memory is direct addressing, whether it is the MOV instruction or the ADD instruction. The first two instructions of the last program read a number into AX and placed it at another memory location. A quick thought reveals that the following might be a possible single instruction to replace the couple. mov [num1+6], [num1]

; ILLEGAL

However this form is illegal and not allowed on the Intel architecture. None of the general operations of mov add, sub etc. allow moving data from memory to memory. Only register to register, register to memory, memory to register, constant to memory, and constant to register operations are allowed. The other register to constant, memory to constant, and memory to memory are all disallowed. Only string instructions allow moving data from memory to memory and will be discussed in detail later. As a rule one instruction can have at most one operand in brackets, otherwise assembler will give an error.
2.3. SIZE MISMATCH ERRORS
If we change the directive in the last example from DW to DB, the program will still assemble and debug without errors, however the results will not be the same as expected. When the first operand is read 0A05 will be read in the register which was actually two operands place in consecutive byte memory locations. The second number will be read as 000F which is the zero byte of num4 appended to the 15 of num3. The third number will be junk depending on the current state of the machine. According to our data declaration the third number should be at 0114 but it is accessed at 011D calculated with word offsets. This is a logical error of the program. To keep the declarations and their access synchronized is the responsibility of the programmer and not the assembler. The assembler allows the programmer to do everything he wants to do, and that can possibly run on the processor. The assembler only keeps us from writing illegal instructions which the processor cannot execute. This is the difference between a syntax error and a logic error. So the assembler and debugger have both done what we asked them to do but the programmer asked them to do the wrong chore.
The programmer is responsible for accessing the data as word if it was declared as a word and accessing it as a byte if it was declared as a byte. The word case is shown in lot of previous examples. If however the intent is to treat it as a byte the following code shows the appropriate way.
Example 2.5
001
002
003
004
005
006
007
008
009
010
011
012
013

; a program to add
[org 0x0100] mov mov add mov add mov

three numbers using byte variables

003

The number is read in AL register which is a byte register since the memory location read is also of byte size.

005

The second number is now placed at num1+1 instead of num1+2 because of byte offsets.

;
;
;
;
;
;

mov int num1:

al, [num1] bl, [num1+1] al, bl bl, [num1+2] al, bl
[num1+3], al

load first number in al load second number in bl accumulate sum in al load third number in bl accumulate sum in al store sum at num1+3

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

db

5, 10, 15, 0

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To declare data db is used instead of dw so that each data declared occupies one byte only.

Inside the debugger we observe that the AL register takes appropriate values and the sum is calculated and stored in num1+3. This time there is no alignment or synchronization error. The key thing to understand here is that the processor does not match defines to accesses. It is the programmer’s responsibility. In general assembly language gives a lot of power to the programmer but power comes with responsibility. Assembly language programming is not a difficult task but a responsible one.
In the above examples, the processor knew the size of the data movement operation from the size of the register involved, for example in “mov ax,
[num1]” memory can be accessed as byte or as word, it has no hard and fast size, but the AX register tells that this operation has to be a word operation.
Similarly in “mov al, [num1]” the AL register tells that this operation has to be a byte operation. However in “mov ax, bl” the AX register tells that the operation has to be a word operation while BL tells that this has to be a byte operation. The assembler will declare that this is an illegal instruction. A 5Kg bag cannot fit inside a 1Kg bag and according to Intel a 1Kg cannot also fit in a 5Kg bag. They must match in size. The instruction “mov [num1], [num2]” is illegal as previously discussed not because of data movement size but because memory to memory moves are not allowed at all.
The instruction “mov [num1], 5” is legal but there is no way for the processor to know the data movement size in this operation. The variable num1 can be treated as a byte or as a word and similarly 5 can be treated as a byte or as a word. Such instructions are declared ambiguous by the assembler. The assembler has no way to guess the intent of the programmer as it previously did using the size of the register involved but there is no register involved this time. And memory is a linear array and label is an address in it. There is no size associated with a label. Therefore to resolve its ambiguity we clearly tell our intent to the assembler in one of the following ways. mov mov byte [num1], 5 word [num1], 5

2.4. REGISTER INDIRECT ADDRESSING
We have done very elementary data access till now. Assume that the numbers we had were 100 and not just three. This way of adding them will cost us 200 instructions. There must be some method to do a task repeatedly on data placed in consecutive memory cells. The key to this is the need for some register that can hold the address of data. So that we can change the address to access some other cell of memory using the same instruction. In direct addressing mode the memory cell accessed was fixed inside the instruction. There is another method in which the address can be placed in a register so that it can be changed. For the following example we will take 10 instead of 100 numbers but the algorithm is extensible to any size.
There are four registers in iAPX88 architecture that can hold address of data and they are BX, BP, SI, and DI. There are minute differences in their working which will be discussed later. For the current example, we will use the BX register and we will take just three numbers and extend the concept with more numbers in later examples.
Example 2.6
001
002
003
004
005

; a program to add
[org 0x100] mov mov add three numbers using indirect addressing bx, num1 ax, [bx] bx, 2

; point bx to first number
; load first number in ax
; advance bx to second number

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006
007
008
009
010
011
012
013
014
015

Course Code: CS401

add add add add mov

;
;
;
;
;

mov int num1:

ax, [bx] bx, 2 ax, [bx] bx, 2
[bx], ax

add second number to ax advance bx to third number add third number to ax advance bx to result store sum at num1+6

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

dw

5, 10, 15, 0

003

Observe that no square brackets around num1 are used this time.
The address is loaded in bx and not the contents. Value of num1 is
0005 and the address is 0117. So BX will now contain 0117.

004

Brackets are now used around BX. In iapx88 architecture brackets can be used around BX, BP, SI, and DI only. In iapx386 more registers are allowed. The instruction will be read as “move into ax the contents of the memory location whose address is in bx.” Now since bx contains the address of num1 the contents of num1 are transferred to the ax register. Without square brackets the meaning of the instruction would have been totally different.

005

This instruction is changing the address. Since we have words not bytes, we add two to bx so that it points to the next word in memory.
BX now contains 0119 the address of the second word in memory.
This was the mechanism to change addresses that we needed.

Inside the debugger we observe that the first instruction is “mov bx, 011C.”
A constant is moved into BX. This is because we did not use the square brackets around “num1.” The address of “num1” has moved to 011C because the code size has changed due to changed instructions. In the second instruction BX points to 011C and the value read in AX is 0005 which can be verified from the data window. After the addition BX points to 011E containing 000A, our next word, and so on. This way the BX register points to our words one after another and we can add them using the same instruction “mov ax, [bx]” without fixing the address of our data in the instructions. We can also subtract from BX to point to previous cells. The address to be accessed is now in total program control.
One thing that we needed in our problem to add hundred numbers was the capability to change address. The second thing we need is a way to repeat the same instruction and a way to know that the repetition is done a 100 times, a terminal condition for the repetition. For the task we are introducing two new instructions that you should read and understand as simple English language concepts. For simplicity only 10 numbers are added in this example. The algorithm is extensible to any size.
Example 2.7
001
002
003
004
005
006
007
008
009
010
011
012
013
014
015
016
017

; a program to add
[org 0x0100] mov mov mov ten numbers bx, num1 cx, 10 ax, 0

; point bx to first number
; load count of numbers in cx
; initialize sum to zero

l1:

add add sub jnz ax, [bx] bx, 2 cx, 1 l1 ;
;
;
;

mov

[total], ax

; write back sum in memory

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

dw

10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50

num1:

add number advance bx numbers to if numbers

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to ax to next number be added reduced remain add next

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dw

Course Code: CS401

018

total:

0

006

Labels can be used on code as well. Just like data labels they remember the address at which they are used. The assembler does not differentiate between code labels and data labels. The programmer is responsible for using a data label as data and a code label as code. The label l1 in this case is the address of the following instruction. 009

SUB is the counterpart to ADD with the same rules as that of the
ADD instruction.

010

JNZ stands for “jump if not zero.” NZ is the condition in this instruction. So the instruction is read as “jump to the location l1 if the zero flag is not set.” And revisiting the zero flag definition “the zero flag is set if the last mathematical or logical operation has produced a zero in its destination.” For example “mov ax, 0” will not set the zero flag as it is not a mathematical or logical instruction.
However subtraction and addition will set it. Also it is set even when the destination is not a register. Now consider the subtraction immediately preceding it. If the CX register becomes zero as a result of this subtraction the zero flag will be set and the jump will be taken. And jump to l1, the processor needs to be told each and everything and the destination is an important part of every jump.
Just like when we ask someone to go, we mention go to this market or that house. The processor is much more logical than us and needs the destination in every instruction that asks it to go somewhere. The processor will load l1 in the IP register and resume execution from there. The processor will blindly go to the label we mention even if it contains data and not code.

The CX register is used as a counter in this example, BX contains the changing address, while AX accumulates the result. We have formed a loop in assembly language that executes until its condition remains true. Inside the debugger we can observe that the subtract instruction clears the zero flag the first nine times and sets it on the tenth time. While the jump instruction moves execution to address l1 the first nine times and to the following line the tenth time. The jump instruction breaks program flow.
The JNZ instruction is from the program control group and is a conditional jump, meaning that if the condition NZ is true (ZF=0) it will jump to the address mentioned and otherwise it will progress to the next instruction. It is a selection between two paths. If the condition is true go right and otherwise go left. Or we can say if the weather is hot, go this way, and if it is cold, go this way. Conditional jump is the most important instruction, as it gives the processor decision making capability, so it must be given a careful thought.
Some processors call it branch, probably a more logical name for it, however the functionality is same. Intel chose to name it “jump.”
An important thing in the above example is that a register is used to reference memory so this form of access is called register indirect memory access. We used the BX register for it and the B in BX and BP stands for base therefore we call register indirect memory access using BX or BP,
“based addressing.” Similarly when SI or DI is used we name the method
“indexed addressing.” They have the same functionality, with minor differences because of which the two are called base and index. The differences will be explained later, however for the above example SI or DI could be used as well, but we would name it indexed addressing instead of based addressing.

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2.5. REGISTER + OFFSET ADDRESSING
Direct addressing and indirect addressing using a single register are two basic forms of memory access. Another possibility is to use different combinations of direct and indirect references. In the above example we used
BX to access different array elements which were placed consecutively in memory like an array. We can also place in BX only the array index and not the exact address and form the exact address when we are going to access the actual memory. This way the same register can be used for accessing different arrays and also the register can be used for index comparison like the following example does.
Example 2.8
001
002
003
004
005
006
007
008
009
010
011
012
013
014
015
016
017
018

; a program to add
[org 0x0100] mov mov mov ten numbers using register + offset addressing bx, 0 cx, 10 ax, 0

; initialize array index to zero
; load count of numbers in cx
; initialize sum to zero

l1:

add add sub jnz ax, [num1+bx] bx, 2 cx, 1 l1 ;
;
;
;

mov

[total], ax

; write back sum in memory

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

dw dw 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
0

003

This time BX is initialized to zero instead of array base

007

The format of memory access has changed. The array base is added to BX containing array index at the time of memory access.

008

As the array is of words, BX jumps in steps of two, i.e. 0, 2, 4.
Higher level languages do appropriate incrementing themselves and we always use sequential array indexes. However in assembly language we always calculate in bytes and therefore we need to take care of the size of one array element which in this case is two.

num1: total: add number advance bx numbers to if numbers

to ax to next index be added reduced remain add next

Inside the debugger we observe that the memory access instruction is shown as “mov ax, [011F+bx]” and the actual memory accessed is the one whose address is the sum of 011F and the value contained in the BX register. This form of access is of the register indirect family and is called base + offset or index + offset depending on whether BX or BP is used or SI or DI is used.
2.6. SEGMENT ASSOCIATION
All the addressing mechanisms in iAPX88 return a number called effective address. For example in base + offset addressing, neither the base nor the offset alone tells the desired cell in memory to be accessed. It is only after the addition is done that the processor knows which cell to be accessed. This number which came as the result of addition is called the effective address.
But the effective address is just an offset and is meaningless without a segment. Only after the segment is known, we can form the physical address that is needed to access a memory cell.
We discussed the segmented memory model of iAPX88 in reasonable detail at the end of previous chapter. However during the discussion of addressing modes we have not seen the effect of segments. Segmentation is there and it’s all happening relative to a segment base. We saw DS, CS, SS, and ES
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inside the debugger. Everything is relative to its segment base, even though we have not explicitly explained its functionality. An offset alone is not complete without a segment. As previously discussed there is a default segment associated to every register which accesses memory. For example
CS is associated to IP by default; rather it is tied with it. It cannot access memory in any other segment.
In case of data, there is a bit relaxation and nothing is tied. Rather there is a default association which can be overridden. In the case of register indirect memory access, if the register used is one of SI, DI, or BX the default segment is DS. If however the register used in BP the default segment used is
SS. The stack segment has a very critical and fine use and there is a reason why BP is attached to SS by default. However these will be discussed in detail in the chapter on stack. IP is tied to CS while SP is tied to SS. The association of these registers cannot be changed; they are locked with no option. Others are not locked and can be changed.
To override the association for one instruction of one of the registers BX,
BP, SI or DI, we use the segment override prefix. For example “mov ax,
[cs:bx]” associates BX with CS for this one instruction. For the next instruction the default association will come back to act. The processor places a special byte before the instruction called a prefix, just like prefixes and suffixes in English language. No prefix is needed or placed for default association. For example for CS the byte 2E is placed and for ES the byte 26 is placed. Opcode has not changed, but the prefix byte has modified the default association to association with the desired segment register for this one instruction.
In all our examples, we never declared a segment or used it explicitly, but everything seemed to work fine. The important thing to note is that CS, DS,
SS, and ES all had the same value. The value itself is not important but the fact that all had the same value is important. All four segment windows exactly overlap. Whatever segment register we use the same physical memory will be accessed. That is why everything was working without the mention of a single segment register. This is the formation of COM files in IBM PC. A single segment contains code, data, and the stack. This format is operating system dependant, in our case defined by DOS. And our operating system defines the format of COM files such that all segments have the same value.
Thus the only meaningful thing that remains is the offset.
For example if BX=0100, SI=0200, and CS=1000 and the memory access under consideration is [cs:bx+si+0x0700], the effective address formed is bx+si+0700 = 0100 + 0200 + 0700 = 0A00. Now multiplying the segment value by 16 makes it 10000 and adding the effective address 00A00 forms the physical address 10A00.
2.7. ADDRESS WRAPAROUND
There are two types of wraparounds. One is within a single segment and the other is inside the whole physical memory. Segment wraparound occurs when during the effective address calculation a carry is generated. This carry is dropped giving the effect that when we try to access beyond the segment limit, we are actually wrapped around to the first cell in the segment. For example if BX=9100, DS=1500 and the access is [bx+0x7000] we form the effective address 9100 + 7000 = 10100. The carry generated is dropped forming the actual effective address of 0100. Just like a circle when we reached the end we started again from the beginning. An arc at 370 degrees is the same as an arc at 10 degrees. We tried to cross the segment boundary and it pushed us back to the start. This is called segment wraparound. The physical address in the above example will be 15100.
The same can also happen at the time of physical address calculation. For example BX=0100, DS=FFF0 and the access under consideration is
[bx+0x0100]. The effective address will be 0200 and the physical address will
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be 100100. This is a 21bit answer and cannot be sent on the address bus which is 20 bits wide. The carry is dropped and just like the segment wraparound our physical memory has wrapped around at its very top. When we tried to access beyond limits the actual access is made at the very start.
This second wraparound is a bit different in newer processor with more address lines but that will be explained in later chapters.
2.8. ADDRESSING MODES SUMMARY
The iAPX88 processor supports seven modes of memory access. Remember that immediate is not an addressing mode but an operand type. Operands can be immediate, register, or memory. If the operand is memory one of the seven addressing modes will be used to access it. The memory access mechanisms can also be written in the general form “base + index + offset” and we can define the possible addressing modes by saying that any one, two, or none can be skipped from the general form to form a legal memory access. There are a few common mistakes done in forming a valid memory access.
Part of a register cannot be used to access memory. Like BX is allowed to hold an address but BL or BH are not. Address is 16bit and must be contained in a 16bit register. BX-SI is not possible. The only thing that we can do is addition of a base register with an index register. Any other operation is disallowed. BS+BP and SI+DI are both disallowed as we cannot have two base or two index registers in one memory access. One has to be a base register and the other has to be an index register and that is the reason of naming them differently.
Direct
A fixed offset is given in brackets and the memory at that offset is accessed. For example “mov [1234], ax” stores the contents of the AX registers in two bytes starting at address 1234 in the current data segment.
The instruction “mov [1234], al” stores the contents of the AL register in the byte at offset 1234.
Based Register Indirect
A base register is used in brackets and the actual address accessed depends on the value contained in that register. For example “mov [bx], ax” moves the two byte contents of the AX register to the address contained in the BX register in the current data segment. The instruction “mov [bp], al” moves the one byte content of the AL register to the address contained in the
BP register in the current stack segment.
Indexed Register Indirect
An index register is used in brackets and the actual address accessed depends on the value contained in that register. For example “mov [si], ax” moves the contents of the AX register to the word starting at address contained in SI in the current data segment. The instruction “mov [di], ax” moves the word contained in AX to the offset stored in DI in the current data segment. Based Register Indirect + Offset
A base register is used with a constant offset in this addressing mode. The value contained in the base register is added with the constant offset to get the effective address. For example “mov [bx+300], ax” stores the word contained in AX at the offset attained by adding 300 to BX in the current data segment. The instruction “mov [bp+300], ax” stores the word in AX to the offset attained by adding 300 to BP in the current stack segment.
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Indexed Register Indirect + Offset
An index register is used with a constant offset in this addressing mode.
The value contained in the index register is added with the constant offset to get the effective address. For example “mov [si+300], ax” moves the word contained in AX to the offset attained by adding 300 to SI in the current data segment and the instruction “mov [di+300], al” moves the byte contained in
AL to the offset attained by adding 300 to DI in the current data segment.
Base + Index
One base and one index register is used in this addressing mode. The value of the base register and the index register are added together to get the effective address. For example “mov [bx+si], ax” moves the word contained in the AX register to offset attained by adding BX and SI in the current data segment. The instruction “mov [bp+di], al” moves the byte contained in AL to the offset attained by adding BP and DI in the current stack segment.
Observe that the default segment is based on the base register and not on the index register. This is why base registers and index registers are named separately. Other examples are “mov [bx+di], ax” and “mov [bp+si], ax.” This method can be used to access a two dimensional array such that one dimension is in a base register and the other is in an index register.
Base + Index + Offset
This is the most complex addressing method and is relatively infrequently used. A base register, an index register, and a constant offset are all used in this addressing mode. The values of the base register, the index register, and the constant offset are all added together to get the effective address. For example “mov [bx+si+300], ax” moves the word contents of the AX register to the word in memory starting at offset attained by adding BX, SI, and 300 in the current data segment. Default segment association is again based on the base register. It might be used with the array base of a two dimensional array as the constant offset, one dimension in the base register and the other in the index register. This way all calculation of location of the desired element has been delegated to the processor.
EXERCISES
1.
2.
3.
4.

5.

6.

What is a label and how does the assembler differentiates between code labels and data labels?
List the seven addressing modes available in the 8088 architecture.
Differentiate between effective address and physical address.
What is the effective address generated by the following instructions? Every instruction is independent of others. Initially
BX=0x0100, num1=0x1001, [num1]=0x0000, and SI=0x0100
a. mov ax, [bx+12]
b. mov ax, [bx+num1]
c. mov ax, [num1+bx]
d. mov ax, [bx+si]
What is the effective address generated by the following combinations if they are valid. If not give reason. Initially
BX=0x0100, SI=0x0010, DI=0x0001, BP=0x0200, and SP=0xFFFF
a. bx-si
b. bx-bp
c. bx+10
d. bx-10
e. bx+sp
f. bx+di
Identify the problems in the following instructions and correct them by replacing them with one or two instruction having the same effect. 28
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7.
8.
9.

Course Code: CS401

a. mov [02], [ 22]
b. mov [wordvar], 20
c. mov bx, al
d. mov ax, [si+di+100]

What is the function of segment override prefix and what changes it brings to the opcode?
What are the two types of address wraparound? What physical address is accessed with [BX+SI] if FFFF is loaded in
BX, SI, and DS.
Write instructions to do the following.

a. Copy contents of memory location with offset 0025 in the current data segment into AX.
b. Copy AX into memory location with offset 0FFF in the current data segment.
c. Move contents of memory location with offset 0010 to memory location with offset 002F in the current data segment. 10. Write a program to calculate the square of 20 by using a loop that adds 20 to the accumulator 20 times.

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3
Branching
3.1. COMPARISON AND CONDITIONS
Conditional jump was introduced in the last chapter to loop for the addition of a fixed number of array elements. The jump was based on the zero flag. There are many other conditions possible in a program. For example an operand can be greater than another operand or it can be smaller. We use comparisons and boolean expressions extensively in higher level languages. They must be available is some form in assembly language, otherwise they could not possibly be made available in a higher level language. In fact they are available in a very fine and purified form.
The basic root instruction for all comparisons is CMP standing for compare. The operation of CMP is to subtract the source operand from the destination operand, updating the flags without changing either the source or the destination. CMP is one of the key instructions as it introduces the capability of conditional routing in the processor.
A closer thought reveals that with subtraction we can check many different conditions. For example if a larger number is subtracted from a smaller number then borrow is needed. The carry flag plays the role of borrow during the subtraction operation. And in this condition the carry flag will be set. If two equal numbers are subtracted the answer is zero and the zero flag will be set. Every significant relation between the destination and source is evident from the sign flag, carry flag, zero flag, and the overflow flag. CMP is meaningless without a conditional jump immediately following it.
Another important distinction at this point is the difference between signed and unsigned numbers. In unsigned numbers only the magnitude of the number is important, whereas in signed numbers both the magnitude and the sign are important. For example -2 is greater than -3 but 2 is smaller than 3. The sign has affected our comparisons.
Inside the computer signed numbers are represented in two’s complement notation. In essence a number in this representation is still a number, just that now our interpretation of this number will be signed. Whether we use jump above and below or we use jump greater or less will convey our intention to the processor. The jump above and greater operations at first sight seem to be doing the same operation, and similarly below and less operations seem to be similar. However for signed numbers JG and JL will work properly and for unsigned JA and JB will work properly and not the other way around.
It is important to note that at the time of comparison, the intent of the programmer to treat the numbers as signed or unsigned is not clear. The subtraction in CMP is a normal subtraction. It is only after the comparison, during the conditional jump operation, that the intent is conveyed. At that time with a specific combination of flags checked the intent is satisfied.
For example a number 2 is represented in a word as 0002 while the number -2 is represented as FFFE. In a byte they would be represented as 02 and FE. Now both have the same magnitude however the different sign has caused very different representation in two’s complement form. Now if the intent is to use FFFE or decimal 65534 then the same data would be placed in the word as in case of -2. In fact if -2 and 65534 are compared the processor will set the zero flag signaling that they are exactly equal. As regards an unsigned comparison the number 65534 is much greater than 2.

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So if a JA is taken after comparing -2 in the destination with 2 in the source the jump will be taken. If however JG is used after the same comparison the jump will not be taken as it will consider the sign and with the sign -2 is smaller than 2. The key idea is that -2 and 65534 were both stored in memory in the same form. It was the interpretation that treated it as a signed or as an unsigned number.
The unsigned comparisons see the numbers as 0 being the smallest and
65535 being the largest with the order that 0 < 1 < 2 … < 65535. The signed comparisons see the number -32768 which has the same memory representation as 32768 as the smallest number and 32767 as the largest with the order -32768 < -32767 < … < -1 < 0 < 1 < 2 < … < 32767. All the negative numbers have the same representation as an unsigned number in the range 32768 … 65535 however the signed interpretation of the signed comparisons makes them be treated as negative numbers smaller than zero.
All meaningful situations both for signed and unsigned numbers than occur after a comparison are detailed in the following table.
DEST = SRC

ZF = 1

When the source is subtracted from the destination and both are equal the result is zero and therefore the zero flag is set. This works for both signed and unsigned numbers.

UDEST < USRC

CF = 1

When an unsigned source is subtracted from an unsigned destination and the destination is smaller, borrow is needed which sets the carry flag.

UDEST ≤ USRC

ZF = 1 OR CF = 1

If the zero flag is set, it means that the source and destination are equal and if the carry flag is set it means a borrow was needed in the subtraction and therefore the destination is smaller.

UDEST ≥ USRC

CF = 0

When an unsigned source is subtracted from an unsigned destination no borrow will be needed either when the operands are equal or when the destination is greater than the source.

UDEST > USRC

ZF = 0 AND CF = 0

The unsigned source and destination are not equal if the zero flag is not set and the destination is not smaller since no borrow was taken. Therefore the destination is greater than the source.

SDEST < SSRC

SF ≠ OF

When a signed source is subtracted from a signed destination and the answer is negative with no overflow than the destination is smaller than the source. If however there is an overflow meaning that the sign has changed unexpectedly, the meanings are reversed and a

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positive number signals that the destination is smaller.
SDEST ≤ SSRC

ZF = 1 OR SF ≠ OF

If the zero flag is set, it means that the source and destination are equal and if the sign and overflow flags differ it means that the destination is smaller as described above.

SDEST ≥ SSRC

SF = OF

When a signed source is subtracted from a signed destination and the answer is positive with no overflow than the destination is greater than the source. When an overflow is there signaling that sign has changed unexpectedly, we interpret a negative answer as the signal that the destination is greater.

SDEST > SSRC

ZF = 0 AND SF = OF

If the zero flag is not set, it means that the signed operands are not equal and if the sign and overflow match in addition to this it means that the destination is greater than the source.

3.2. CONDITIONAL JUMPS
For every interesting or meaningful situation of flags, a conditional jump is there. For example JZ and JNZ check the zero flag. If in a comparison both operands are same, the result of subtraction will be zero and the zero flag will be set. Thus JZ and JNZ can be used to test equality. That is why there are renamed versions JE and JNE read as jump if equal or jump if not equal.
They seem more logical in writing but mean exactly the same thing with the same opcode. Many jumps are renamed with two or three names for the same jump, so that the appropriate logic can be conveyed in assembly language programs. This renaming is done by Intel and is a standard for iAPX88. JC and JNC test the carry flag. For example we may need to test whether there was an overflow in the last unsigned addition or subtraction.
Carry flag will also be set if two unsigned numbers are subtracted and the first is smaller than the second. Therefore the renamed versions JB, JNAE, and JNB, JAE are there standing for jump if below, jump if not above or equal, jump if not below, and jump if above or equal respectively. The operation of all jumps can be seen from the following table.
JC
JB
JNAE

Jump if carry
Jump if below
Jump if not above or equal

CF = 1

This jump is taken if the last arithmetic operation generated a carry or required a borrow. After a CMP it is taken if the unsigned source is smaller than the unsigned destination.

JNC
JNB
JAE

Jump if not carry
Jump if not below
Jump if above or equal

CF = 0

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generated a carry or required a borrow.
After a CMP it is taken if the unsigned source is larger or equal to the unsigned destination. JE
JZ

Jump if equal
Jump if zero

ZF = 1

This jump is taken if the last arithmetic operation produced a zero in its destination.
After a CMP it is taken if both operands were equal. JNE
JNZ

Jump if not equal
Jump if not zero

ZF = 0

This jump is taken if the last arithmetic operation did not produce a zero in its destination. After a
CMP it is taken if both operands were different. JA
JNBE

Jump if above
Jump if not below or equal

ZF = 0 AND
CF = 0

This jump is taken after a CMP if the unsigned source is larger than the unsigned destination.

JNA
JBE

Jump if not above
Jump if not below or equal

ZF = 1 OR
CF = 1

This jump is taken after a CMP if the unsigned source is smaller than or equal to the unsigned destination.

JL
JNGE

Jump if less
Jump if not greater or equal

SF ≠ OF

This jump is taken after a CMP if the signed source is smaller than the signed destination.

JNL
JGE

Jump if not less
Jump if greater or equal

SF = OF

This jump is taken after a CMP if the signed source is larger than or equal to the signed destination.

JG
JNLE

Jump if greater
Jump if not less or equal

ZF = 0 AND
SF = OF

This jump is taken after a CMP if the signed source is larger than the signed destination.

JNG
JLE

Jump if not greater
Jump if less or equal

ZF = 1 OR
SF ≠ OF

This jump is taken after a CMP if the signed source is smaller than or equal to the signed destination.

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JO

Jump if overflow.

OF = 1

This jump is taken if the last arithmetic operation changed the sign unexpectedly.

JNO

Jump if not overflow

OF = 0

This jump is taken if the last arithmetic operation did not change the sign unexpectedly. JS

Jump if sign

SF = 1

This jump is taken if the last arithmetic operation produced a negative number in its destination. JNS

Jump if not sign

SF = 0

This jump is taken if the last arithmetic operation produced a positive number in its destination. JP
JPE

Jump if parity
Jump if even parity

PF = 1

This jump is taken if the last arithmetic operation produced a number in its destination that has even parity.

JNP
JPO

Jump if not parity
Jump if odd parity

PF = 0

This jump is taken if the last arithmetic operation produced a number in its destination that has odd parity.

JCXZ

Jump if CX is zero

CX = 0

This jump is taken if the CX register is zero.

The CMP instruction sets the flags reflecting the relation of the destination to the source. This is important as when we say jump if above, then what is above what. The destination is above the source or the source is above the destination. The JA and JB instructions are related to unsigned numbers. That is our interpretation for the destination and source operands is unsigned. The 16th bit holds data and not the sign. In the JL and JG instructions standing for jump if lower and jump if greater respectively, the interpretation is signed.
The 16th bit holds the sign and not the data. The difference between them will be made clear as an elaborate example will be given to explain the difference. One jump is special that it is not dependant on any flag. It is JCXZ, jump if the CS register is zero. This is because of the special treatment of the CX register as a counter. This jump is regardless of the zero flag. There is no counterpart or not form of this instruction.
The adding numbers example of the last chapter can be a little simplified using the compare instruction on the BX register and eliminating the need for a separate counter as below.

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Example 3.1
001
002
003
004
005
006
007
008
009
010
011
012
013
014
015
016
017

; a program to add ten numbers without a separate counter
[org 0x0100] mov bx, 0
; initialize array index to zero mov ax, 0
; initialize sum to zero

006

The format of memory access is still base + offset.

008

BX is used as the array index as well as the counter. The offset of
11th number will be 20, so as soon as BX becomes 20 just after the
10th number has been added, the addition is stopped.

009

The jump is displayed as JNZ in the debugger even though we have written JNE in our example. This is because it is a renamed jump with the same opcode as JNZ and the debugger has no way of knowing the mnemonic that we used after looking just at the opcode. Also every code and data reference that we used till now is seen in the opcode as well. However for the jump instruction we see an operand of F2 in the opcode and not 0116. This will be discussed in detail with unconditional jumps. It is actually a short relative jump and the operand is stored in the form of positive or negative offset from this instruction.

l1:

ax, [num1+bx] bx, 2 bx, 20 l1 ;
;
;
;

mov

[total], ax

; write back sum in memory

mov int num1: total: add add cmp jne add number to ax advance bx to next index are we beyond the last index if not add next number

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

dw dw 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
0

With conditional branching in hand, there are just a few small things left in assembly language that fills some gaps. Now there is just imagination and the skill to conceive programs that can make you write any program.
3.3. UNCONDITIONAL JUMP
Till now we have been placing data at the end of code. There is no such restriction and we can define data anywhere in the code. Taking the previous example, if we place data at the start of code instead of at the end and we load our program in the debugger. We can see our data placed at the start but the debugger is intending to start execution at our data. The COM file definition said that the first executable instruction is at offset 0100 but we have placed data there instead of code. So the debugger will try to interpret that data as code and showed whatever it could make up out of those opcodes. We introduce a new instruction called JMP. It is the unconditional jump that executes regardless of the state of all flags. So we write an unconditional jump as the very first instruction of our program and jump to the next instruction that follows our data declarations. This time 0100 contains a valid first instruction of our program.
Example 3.2
001
002
003
004
005
006

; a program to add ten numbers without a separate counter
[org 0x0100] jmp start
; unconditionally jump over data num1: total:

dw dw 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
0

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007
008
009
010
011
012
013
014
015
016
017
018
019
003

Course Code: CS401

start:

mov mov bx, 0 ax, 0

; initialize array index to zero
; initialize sum to zero

l1:

add add cmp jne ax, [num1+bx] bx, 2 bx, 20 l1 ;
;
;
;

mov

[total], ax

; write back sum in memory

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

add number to ax advance bx to next index are we beyond the last index if not add next number

JMP jumps over the data declarations to the start label and execution resumes from there.

3.4. RELATIVE ADDRESSING
Inside the debugger the instruction is shown as JMP 0119 and the location
0119 contains the original first instruction of the logic of our program. This jump is unconditional, it will always be taken. Now looking at the opcode we see F21600 where F2 is the opcode and 1600 is the operand to it. 1600 is
0016 in proper word order. 0119 is not given as a parameter rather 0016 is given. This is position relative addressing in contrast to absolute addressing. It is not telling the exact address rather it is telling how much forward or backward to go from the current position of IP in the current code segment.
So the instruction means to add 0016 to the IP register. At the time of execution of the first instruction at 0100 IP was pointing to the next instruction at 0103, so after adding 16 it became 0119, the desired target location. The mechanism is important to know, however all calculations in this mechanism are done by the assembler and by the processor. We just use a label with the JMP instruction and are ensured that the instruction at the target label will be the one to be executed.
3.5. TYPES OF JUMP
The three types of jump, near, short, and far, differ in the size of instruction and the range of memory they can jump to with the smallest short form of two bytes and a range of just 256 bytes to the far form of five bytes and a range covering the whole memory.
Short Jump
EB

Disp

Near Jump
EB

Disp Low

Disp High

IP Low

IP High

Far Jump
EB

CS Low

CS High

Near Jump
When the relative address stored with the instruction is in 16 bits as in the last example the jump is called a near jump. Using a near jump we can jump anywhere within a segment. If we add a large number it will wrap around to
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the lower part. A negative number actually is a large number and works this way using the wraparound behavior.
Short Jump
If the offset is stored in a single byte as in 75F2 with the opcode 75 and operand F2, the jump is called a short jump. F2 is added to IP as a signed byte. If the byte is negative the complement is negated from IP otherwise the byte is added. Unconditional jumps can be short, near, and far. The far type is yet to be discussed. Conditional jumps can only be short. A short jump can go +127 bytes ahead in code and -128 bytes backwards and no more.
This is the limitation of a byte in singed representation.
Far Jump
Far jump is not position relative but is absolute. Both segment and offset must be given to a far jump. The previous two jumps were used to jump within a segment. Sometimes we may need to go from one code segment to another, and near and short jumps cannot take us there. Far jump must be used and a two byte segment and a two byte offset are given to it. It loads CS wit the segment part and IP with the offset part. Execution therefore resumes from that location in physical memory. The three instructions that have a far form are JMP, CALL, and RET, are related to program control. Far capability makes intra segment control possible.
3.6. SORTING EXAMPLE
Moving ahead from our example of adding numbers we progress to a program that can sort a list of numbers using the tools that we have accumulated till now. Sorting can be ascending or descending like if the largest number comes at the top, followed by a smaller number and so on till the smallest number the sort will be called descending. The other order starting with the smallest number and ending at the largest is called ascending sort. This is a common problem and many algorithms have been developed to solve it. One simple algorithm is the bubble sort algorithm.
In this algorithm we compare consecutive numbers. If they are in required order e.g. if it is a descending sort and the first is larger then the second, then we leave them as it is and if they are not in order, we swap them. Then we do the same process for the next two numbers and so on till the last two are compared and possibly swapped.
A complete iteration is called a pass over the array. We need N passes at least in the simplest algorithm if N is the number of elements to be sorted. A finer algorithm is to check if any swap was done in this pass and stop as soon as a pass goes without a swap. The array is now sorted as every pair of elements is in order.
For example if our list of numbers is 60, 55, 45, and 58 and we want to sort them in ascending order, the first comparison will be of 60 and 55 and as the order will be reversed to 55 and 60. The next comparison will be of 60 and 45 and again the two will be swapped. The next comparison of 60 and 58 will also cause a swap. At the end of first pass the numbers will be in order of 55, 45, 58, and 60. Observe that the largest number has bubbled down to the bottom. Just like a bubble at bottom of water. In the next pass 55 and 45 will be swapped. 55 and 58 will not be swapped and 58 and 60 will also not be swapped. In the next pass there will be no swap as the elements are in order i.e. 45, 55, 58, and 60. The passes will be stopped as the last pass did not cause any swap. The application of bubble sort on these numbers is further explained with the following illustration.

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State of Data

Swap Done

Course Code: CS401

Swap Flag

Pass 1

Off

60

55

45

58

Yes

On

55

60

45

58

Yes

On

55

45

60

58

Yes

On

Pass 2

Off

55

45

58

60

Yes

On

45

55

58

60

No

On

45

55

58

60

No

On

Pass 3

Off

45

55

58

60

No

Off

45

55

58

60

No

Off

45

55

58

60

No

Off

No more passes since swap flag is Off

Example 3.3
001
002
003
004
005
006
007
008
009
010
011
012
013
014
015
016
017
018
019
020
021
022
023
024
025
026
027
028

; sorting a list of ten numbers using bubble sort
[org 0x0100] jmp start data: swap:

dw db 60, 55, 45, 50, 40, 35, 25, 30, 10, 0
0

start:

mov mov bx, 0 byte [swap], 0

; initialize array index to zero
; rest swap flag to no swaps

loop1:

mov cmp jbe

ax, [data+bx] ax, [data+bx+2] noswap ; load number in ax
; compare with next number
; no swap if already in order

mov mov mov mov dx, [data+bx+2]
[data+bx+2], ax
[data+bx], dx byte [swap], 1

;
;
;
;

add cmp jne

bx, 2 bx, 18 loop1 ; advance bx to next index
; are we at last index
; if not compare next two

cmp je byte [swap], 1 bsort ; check if a swap has been done
; if yes make another pass

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

noswap:

load second element in dx store first number in second store second number in first flag that a swap has been done

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003

The jump instruction is placed to skip over data.

006

The swap flag can be stored in a register but as an example it is stored in memory and also to extend the concept at a later stage.

011-012

One element is read in AX and it is compared with the next element because memory to memory comparisons are not allowed.

013

If the JBE is changed to JB, not only the unnecessary swap on equal will be performed, there will be a major algorithmic flaw due to a logical error as in the case of equal elements the algorithm will never stop. JBE won’t swap in the case of equal elements.

015-017

The swap is done using DX and AX registers in such a way that the values are crossed. The code uses the information that one of the elements is already in the AX register.

021

This time BX is compared with 18 instead of 20 even though the number of elements is same. This is because we pick an element and compare it with the next element. When we pick the 9th element we compare it with the next element and this is the last comparison, since if we pick the 10th element we will compare it with the 11th element and there is no 11th element in our case.

024-025

If a swap is done we repeat the whole process for possible more swaps. Inside the debugger we observe that the JBE is changed to JNA due to the same reason as discussed for JNE and JNZ. The passes change the data in the same manner as we presented in our illustration above. If JBE in the code is changed to JAE the sort will change from ascending to descending.
For signed numbers we can use JLE and JGE respectively for ascending and descending sort.
To clarify the difference of signed and unsigned jumps we change the data array in the last program to include some negative numbers as well. When
JBE will be used on this data, i.e. with unsigned interpretation of the data and an ascending sort, the negative numbers will come at the end after the largest positive number. However JLE will bring the negative numbers at the very start of the list to bring them in proper ascending order according to a signed interpretation, even though they are large in magnitude. The data used is shown as below. data: dw 60, 55, 45, 50, -40, -35, 25, 30, 10, 0

This data includes some signed numbers as well. The JBE instruction will treat this data as an unsigned number and will cater only for the magnitude ignoring the sign. If the program is loaded in the debugger, the numbers will appear in their hexadecimal equivalent. The two numbers -40 and -35 are especially important as they are represented as FFD8 and FFDD. This data is not telling whether it is signed or unsigned. Our interpretation will decide whether it is a very large unsigned number or a signed number in two’s complement form.
If the sorting algorithm is applied on the above data with JBE as the comparison instruction to sort in ascending order with unsigned interpretation, observe the comparisons of the two numbers FFD8 and
FFDD. For example it will decide that FFDD > FFD8 since the first is larger in magnitude. At the end of sorting FFDD will be at the end of the list being declared the largest number and FFD8 will precede it to be the second largest. If however the comparison instruction is changed to JLE and sorting is done on the same data it works similarly except on the two numbers FFDD and FFD8. This time JLE declares them to be smaller than every other number and also declares FFDD < FFD8. At the end of sorting, FFDD is
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declared to be the smallest number followed by FFD8 and then 0000. This is in contrast to the last example where JBE was used. This happened because
JLE interpreted our data as signed numbers, and as a signed number FFDD has its sign bit on signaling that it is a negative number in two’s complement form which is smaller than 0000 and every positive number. However JBE did not give any significance to the sign bit and included it in the magnitude.
Therefore it declared the negative numbers to be the largest numbers.
If the required interpretation was of signed numbers the result produced by JLE is correct and if the required interpretation was of unsigned numbers the result produced by JBE is correct. This is the very difference between signed and unsigned integers in higher level languages, where the compiler takes the responsibility of making the appropriate jump depending on the type of integer used. But it is only at this level that we can understand the actual mechanism going on. In assembly language, use of proper jump is the responsibility of the programmer, to convey the intentions to use the data as signed or as unsigned.
The remaining possibilities of signed descending sort and unsigned descending sort can be done on the same lines and are left as an exercise.
Other conditional jumps work in the same manner and can be studied from the reference at the end. Several will be discussed in more detail when they are used in subsequent chapters.
EXERCISES
1. Which registers are changed by the CMP instruction?
2. What are the different types of jumps available? Describe position relative addressing.
3. If AX=8FFF and BX=0FFF and “cmp ax, bx” is executed, which of the following jumps will be taken? Each part is independent of others. Also give the value of Z, S, and C flags.
a. jg greater
b. jl smaller
c. ja above
d. jb below
4. Write a program to find the maximum number and the minimum number from an array of ten numbers.
5. Write a program to search a particular element from an array using binary search. If the element is found set AX to one and otherwise to zero. 6. Write a program to calculate the factorial of a number where factorial is defined as: factorial(x) = x*(x-1)*(x-2)*...*1 factorial(0) = 1

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4
Bit Manipulations
4.1. MULTIPLICATION ALGORITHM
With the important capability of decision making in our repertoire we move on to the discussion of an algorithm, which will help us uncover an important set of instructions in our processor used for bit manipulations.
Multiplication is a common process that we use, and we were trained to do in early schooling. Remember multiplying by a digit and then putting a cross and then multiplying with the next digit and putting two crosses and so on and summing the intermediate results in the end. Very familiar process but we never saw the process as an algorithm, and we need to see it as an algorithm to convey it to the processor.
To highlight the important thing in the algorithm we revise it on two 4bit binary numbers. The numbers are 1101 i.e. 13 and 0101 i.e. 5. The answer should be 65 or in binary 01000001. Observe that the answer is twice as long as the multiplier and the multiplicand. The multiplication is shown in the following figure.
1101 = 13
0101 = 5
----1101
0000x
1101xx
0000xxx
-------01000001 = 65

We take the first digit of the multiplier and multiply it with the multiplicand. As the digit is one the answer is the multiplicand itself. So we place the multiplicand below the bar. Before multiplying with the next digit a cross is placed at the right most place on the next line and the result is placed shifted one digit left. However since the digit is zero, the result is zero.
Next digit is one, multiplying with which, the answer is 1101. We put two crosses on the next line at the right most positions and place the result there shifted two places to the left. The fourth digit is zero, so the answer 0000 is placed with three crosses to its right.
Observe the beauty of binary base, as no real multiplication is needed at the digit level. If the digit is 0 the answer is 0 and if the digit is 1 the answer is the multiplicand itself. Also observe that for every next digit in the multiplier the answer is written shifted one more place to the left. No shifting for the first digit, once for the second, twice for the third and thrice for the fourth one. Adding all the intermediate answers the result is 01000001=65 as desired. Crosses are treated as zero in this addition.
Before formulating the algorithm for this problem, we need some more instructions that can shift a number so that we use this instruction for our multiplicand shifting and also some way to check the bits of the multiplier one by one.
4.2. SHIFTING AND ROTATIONS
The set of shifting and rotation instructions is one of the most useful set in any processor’s instruction set. They simplify really complex tasks to a very

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neat and concise algorithm. The following shifting and rotation operations are available in our processor.
Shift Logical Right (SHR)
The shift logical right operation inserts a zero from the left and moves every bit one position to the right and copies the rightmost bit in the carry flag. Imagine that there is a pipe filled to capacity with eight balls. The pipe is open from both ends and there is a basket at the right end to hold anything dropping from there. The operation of shift logical right is to force a white ball from the left end. The operation is depicted in the following illustration.

0

1

0

1

1

0

1

0

0

C

White balls represent zero bits while black balls represent one bits. Sixteen bit shifting is done the same way with a pipe of double capacity.
Shift Logical Left (SHL) / Shift Arithmetic Left (SAL)
The shift logical left operation is the exact opposite of shift logical right. In this operation the zero bit is inserted from the right and every bit moves one position to its left with the most significant bit dropping into the carry flag.
Shift arithmetic left is just another name for shift logical left. The operation is again exemplified with the following illustration of ball and pipes.

C

1

0

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

Shift Arithmetic Right (SAR)
A signed number holds the sign in its most significant bit. If this bit was one a logical right shifting will change the sign of this number because of insertion of a zero from the left. The sign of a signed number should not change because of shifting.
The operation of shift arithmetic right is therefore to shift every bit one place to the right with a copy of the most significant bit left at the most significant place. The bit dropped from the right is caught in the carry basket. The sign bit is retained in this operation. The operation is further illustrated below.

1

0

1

1

0

1

0

0

C

The left shifting operation is basically multiplication by 2 while the right shifting operation is division by two. However for signed numbers division by two can be accomplished by using shift arithmetic right and not shift logical right. The left shift operation is equivalent to multiplication except when an important bit is dropped from the left. The overflow flag will signal this condition if it occurs and can be checked with JO. For division by 2 of a signed number logical right shifting will give a wrong answer for a negative number as the zero inserted from the left will change its sign. To retain the sign flag and still effectively divide by two the shift arithmetic right instruction must be used on signed numbers.

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Rotate Right (ROR)
In the rotate right operation every bit moves one position to the right and the bit dropped from the right is inserted at the left. This bit is also copied into the carry flag. The operation can be understood by imagining that the pipe used for shifting has been molded such that both ends coincide. Now when the first ball is forced to move forward, every ball moves one step forward with the last ball entering the pipe from its other end occupying the first ball’s old position. The carry basket takes a snapshot of this ball leaving one end of the pipe and entering from the other.

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C

Rotate Left (ROL)
In the operation of rotate left instruction, the most significant bit is copied to the carry flag and is inserted from the right, causing every bit to move one position to the left. It is the reverse of the rotate right instruction. Rotation can be of eight or sixteen bits. The following illustration will make the concept clear using the same pipe and balls example.

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Rotate Through Carry Right (RCR)
In the rotate through carry right instruction, the carry flag is inserted from the left, every bit moves one position to the right, and the right most bit is dropped in the carry flag. Effectively this is a nine bit or a seventeen bit rotation instead of the eight or sixteen bit rotation as in the case of simple rotations. Imagine the circular molded pipe as used in the simple rotations but this time the carry position is part of the circle between the two ends of the pipe.
Pushing the carry ball from the left causes every ball to move one step to its right and the right most bit occupying the carry place. The idea is further illustrated below.

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Rotate Through Carry Left (RCL)
The exact opposite of rotate through carry right instruction is the rotate through carry left instruction. In its operation the carry flag is inserted from the right causing every bit to move one location to its left and the most significant bit occupying the carry flag. The concept is illustrated below in the same manner as in the last example.

C

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4.3. MULTIPLICATION IN ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE
In the multiplication algorithm discussed above we revised the way we multiplied number in lower classes, and gave an example of that method on binary numbers. We make a simple modification to the traditional algorithm before we proceed to formulate it in assembly language.
In the traditional algorithm we calculate all intermediate answers and then sum them to get the final answer. If we add every intermediate answer to accumulate the result, the result will be same in the end, except that we do not have to remember a lot of intermediate answers during the whole multiplication. The multiplication with the new algorithm is shown below.
1101 =
0101 =
----1101 =
0000x =
1101xx =
0000xxx =

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5

Accumulated Result

13
0
52
0

0 + 13
13 + 0
13 + 52
65 + 0

=
=
=
=

0 (Initial Value)
13
13
65
65 (Answer)

We try to identify steps of our algorithm. First we set the result to zero.
Then we check the right most bit of multiplier. If it is one add the multiplicand to the result, and if it is zero perform no addition. Left shift the multiplicand before the next bit of multiplier is tested. The left shifting of the multiplicand is performed regardless of the value of the multiplier’s right most bit. Just like the crosses in traditional multiplication are always placed to mark the ones, tens, thousands, etc. places. Then check the next bit and if it is one add the shifted value of the multiplicand to the result. Repeat for as many digits as there are in the multiplier, 4 in our example. Formulating the steps of the algorithm we get:
• Shift the multiplier to the right.
• If CF=1 add the multiplicand to the result.
• Shift the multiplicand to the right.
• Repeat the algorithm 4 times.
For an 8bit multiplication the algorithm will be repeated 8 times and for a sixteen bit multiplication it will be repeated 16 times, whatever the size of the multiplier is.
The algorithm uses the fact that shifting right forces the right most bit to drop in the carry flag. If we test the carry flag using JC we are effectively testing the right most bit of the multiplier. Another shifting will cause the next bit to drop in the next iteration and so on. So our task of checking bits one by one is satisfied using the shift operation. There are many other methods to do this bit testing as well, however we exemplify one of the methods in this example.
In the first iteration there is no shifting just like there is no cross in traditional multiplication in the first pass. Therefore we placed the left shifting of the multiplicand after the addition step. However the right shifting of multiplier must be before the addition as the addition step’s execution depends upon its result.
We introduce an assembly language program to perform this 4bit multiplication. The algorithm is extensible to more bits but there are a few complications, which are left to be discussed later. For now we do a 4bit multiplication to keep the algorithm simple.
Example 4.1
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; 4bit multiplication algorithm
[org 0x100] jmp start multiplicand: db multiplier: db

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; 4bit multiplicand (8bit space)
; 4bit multiplier

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result:

db

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start:

mov mov mov

cl, 4
; initialize bit count to four bl, [multiplicand] ; load multiplicand in bl dl, [multiplier]
; load multiplier in dl

checkbit:

shr jnc dl, 1 skip ; move right most bit in carry
; skip addition if bit is zero

add

[result], bl

; accumulate result

shl dec jnz

bl, 1 cl checkbit

; shift multiplicand left
; decrement bit count
; repeat if bits left

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

04-06

The numbers to be multiplied are constants for now. The multiplication is four bit so the answer is stored in an 8bit register.
If the operands were 8bit the answer would be 16bit and if the operands were 16bit the answer would be 32bit. Since eight bits can fit in a byte we have used 4bit multiplication as our first example.
Since addition by zero means nothing we skip the addition step if the rightmost bit of the multiplier is zero. If the jump is not taken the shifted value of the multiplicand is added to the result.
The multiplicand is left shifted in every iteration regardless of the multiplier bit.
DEC is a new instruction but its operation should be immediately understandable with the knowledge gained till now. It simply subtracts one from its single operand.
The JNZ instruction causes the algorithm to repeat till any bits of the multiplier are left

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skip:

; 8bit result

Inside the debugger observe the working of the SHR and SHL instructions.
The SHR instruction is effectively dividing its operand by two and the remainder is stored in the carry flag from where we test it. The SHL instruction is multiplying its operand by two so that it is added at one place more towards the left in the result.
4.4. EXTENDED OPERATIONS
We performed a 4bit multiplication to explain the algorithm however the real advantage of the computer is when we ask it to multiply large numbers,
Numbers whose multiplication takes real time. If we have an 8bit number we can do the multiplication in word registers, but are we limited to word operations? What if we want to multiply 32bit or even larger numbers? We are certainly not limited. Assembly language only provides us the basic building blocks. We build a plaza out of these blocks, or a building, or a classic piece of architecture is only dependant upon our imagination. With our logic we can extend these algorithms as much as we want.
Our next example will be multiplication of 16bit numbers to produce a
32bit answer. However for a 32bit answer we need a way to shift a 32bit number and a way to add 32bit numbers. We cannot depend on 16bit shifting as we have 16 significant bits in our multiplicand and shifting any bit towards the left may drop a valuable bit causing a totally wrong result. A valuable bit means any bit that is one. Dropping a zero bit doesn’t cause any difference. So we place the 16it number in 32bit space with the upper 16 bits zeroed so that the sixteen shift operations don’t cause any valuable bit to drop. Even though the numbers were 16bit we need 32bit operations to multiply correctly.
To clarify this necessity, we take example of a number 40000 or 9C40 in hexadecimal. In binary it is represented as 1001110001000000. To multiply
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by two we shift it one place to the left. The answer we get is
0011100010000000 and the left most one is dropped in the carry flag. The answer should be the 17bit number 0x13880 but it is 0x3880, which are
14464 in decimal instead of the expected 80000. We should be careful of this situation whenever shifting is used.
Extended Shifting
Using our basic shifting and rotation instructions we can effectively shift a
32bit number in memory word by word. We cannot shift the whole number at once since our architecture is limited to word operations. The algorithm we use consists of just two instructions and we name it extended shifting. num1: dd

40000

shl rcl word [num1], 1 word [num1+2], 1

The DD directive reserves a 32bit space in memory, however the value we placed there will fit in 16bits. So we can safely shift the number left 16 times.
The least significant word is accessible at num1 and the most significant word is accessible at num1+2.
The two instructions are carefully crafted such that the first one shifts the lower word towards the left and the most significant bit of that word is dropped in carry. With the next instruction we push that dropped bit into the least significant bit of the next word effectively joining the two 16bit words.
The final carry after the second instruction will be the most significant bit of the higher word, which for this number will always be zero.
The following illustration will clarify the concept. The pipe on the right contains the lower half and the pipe on the left contains the upper half. The first instruction forced a zero from the right into the lower half and the left most bit is saved in carry, and from there it is pushed into the upper half and the upper half is shifted as well.
Step 1

C

C

1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0

1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0

0

Step 2

For shifting right the exact opposite is done however care must be taken to shift right the upper half first and then rotate through carry right the lower half for obvious reasons. The instructions to do this are. num1: dd

40000

shr rcr word [num1+2], 1 word [num1], 1

The same logic has worked. The shift placed the least significant bit of the upper half in the carry flag and it was pushed from right into the lower half.
For a singed shift we would have used the shift arithmetic right instruction instead of the shift logical right instruction.
The extension we have done is not limited to 32bits. We can shift a number of any size say 1024 bits. The second instruction will be repeated a number of times and we can achieve the desired effect. Using two simple instructions we have increased the capability of the operation to effectively an unlimited number of bits. The actual limit is the available memory as even the segment limit can be catered with a little thought.
Extended Addition and Subtraction
We also needed 32bit addition for multiplication of 16bit numbers. The idea of extension is same here. However we need to introduce a new instruction at this place. The instruction is ADC or “add with carry.” Normal addition has two operands and the second operand is added to the first
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operand. However ADC has three operands. The third implied operand is the carry flag. The ADC instruction is specifically placed for extending the capability of ADD. Numbers of any size can be added using a proper combination of ADD and ADC. All basic building blocks are provided for the assembly language programmer, and the programmer can extend its capabilities as much as needed by using these fine instructions in appropriate combinations.
Further clarifying the operation of ADC, consider an instruction “ADC AX,
BX.” Normal addition would have just added BX to AX, however ADC first adds the carry flag to AX and then adds BX to AX. Therefore the last carry is also included in the result.
The algorithm should be apparent by now. The lower halves of the two numbers to be added are first added with a normal addition. For the upper halves a normal addition would lose track of a possible carry from the lower halves and the answer would be wrong. If a carry was generated it should go to the upper half. Therefore the upper halves are added with an addition with carry instruction.
Since one operand must be in register, ax is used to read the lower and upper halves of the source one by one. The destination is directly updated.
The set of instructions goes here. dest: src:

dd dd 40000
80000

mov add mov adc ax, [src] word [dest], ax ax, [src+2] word [dest+2], ax

To further extend it more addition with carries will be used. However the carry from last addition will be wasted as there will always be a size limit where the results and the numbers are stored. This carry will remain in the carry flag to be tested for a possible overflow.
For subtraction the same logic will be used and just like addition with carry there is an instruction to subtract with borrows called SBB. Borrow in the name means the carry flag and is used just for clarity. Or we can say that the carry flag holds the carry for addition instructions and the borrow for subtraction instructions. Also the carry is generated at the 17th bit and the borrow is also taken from the 17th bit. Also there is no single instruction that needs borrow and carry in their independent meanings at the same time. Therefore it is logical to use the same flag for both tasks.
We extend subtraction with a very similar algorithm. The lower halves must be subtracted normally while the upper halves must be subtracted with a subtract with borrow instruction so that if the lower halves needed a borrow, a one is subtracted from the upper halves. The algorithm is as under. dest: src: dd dd 40000
80000

mov sub mov sbb ax, [src] word [dest], ax ax, [src+2] word [dest+2], ax

Extended Multiplication
We use extended shifting and extended addition to formulate our algorithm to do extended multiplication. The multiplier is still stored in 16bits since we only need to check its bits one by one. The multiplicand however cannot be stored in 16bits otherwise on left shifting its significant bits might get lost.
Therefore it has to be stored in 32bits and the shifting and addition used to accumulate the result must be 32bits as well.
Example 4.2
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; 16bit multiplication
[org 0x0100] jmp start

05-07

The multiplicand and the multiplier are stored in 32bit space while the multiplier is stored as a word.
The multiplier is loaded in DX where it will be shifted bit by bit. It can be directly shifted in memory as well.
The multiplicand is added to the result using extended 32bit addition. The multiplicand is shifted left as a 32bit number using extended shifting operation.

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multiplicand: dd multiplier: dw result: dd

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; 16bit multiplicand 32bit space
; 16bit multiplier
; 32bit result

start:

mov mov cl, 16 dx, [multiplier]

; initialize bit count to 16
; load multiplier in dx

checkbit:

shr jnc dx, 1 skip ; move right most bit in carry
; skip addition if bit is zero

mov add mov adc ax, [multiplicand]
[result], ax
; add less significant word ax, [multiplicand+2]
[result+2], ax
; add more significant word

shl rcl dec jnz word [multiplicand], 1 word [multiplicand+2], 1 ; shift multiplicand left cl ; decrement bit count checkbit ; repeat if bits left

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

skip:

; terminate program

The multiplicand will occupy the space from 0103-0106, the multiplier will occupy space from 0107-0108 and the result will occupy the space from
0109-010C. Inside the debugger observe the changes in these memory locations during the course of the algorithm. The extended shifting and addition operations provide the same effect as would be provided if there were 32bit addition and shifting operations available in the instruction set.
At the end of the algorithm the result memory locations contain the value
0009EB10 which is 65000 in decimal; the desired answer. Also observe that the number 00000514 which is 1300 in decimal, our multiplicand, has become 05140000 after being left shifted 16 times. Our extended shifting has given the same result as if a 32bit number is left shifted 16 times as a unit.
There are many other important applications of the shifting and rotation operations in addition to this example of the multiplication algorithm. More examples will come in coming chapters.
4.5. BITWISE LOGICAL OPERATIONS
The 8088 processor provides us with a few logical operations that operate at the bit level. The logical operations are the same as discussed in computer logic design; however our perspective will be a little different. The four basic operations are AND, OR, XOR, and NOT.
The important thing about these operations is that they are bitwise. This means that if “and ax, bx” instruction is given, then the operation of AND is applied on corresponding bits of AX and BX. There are 16 AND operations as a result; one for every bit of AX. Bit 0 of AX will be set if both its original value and Bit 0 of BX are set, bit 1 will be set if both its original value and
Bit 1 of BX are set, and so on for the remaining bits. These operations are conducted in parallel on the sixteen bits. Similarly the operations of other logical operations are bitwise as well.
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AND operation
AND performs the logical bitwise and of the two
X
Y operands (byte or word) and returns the result to the
0
0 destination operand. A bit in the result is set if both
0
1 corresponding bits of the original operands are set;
1
0 otherwise the bit is cleared as shown in the truth table.
1
1
Examples are “and ax, bx” and “and byte [mem], 5.” All possibilities that are legal for addition are also legal for the AND operation.
The different thing is the bitwise behavior of this operation.
OR operation
OR performs the logical bitwise “inclusive or” of the two operands (byte or word) and returns the result to the destination operand. A bit in the result is set if either or both corresponding bits in the original operands are set otherwise the result bit is cleared as shown in the truth table. Examples are “or ax, bx” and “or byte [mem], 5.”

X
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XOR operation
XOR (Exclusive Or) performs the logical bitwise
X
Y
“exclusive or” of the two operands and returns the result
0
0 to the destination operand. A bit in the result is set if the
0
1 corresponding bits of the original operands contain
1
0 opposite values (one is set, the other is cleared) otherwise
1
1 the result bit is cleared as shown in the truth table. XOR is a very important operation due to the property that it is a reversible operation. It is used in many cryptography algorithms, image processing, and in drawing operations. Examples are “xor ax, bx” and “xor byte [mem], 5.”
NOT operation
NOT inverts the bits (forms the one’s complement) of the byte or word operand. Unlike the other logical operations, this is a single operand instruction, and is not purely a logical operation in the sense the others are, but it is still traditionally counted in the same set. Examples are “not ax” and
“not byte [mem], 5.”
4.6. MASKING OPERATIONS
Selective Bit Clearing
Another use of AND is to make selective bits zero in its destination operand. The source operand is loaded with a mask containing one at positions which are retain their old value and zero at positions which are to be zeroed. The effect of applying this operation on the destination with mask in the source is to clear the desired bits. This operation is called masking.
For example if the lower nibble is to be cleared then the operation can be applied with F0 in the source. The upper nibble will retain its old value and the lower nibble will be cleared.
Selective Bit Setting
The operation can be used as a masking operation to set selective bits. The bits in the mask are cleared at positions which are to retain their values, and are set at positions which are to be set. For example to set the lower nibble of the destination operand, the operation should be applied with a mask of 0F in the source. The upper nibble will retain its value and the lower nibble will be set as a result.

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X and Y
0
0
0
1

X or Y
0
1
1
1

X xor Y
0
1
1
0

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Selective Bit Inversion
XOR can also be used as a masking operation to invert selective bits. The bits in the mask are cleared at positions, which are to retain their values, and are set at positions, which are to be inverted. For example to invert the lower nibble of the destination operand, the operand should be applied with a mask of 0F in the source. The upper nibble will retain its value and the lower nibble will be set as a result. Compare this with NOT which inverts everything. XOR on the other hand allows inverting selective bits.
Selective Bit Testing
AND can be used to check whether particular bits of a number are set or not. Previously we used shifting and JC to test bits one by one. Now we introduce another way to test bits, which is more powerful in the sense that any bit can be tested anytime and not necessarily in order. AND can be applied on a destination with a 1-bit in the desired position and a source, which is to be checked. If the destination is zero as a result, which can be checked with a JZ instruction, the bit at the desired position in the source was clear.
However the AND operation destroys the destination mask, which might be needed later as well. Therefore Intel provided us with another instruction analogous to CMP, which is non-destructive subtraction. This is the TEST instruction and is a non-destructive AND operation. It doesn’t change the destination and only sets the flags according to the AND operation. By checking the flags, we can see if the desired bit was set or cleared.
We change our multiplication algorithm to use selective bit testing instead of checking bits one by one using the shifting operations.
Example 4.3
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; 16bit multiplication using test for bit testing
[org 0x0100] jmp start

12

The test instruction is used for bit testing. BX holds the mask and in every next iteration it is shifting left, as our concerned bit is now the next bit.
We can do without counting in this example. We can stop as soon as our mask in BX becomes zero. These are the small tricks that assembly allows us to do and optimize our code as a result.

22-24

multiplicand: dd multiplier: dw result: dd

1300
500
0

; 16bit multiplicand 32bit space
; 16bit multiplier
; 32bit result

start:

mov mov cl, 16 bx, 1

; initialize bit count to 16
; initialize bit mask

checkbit:

test bx, [multiplier] jz skip

; move right most bit in carry
; skip addition if bit is zero

mov add mov adc shl rcl shl dec jnz

word [multiplicand], 1 word [multiplicand+2], 1 ; shift multiplicand left bx, 1
; shift mask towards next bit cl ; decrement bit count checkbit ; repeat if bits left

mov int skip:

ax, [multiplicand]
[result], ax
; add less significant word ax, [multiplicand+2]
[result+2], ax
; add more significant word

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

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Inside the debugger observe that both the memory location and the mask in
BX do not change as a result of TEST instruction. Also observe how our mask is shifting towards the left so that the next TEST instruction tests the next bit. In the end we get the same result of 0009EB10 as in the previous example. EXERCISES
1. Write a program to swap every pair of bits in the AX register.
2. Give the value of the AX register and the carry flag after each of the following instructions. stc mov adc cmc xor mov shr rcr

ax, ah, ah, cl, al, ah, al
4
cl cl 3. Write a program to swap the nibbles in each byte of the AX register.
4. Calculate the number of one bits in BX and complement an equal number of least significant bits in AX.
HINT: Use the XOR instruction
5. Write a program to multiply two 32bit numbers and store the answer in a 64bit location.
6. Declare a 32byte buffer containing random data. Consider for this problem that the bits in these 32 bytes are numbered from 0 to 255.
Declare another byte that contains the starting bit number. Write a program to copy the byte starting at this starting bit number in the AX register. Be careful that the starting bit number may not be a multiple of 8 and therefore the bits of the desired byte will be split into two bytes. 7. AX contains a number between 0-15. Write code to complement the corresponding bit in BX. For example if AX contains 6; complement the
6th bit of BX.
8. AX contains a non-zero number. Count the number of ones in it and store the result back in AX. Repeat the process on the result (AX) until
AX contains one. Calculate in BX the number of iterations it took to make AX one. For example BX should contain 2 in the following case:
AX = 1100 0101 1010 0011 (input – 8 ones)
AX = 0000 0000 0000 1000 (after first iteration – 1 one)
AX = 0000 0000 0000 0001 (after second iteration – 1 one) STOP

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5
Subroutines
5.1. PROGRAM FLOW
Till now we have accumulated the very basic tools of assembly language programming. A very important weapon in our arsenal is the conditional jump instruction. During the course of last two chapters we used these tools to write two very useful algorithms of sorting and multiplication. The multiplication algorithm is useful even though there is a MUL instruction in the 8088 instruction set, which can multiply 8bit and 16bit operands. This is because of the extensibility of our algorithm, as it is not limited to 16bits and can do 32bit or 64bit multiplication with minor changes.
Both of these algorithms will be used a number of times in any program of a reasonable size and complexity. An application does not only need to multiply at a single point in code; it multiplies at a number of places. If multiplication or sorting is needed at 100 places in code, copying it 100 times is a totally infeasible solution. Maintaining such a code is an impossible task.
The straightforward solution to this problem using the concepts we have acquainted till now is to write the code at one place with a label, and whenever we need to sort we jump to this label. But there is problem with this logic, and the problem is that after sorting is complete how the processor will know where to go back. The immediate answer is to jump back to a label following the jump to bubble sort. But we have jumped to bubble sort from
100 places in code. Which of the 100 positions in code should we jump back? Jump back at the first invocation, but jump has a single fixed target.
How will the second invocation work? The second jump to bubble sort will never have control back at the next line.
Instruction are tied to one another forming an execution thread, just like a knitted thread where pieces of cotton of different sizes are twisted together to form a thread. This thread of execution is our program. The jump instruction breaks this thread permanently, making a permanent diversion, like a turn on a highway. The conditional jump selects one of the two possible directions, like right or left turn on a road. So there is no concept of returning. However there are roundabouts on roads as well that take us back from where we started after having traveled on the boundary of the round. This is the concept of a temporary diversion. Two or more permanent diversions can take us back from where we started, just like two or more road turns can take us back to the starting point, but they are still permanent diversions in their nature.
We need some way to implement the concept of temporary diversion in assembly language. We want to create a roundabout of bubble sort, another roundabout of our multiplication algorithm, so that we can enter into the roundabout whenever we need it and return back to wherever we left from after completing the round.

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Program

Bubble Sort

Swap

Key point in the above discussion is returning to where we left from, like a loop in a knitted thread. Diversion should be temporary and not permanent.
The code of bubble sort written at one place, multiply at another, and we temporarily divert to that place, thus avoiding a repetition of code at a 100 places. CALL and RET
In every processor, instructions are available to divert temporarily and to divert permanently. The instructions for permanent diversion in 8088 are the jump instructions, while the instruction for temporary diversion is the CALL instruction. The word call must be familiar to the readers from subroutine call in higher level languages. The CALL instruction allows temporary diversion and therefore reusability of code. Now we can place the code for bubble sort at one place and reuse it again and again. This was not possible with permanent diversion. Actually the 8088 permanent diversion mechanism can be tricked to achieve temporary diversion. However it is not possible without getting into a lot of trouble. The key idea in doing it this way is to use the jump instruction form that takes a register as argument.
Therefore this is not impossible but this is not the way it is done.
The natural way to do this is to use the CALL instruction followed by a label, just like JMP is followed by a label. Execution will divert to the code following the label. Till now the operation has been similar to the JMP instruction. When the subroutine completes we need to return. The RET instruction is used for this purpose. The word return holds in its meaning that we are to return from where we came and need no explicit destination.
Therefore RET takes no arguments and transfers control back to the instruction following the CALL that took us in this subroutine. The actual technical process that informs RET where to return will be discussed later after we have discussed the system stack.
CALL takes a label as argument and execution starts from that label, until the RET instruction is encountered and it takes execution back to the instruction following the CALL. Both the instructions are commonly used as a pair, however technically they are independent in their operation. The RET works regardless of the CALL and the CALL works regardless of the RET. If you CALL a subroutine it will not complain if there is no RET present and similarly if you RET without being called it won’t complain. It is a logical pair and is used as a pair in every decent code. However sometimes we play tricks with the processor and we use CALL or RET alone. This will become clear when we need to play such tricks in later chapters.
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Parameters
We intend to write the bubble sort code at one place and CALL it whenever needed. An immediately visible problem is that whenever we call this subroutine it will sort the same array in the same order. However in a real application we will need to sort various arrays of various sizes. We might sometimes need an ascending sort and descending at other times. Similarly our data may be signed or unsigned. Such pieces of information that may change from invocation to invocation and should be passed from the caller to the subroutine are called parameters.
There must be some way of passing these parameters to the subroutine.
Revising the subroutine temporary flow breakage mechanism, the most straightforward way is to use registers. The CALL mechanism breaks the thread of execution and does not change registers, except IP which must change for processor to start executing at another place, and SP whose change will be discussed in detail later. Any of the other registers can hold parameters for the subroutine.
5.2. OUR FIRST SUBROUTINE
Now we want to modify the bubble sort code so that it works as a subroutine. We place a label at the start of bubble sort code, which works as the anchor point and will be used in the CALL instruction to call the subroutine. We also place a RET at the end of the algorithm to return from where we called the subroutine.
Example 5.1
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; bubble sort algorithm as a subroutine
[org 0x0100] jmp start

08-09

The routine has received the count of elements in CX. Since it makes one less comparison than the number of elements it decrements it.
Then it multiplies it by two since this a word array and each element

data: swap: dw db 60, 55, 45, 50, 40, 35, 25, 30, 10, 0
0

bubblesort:

dec shl cx cx, 1

; last element not compared
; turn into byte count

mainloop:

mov mov si, 0 byte [swap], 0

; initialize array index to zero
; reset swap flag to no swaps

innerloop:

mov cmp jbe

ax, [bx+si] ax, [bx+si+2] noswap ; load number in ax
; compare with next number
; no swap if already in order

mov mov mov mov dx, [bx+si+2]
[bx+si], dx
[bx+si+2], ax byte [swap], 1

;
;
;
;

add cmp jne

si, 2 si, cx innerloop ; advance si to next index
; are we at last index
; if not compare next two

cmp je byte [swap], 1 mainloop ; check if a swap has been done
; if yes make another pass

noswap:

load second element in dx store first number in second store second number in first flag that a swap has been done

ret mov bx, data mov cx, 10 call bubblesort

; send start of array in bx
; send count of elements in cx
; call our subroutine

mov int start:

; go back to where we came from

; terminate program

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

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32-37

Course Code: CS401

takes two bytes. Left shifting has been used to multiply by two.
Base+index+offset addressing has been used. BX holds the start of array, SI the offset into it and an offset of 2 when the next element is to be read. BX can be directly changed but then a separate counter would be needed, as SI is directly compared with CX in our case.
The code starting from the start label is our main program analogous to the main in the C language. BX and CX hold our parameters for the bubblesort subroutine and the CALL is made to invoke the subroutine.

Inside the debugger we observe the same unsigned data that we are so used to now. The number 0103 is passed via BX to the subroutine which is the start of our data and the number 000A via CX which is the number of elements in our data. If we step over the CALL instruction we see our data sorted in a single step and we are at the termination instructions. The processor has jumped to the bubblesort routine, executed it to completion, and returned back from it but the process was hidden due to the step over command. If however we trace into the CALL instruction, we land at the first instruction of our routine. At the end of the routine, when the RET instruction is executed, we immediately land back to our termination instructions, to be precise the instruction following the CALL.
Also observe that with the CALL instruction SP is decremented by two from
FFFE to FFFC, and the stack windows shows 0150 at its top. As the RET is executed SP is recovered and the 0150 is also removed from the stack. Match it with the address of the instruction following the CALL which is 0150 as well. The 0150 removed from the stack by the RET instruction has been loaded into the IP register thereby resuming execution from address 0150.
CALL placed where to return on the stack for the RET instruction. The stack is automatically used with the CALL and RET instructions. Stack will be explained in detail later, however the idea is that the one who is departing stores the address to return at a known place. This is the place using which
CALL and RET coordinate. How this placed is actually used by the CALL and
RET instructions will be described after the stack is discussed.
After emphasizing reusability so much, it is time for another example which uses the same bubblesort routine on two different arrays of different sizes. Example 5.2
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; bubble sort subroutine called twice
[org 0x0100] jmp start data: data2:

dw dw dw db 60, 55, 45, 50, 40, 35, 25, 30, 10, 0
328, 329, 898, 8923, 8293, 2345, 10, 877, 355, 98
888, 533, 2000, 1020, 30, 200, 761, 167, 90, 5
0

bubblesort:

dec shl cx cx, 1

; last element not compared
; turn into byte count

mainloop:

mov mov si, 0 byte [swap], 0

; initialize array index to zero
; reset swap flag to no swaps

innerloop:

mov cmp jbe

ax, [bx+si] ax, [bx+si+2] noswap ; load number in ax
; compare with next number
; no swap if already in order

mov mov mov mov dx, [bx+si+2]
[bx+si], dx
[bx+si+2], ax byte [swap], 1

;
;
;
;

add

si, 2

; advance si to next index

swap:

noswap:

load second element in dx store first number in second store second number in first flag that a swap has been done

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Computer Architecture & Assembly Language Programming
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05-07

34-40

Course Code: CS401

cmp jne si, cx innerloop ; are we at last index
; if not compare next two

cmp je byte [swap], 1 mainloop ; check if a swap has been done
; if yes make another pass

ret mov bx, data mov cx, 10 call bubblesort

; send start of array in bx
; send count of elements in cx
; call our subroutine

mov bx, data2 mov cx, 20 call bubblesort

; send start of array in bx
; send count of elements in cx
; call our subroutine again

mov int start:

; go back to where we came from

; terminate program

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

There are two different data arrays declared. One of 10 elements and the other of 20 elements. The second array is declared on two lines, where the second line is continuation of the first. No additional label is needed since they are situated consecutively in memory.
The other change is in the main where the bubblesort subroutine is called twice, once on the first array and once on the second.

Inside the debugger observe that stepping over the first call, the first array is sorted and stepping over the second call the second array is sorted. If however we step in SP is decremented and the stack holds 0178 which is the address of the instruction following the call. The RET consumes that 0178 and restores SP. The next CALL places 0181 on the stack and SP is again decremented. The RET consumes this number and execution resumes from the instruction at 0181. This is the coordinated function of CALL and RET using the stack.
In both of the above examples, there is a shortcoming. The subroutine to sort the elements is destroying the registers AX, CX, DX, and SI. That means that the caller of this routine has to make sure that it does not hold any important data in these registers before calling this function, because after the call has returned the registers will be containing meaningless data for the caller. With a program containing thousands of subroutines expecting the caller to remember the set of modified registers for each subroutine is unrealistic and unreasonable. Also registers are limited in number, and restricting the caller on the use of register will make the caller’s job very tough. This shortcoming will be removed using the very important system stack. 5.3. STACK
Stack is a data structure that behaves in a first in last out manner. It can contain many elements and there is only one way in and out of the container.
When an element is inserted it sits on top of all other elements and when an element is removed the one sitting at top of all others is removed first. To visualize the structure consider a test tube and put some balls in it. The second ball will come above the first and the third will come above the second. When a ball is taken out only the one at the top can be removed. The operation of placing an element on top of the stack is called pushing the element and the operation of removing an element from the top of the stack is called popping the element. The last thing pushed is popped out first; the last in first out behavior.
We can peek at any ball inside the test tube but we cannot remove it without removing every ball on top of it. Similarly we can read any element from the stack but cannot remove it without removing everything above it.
The stack operations of pushing and popping only work at the top of the
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stack. This top of stack is contained in the SP register. The physical address of the stack is obtained by the SS:SP combination. The stack segment registers tells where the stack is located and the stack pointer marks the top of stack inside this segment.
Whenever an element is pushed on the stack SP is decremented by two as the 8088 stack works on word sized elements. Single bytes cannot be pushed or popped from the stack. Also it is a decrementing stack. Another possibility is an incrementing stack. A decrementing stack moves from higher addresses to lower addresses as elements are added in it while an incrementing stack moves from lower addresses to higher addresses as elements are added.
There is no special reason or argument in favor of one or another, and more or less depends on the choice of the designers. Another processor 8051 by the same manufacturer has an incrementing stack while 8088 has a decrementing one.
Memory is like a shelf numbered as zero at the top and the maximum at the bottom. If a decrementing stack starts at shelf 5, the first item is placed in shelf 5, the next item is placed in shelf 4, the next in shelf 3 and so on.
The operations of placing items on the stack and removing them from there are called push and pop. The push operation copies its operand on the stack, while the pop operation makes a copy from the top of the stack into its operand. When an item is pushed on a decrementing stack, the top of the stack is first decremented and the element is then copied into this space.
With a pop the element at the top of the stack is copied into the pop operand and the top of stack is incremented afterwards.
The basic use of the stack is to save things and recover from there when needed. For example we discussed the shortcoming in our last example that it destroyed the caller’s registers, and the callers are not supposed to remember which registers are destroyed by the thousand routines they use.
Using the stack the subroutine can save the caller’s value of the registers on the stack, and recover them from there before returning. Meanwhile the subroutine can freely use the registers. From the caller’s point of view if the registers contain the same value before and after the call, it doesn’t matter if the subroutine used them meanwhile.
Similarly during the CALL operation, the current value of the instruction pointer is automatically saved on the stack, and the destination of CALL is loaded in the instruction pointer. Execution therefore resumes from the destination of CALL. When the RET instruction is executed, it recovers the value of the instruction pointer from the stack. The next instruction executed is therefore the one following the CALL. Observe how playing with the instruction pointer affects the program flow.
There is a form of the RET instruction called “RET n” where n is a numeric argument. After performing the operation of RET, it further increments the stack pointer by this number, i.e. SP is first incremented by two and then by
n. Its function will become clear when parameter passing is discussed.
Now we describe the operation of the stack in CALL and RET with an example. The top of stack stored in the stack pointer is initialized at 2000.
The space above SP is considered empty and free. When the stack pointer is decremented by two, we took a word from the empty space and can use it for our purpose. The unit of stack operations is a word. Some instructions push multiple words; however byte pushes cannot be made. Now the value 017B is stored in the word reserved on the stack. The RET will copy this value in the instruction pointer and increment the stack pointer by two making it 2000 again, thereby reverting the operation of CALL.
This is how CALL and RET behave for near calls. There is also a far version of these functions when the target routine is in another segment. This version of CALL takes a segment offset pair just like the far jump instruction.
The CALL will push both the segment and the offset on the stack in this case, followed by loading CS and IP with the values given in the instruction.
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The corresponding instruction RETF will pop the offset in the instruction pointer followed by popping the segment in the code segment register.
Apart from CALL and RET, the operations that use the stack are PUSH and
POP. Two other operations that will be discussed later are INT and IRET.
Regarding the stack, the operation of PUSH is similar to CALL however with a register other than the instruction pointer. For example “push ax” will push the current value of the AX register on the stack. The operation of PUSH is shown below.
SP
SP – 2
[SP]
AX

The operation of POP is the reverse of this. A copy of the element at the top of the stack is made in the operand, and the top of the stack is incremented afterwards. The operation of “pop ax” is shown below.
AX
SP

[SP]
SP + 2

Making corresponding PUSH and POP operations is the responsibility of the programmer. If “push ax” is followed by “pop dx” effectively copying the value of the AX register in the DX register, the processor won’t complain.
Whether this sequence is logically correct or not should be ensured by the programmer. For example when PUSH and POP are used to save and restore registers from the stack, order must be correct so that the saved value of AX is reloaded in the AX register and not any other register. For this the order of
POP operations need to be the reverse of the order of PUSH operations.
Now we consider another example that is similar to the previous examples, however the code to swap the two elements has been extracted into another subroutine, so that the formation of stack can be observed during nested subroutine calls.
Example 5.3
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; bubble sort subroutine using swap subroutine
[org 0x0100] jmp start data: data2: swapflag: dw dw dw db 60, 55, 45, 50, 40, 35, 25, 30, 10, 0
328, 329, 898, 8923, 8293, 2345, 10, 877, 355, 98
888, 533, 2000, 1020, 30, 200, 761, 167, 90, 5
0

swap:

mov ax, [bx+si] xchg ax, [bx+si+2] mov [bx+si], ax ret ;
;
;
;

load first number in ax exchange with second number store second number in first go back to where we came from

bubblesort:

dec shl cx cx, 1

; last element not compared
; turn into byte count

mainloop:

mov mov si, 0
; initialize array index to zero byte [swapflag], 0 ; reset swap flag to no swaps

innerloop:

mov cmp jbe

ax, [bx+si] ax, [bx+si+2] noswap ; load number in ax
; compare with next number
; no swap if already in order

call swap
; swaps two elements mov byte [swapflag], 1 ; flag that a swap has been done noswap: si, 2 si, cx innerloop cmp je ret start: add cmp jne

; advance si to next index
; are we at last index
; if not compare next two

byte [swapflag], 1 ; check if a swap has been done mainloop ; if yes make another pass
; go back to where we came from

mov mov bx, data cx, 10

; send start of array in bx
; send count of elements in cx

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Computer Architecture & Assembly Language Programming
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13

Course Code: CS401

call bubblesort

; call our subroutine

mov bx, data2 mov cx, 20 call bubblesort

; send start of array in bx
; send count of elements in cx
; call our subroutine again

mov int ; terminate program

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

A new instruction XCHG has been introduced. The instruction swaps its source and its destination operands however at most one of the operands could be in memory, so the other has to be loaded in a register. The instruction has reduced the code size by one instruction. The RET at the end of swap makes it a subroutine.

Inside the debugger observe the use of stack by CALL and RET instructions, especially the nested CALL.
5.4. SAVING AND RESTORING REGISTERS
The subroutines we wrote till now have been destroying certain registers and our calling code has been carefully written to not use those registers.
However this cannot be remembered for a good number of subroutines.
Therefore our subroutines need to implement some mechanism of retaining the callers’ value of any registers used.
The trick is to use the PUSH and POP operations and save the callers’ value on the stack and recover it from there on return. Our swap subroutine destroyed the AX register while the bubblesort subroutine destroyed AX, CX, and SI. BX was not modified in the subroutine. It had the same value at entry and at exit; it was only used by the subroutine. Our next example improves on the previous version by saving and restoring any registers that it will modify using the PUSH and POP operations.
Example 5.4
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; bubble sort and swap subroutines saving and restoring registers
[org 0x0100] jmp start data: data2: swapflag: dw dw dw db swap:

push ax

; save old value of ax

mov ax, [bx+si] xchg ax, [bx+si+2] mov [bx+si], ax

; load first number in ax
; exchange with second number
; store second number in first

pop ret ; restore old value of ax
; go back to where we came from

bubblesort:

60, 55, 45, 50, 40, 35, 25, 30, 10, 0
328, 329, 898, 8923, 8293, 2345, 10, 877, 355, 98
888, 533, 2000, 1020, 30, 200, 761, 167, 90, 5
0

ax

push ax push cx push si

; save old value of ax
; save old value of cx
; save old value of si

dec shl cx cx, 1

; last element not compared
; turn into byte count

mainloop:

mov mov si, 0
; initialize array index to zero byte [swapflag], 0 ; reset swap flag to no swaps

innerloop:

mov cmp jbe

ax, [bx+si] ax, [bx+si+2] noswap ; load number in ax
; compare with next number
; no swap if already in order

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Computer Architecture & Assembly Language Programming
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Course Code: CS401

call swap
; swaps two elements mov byte [swapflag], 1 ; flag that a swap has been done noswap: si, 2 si, cx innerloop cmp je byte [swapflag], 1 ; check if a swap has been done mainloop ; if yes make another pass

pop pop pop ret start:

add cmp jne

; advance si to next index
; are we at last index
; if not compare next two

si cx ax

;
;
;
;

restore restore restore go back

old value of si old value of cx old value of ax to where we came from

mov bx, data mov cx, 10 call bubblesort

; send start of array in bx
; send count of elements in cx
; call our subroutine

mov bx, data2 mov cx, 20 call bubblesort

; send start of array in bx
; send count of elements in cx
; call our subroutine again

mov int ; terminate program

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

When multiple registers are pushed, order is very important. If AX,
CX, and SI are pushed in this order, they must be popped in the reverse order of SI, CX, and AX. This is again because the stack behaves in a Last In First Out manner.

Inside the debugger we can observe that the registers before and after the
CALL operation are exactly identical. Effectively the caller can assume the registers are untouched. By tracing into the subroutines we can observe how their value is saved on the stack by the PUSH instructions and recovered from their before exit. Saving and restoring registers this way in subroutines is a standard way and must be followed.
PUSH
PUSH decrements SP (the stack pointer) by two and then transfers a word from the source operand to the top of stack now pointed to by SP. PUSH often is used to place parameters on the stack before calling a procedure; more generally, it is the basic means of storing temporary data on the stack.
POP
POP transfers the word at the current top of stack (pointed to by SP) to the destination operand and then increments SP by two to point to the new top of stack. POP can be used to move temporary variables from the stack to registers or memory.
Observe that the operand of PUSH is called a source operand since the data is moving to the stack from the operand, while the operand of POP is called destination since data is moving from the stack to the operand.
CALL
CALL activates an out-of-line procedure, saving information on the stack to permit a RET (return) instruction in the procedure to transfer control back to the instruction following the CALL. For an intra segment direct CALL, SP is decremented by two and IP is pushed onto the stack. The target procedure’s relative displacement from the CALL instruction is then added to the instruction pointer. For an inter segment direct CALL, SP is decremented by two, and CS is pushed onto the stack. CS is replaced by the segment word contained in the instruction. SP again is decremented by two. IP is pushed onto the stack and replaced by the offset word in the instruction.
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The out-of-line procedure is the temporary division, the concept of roundabout that we discussed. Near calls are also called intra segment calls, while far calls are called inter-segment calls. There are also versions that are called indirect calls; however they will be discuss later when they are used.
RET
RET (Return) transfers control from a procedure back to the instruction following the CALL that activated the procedure. RET pops the word at the top of the stack (pointed to by register SP) into the instruction pointer and increments SP by two. If RETF (inter segment RET) is used the word at the top of the stack is popped into the IP register and SP is incremented by two.
The word at the new top of stack is popped into the CS register, and SP is again incremented by two. If an optional pop value has been specified, RET adds that value to SP. This feature may be used to discard parameters pushed onto the stack before the execution of the CALL instruction.
5.5. PARAMETER PASSING THROUGH STACK
Due to the limited number of registers, parameter passing by registers is constrained in two ways. The maximum parameters a subroutine can receive are seven when all the general registers are used. Also, with the subroutines are themselves limited in their use of registers, and this limited increases when the subroutine has to make a nested call thereby using certain registers as its parameters. Due to this, parameter passing by registers is not expandable and generalizable. However this is the fastest mechanism available for passing parameters and is used where speed is important.
Considering stack as an alternate, we observe that whatever data is placed there, it stays there, and across function calls as well. For example the bubble sort subroutine needs an array address and the count of elements. If we place both of these on the stack, and call the subroutine afterwards, it will stay there. The subroutine is invoked with its return address on top of the stack and its parameters beneath it.
To access the arguments from the stack, the immediate idea that strikes is to pop them off the stack. And this is the only possibility using the given set of information. However the first thing popped off the stack would be the return address and not the arguments. This is because the arguments were first pushed on the stack and the subroutine was called afterwards. The arguments cannot be popped without first popping the return address. If a heaving thing falls on someone’s leg, the heavy thing is removed first and the leg is not pulled out to reduce the damage. Same is the case with our parameters on which the return address has fallen.
To handle this using PUSH and POP, we must first pop the return address in a register, then pop the operands, and push the return address back on the stack so that RET will function normally. However so much effort doesn’t seem to pay back the price. Processor designers should have provided a logical and neat way to perform this operation. They did provided a way and infact we will do this without introducing any new instruction.
Recall that the default segment association of the BP register is the stack segment and the reason for this association had been deferred for now. The reason is to peek inside the stack using the BP register and read the parameters without removing them and without touching the stack pointer.
The stack pointer could not be used for this purpose, as it cannot be used in an effective address. It is automatically used as a pointer and cannot be explicitly used. Also the stack pointer is a dynamic pointer and sometimes changes without telling us in the background. It is just that whenever we touch it, it is where we expect it to be. The base pointer is provided as a replacement of the stack pointer so that we can peek inside the stack without modifying the structure of the stack.
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When the bubble sort subroutine is called, the stack pointer is pointing to the return address. Two bytes below it is the second parameter and four bytes below is the first parameter. The stack pointer is a reference point to these parameters. If the value of SP is captured in BP, then the return address is located at [bp+0], the second parameter is at [bp+2], and the first parameter is at [bp+4]. This is because SP and BP both had the same value and they both defaulted to the same segment, the stack segment.
This copying of SP into BP is like taking a snapshot or like freezing the stack at that moment. Even if more pushes are made on the stack decrementing the stack pointer, our reference point will not change. The parameters will still be accessible at the same offsets from the base pointer.
If however the stack pointer increments beyond the base pointer, the references will become invalid. The base pointer will act as the datum point to access our parameters. However we have destroyed the original value of
BP in the process, and this will cause problems in nested calls where both the outer and the inner subroutines need to access their own parameters.
The outer subroutine will have its base pointer destroyed after the call and will be unable to access its parameters.
To solve both of these problems, we reach at the standard way of accessing parameters on the stack. The first two instructions of any subroutines accessing its parameters from the stack are given below. push bp mov bp, sp

As a result our datum point has shifted by a word. Now the old value of BP will be contained in [bp] and the return address will be at [bp+2]. The second parameters will be [bp+4] while the first one will be at [bp+6]. We give an example of bubble sort subroutine using this standard way of argument passing through stack.
Example 5.5
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; bubble sort subroutine taking parameters from stack
[org 0x0100] jmp start data: data2:

dw dw dw db 60, 55, 45, 50, 40, 35, 25, 30, 10, 0
328, 329, 898, 8923, 8293, 2345, 10, 877, 355, 98
888, 533, 2000, 1020, 30, 200, 761, 167, 90, 5
0

push mov push push push push bp bp, sp ax bx cx si

;
;
;
;
;
;

save make save save save save old value of bp bp our reference point old value of ax old value of bx old value of cx old value of si

mov mov dec shl bx, [bp+6] cx, [bp+4] cx cx, 1

;
;
;
;

load load last turn start of array in bx count of elements in cx element not compared into byte count

mainloop:

mov mov si, 0
; initialize array index to zero byte [swapflag], 0 ; reset swap flag to no swaps

innerloop:

mov cmp jbe

ax, [bx+si] ax, [bx+si+2] noswap swapflag: bubblesort: ; load number in ax
; compare with next number
; no swap if already in order

xchg ax, [bx+si+2]
; exchange ax with second number mov [bx+si], ax
; store second number in first mov byte [swapflag], 1 ; flag that a swap has been done noswap: add cmp jne

si, 2 si, cx innerloop ; advance si to next index
; are we at last index
; if not compare next two

Virtual University of Pakistan

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Computer Architecture & Assembly Language Programming
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Course Code: CS401

cmp je pop pop pop pop pop ret si cx bx ax bp
4

mov push mov push call

ax, data ax ax, 10 ax bubblesort

mov push mov push call

ax, data2 ax ax, 20 ax bubblesort

mov int start:

byte [swapflag], 1 ; check if a swap has been done mainloop ; if yes make another pass

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

;
;
;
;
;
;

restore restore restore restore restore go back

old old old old old and value of si value of cx value of bx value of ax value of bp remove two params

; place start of array on stack
; place element count on stack
; call our subroutine

; place start of array on stack
; place element count on stack
; call our subroutine again
; terminate program

The value of the stack pointer is captured in the base pointer. With further pushes SP will change but BP will not and therefore we will read parameters from bp+4 and bp+6.
The form of RET that takes an argument is used causing four to be added to SP after the return address has been popped in the instruction pointer. This will effectively discard the parameters that are still there on the stack.
We push the address of the array we want to sort followed by the count of elements. As immediate cannot be directly pushed in the
8088 architecture, we first load it in the AX register and then push the AX register on the stack.

Inside the debugger, concentrate on the operation of BP and the stack. The parameters are placed on the stack by the caller, the subroutine accesses them using the base pointer, and the special form of RET removes them without any extra instruction. The value of stack pointer of FFF6 is turned into FFFE by the RET instruction. This was the value in SP before any of the parameters was pushed.
Stack Clearing by Caller or Callee
Parameters pushed for a subroutine are a waste after the subroutine has returned. They have to be cleared from the stack. Either of the caller and the callee can take the responsibility of clearing them from there. If the callee has to clear the stack it cannot do this easily unless RET n exists. That is why most general processors have this instruction. Stack clearing by the caller needs an extra instruction on behalf of the caller after every call made to the subroutine, unnecessarily increasing instructions in the program. If there are thousand calls to a subroutine the code to clear the stack is repeated a thousand times. Therefore the prevalent convention in most high level languages is stack clearing by the callee; even though the other convention is still used in some languages.
If RET n is not available, stack clearing by the callee is a complicated process. It will have to save the return address in a register, then remove the parameters, and then place back the return address so that RET will function. When this instruction was introduced in processors, only then high level language designers switched to stack clearing by the callee. This is also exactly why RET n adds n to SP after performing the operation of RET. The other way around would be totally useless for our purpose. Consider the stack condition at the time of RET and this will become clear why this will be
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useless. Also observe that RET n has discarded the arguments rather than popping them as they were no longer of any use either of the caller or the callee. The strong argument in favour of callee cleared stacks is that the arguments were placed on the stack for the subroutine, the caller did not needed them for itself, so the subroutine is responsible for removing them.
Removing the arguments is important as if the stack is not cleared or is partially cleared the stack will eventually become full, SP will reach 0, and thereafter wraparound producing unexpected results. This is called stack overflow. Therefore clearing anything placed on the stack is very important.
5.6. LOCAL VARIABLES
Another important role of the stack is in the creation of local variables that are only needed while the subroutine is in execution and not afterwards.
They should not take permanent space like global variables. Local variables should be created when the subroutine is called and discarded afterwards.
So that the spaced used by them can be reused for the local variables of another subroutine. They only have meaning inside the subroutine and no meaning outside it.
The most convenient place to store these variables is the stack. We need some special manipulation of the stack for this task. We need to produce a gap in the stack for our variables. This is explained with the help of the swapflag in the bubble sort example.
The swapflag we have declared as a word occupying space permanently is only needed by the bubble sort subroutine and should be a local variable.
Actually the variable was introduced with the intent of making it a local variable at this time. The stack pointer will be decremented by an extra two bytes thereby producing a gap in which a word can reside. This gap will be used for our temporary, local, or automatic variable; however we name it. We can decrement it as much as we want producing the desired space, however the decrement must be by an even number, as the unit of stack operation is a word. In our case we needed just one word. Also the most convenient position for this gap is immediately after saving the value of SP in BP. So that the same base pointer can be used to access the local variables as well; this time using negative offsets. The standard way to start a subroutine which needs to access parameters and has local variables is as under. push bp mov bp, sp sub sp, 2

The gap could have been created with a dummy push, but the subtraction makes it clear that the value pushed is not important and the gap will be used for our local variable. Also gap of any size can be created in a single instruction with subtraction. The parameters can still be accessed at bp+4 and bp+6 and the swapflag can be accessed at bp-2. The subtraction in SP was after taking the snapshot; therefore BP is above the parameters but below the local variables. The parameters are therefore accessed using positive offsets from BP and the local variables are accessed using negative offsets. We modify the bubble sort subroutine to use a local variable to store the swap flag. The swap flag remembered whether a swap has been done in a particular iteration of bubble sort.
Example 5.6
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; bubble sort subroutine using a local variable
[org 0x0100] jmp start data: data2:

dw dw 60, 55, 45, 50, 40, 35, 25, 30, 10, 0
328, 329, 898, 8923, 8293, 2345, 10, 877, 355, 98

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dw bubblesort: Course Code: CS401

888, 533, 2000, 1020, 30, 200, 761, 167, 90, 5

push bp mov bp, sp sub sp, 2 push ax push bx push cx push si

;
;
;
;
;
;
;

save make make save save save save

old value of bp bp our reference point two byte space on stack old value of ax old value of bx old value of cx old value of si

mov mov dec shl bx, [bp+6] cx, [bp+4] cx cx, 1

;
;
;
;

load load last turn start of array in bx count of elements in cx element not compared into byte count

mainloop:

mov mov si, 0 word [bp-2], 0

; initialize array index to zero
; reset swap flag to no swaps

innerloop:

mov cmp jbe

ax, [bx+si] ax, [bx+si+2] noswap ; load number in ax
; compare with next number
; no swap if already in order

xchg ax, [bx+si+2] mov [bx+si], ax mov word [bp-2], 1 si, 2 si, cx innerloop ; advance si to next index
; are we at last index
; if not compare next two

word [bp-2], 1 mainloop ; check if a swap has been done
; if yes make another pass

pop pop pop pop mov pop ret

si cx bx ax sp, bp bp 4

;
;
;
;
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;
;

mov push mov push call

ax, data ax ax, 10 ax bubblesort

mov push mov push call

ax, data2 ax ax, 20 ax bubblesort

mov int start:

add cmp jne cmp je

noswap:

; exchange ax with second number
; store second number in first
; flag that a swap has been done

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

restore old value of si restore old value of cx restore old value of bx restore old value of ax remove space created on stack restore old value of bp go back and remove two params

; place start of array on stack
; place element count on stack
; call our subroutine

; place start of array on stack
; place element count on stack
; call our subroutine again
; terminate program

A word gap has been created for swap flag. This is equivalent to a dummy push. The registers are pushed above this gap.
The swapflag is accessed with [bp-2]. The parameters are accessed in the same manner as the last examples.
We are removing the hole that we created. The hole is removed by restoring the value of SP that it had at the time of snapshot or at the value it had before the local variable was created. This can be replaced with “add sp, 2” however the one used in the code is preferred since it does not require to remember how much space for local variables was allocated in the start. After this operation SP points to the old value of BP from where we can proceed as usual.

We needed memory to store the swap flag. The fact that it is in the stack segment or the data segment doesn’t bother us. This will just change the addressing scheme.
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EXERCISES
1. Replace the following valid instruction with a single instruction that has the same effect. Don’t consider the effect on flags. push word L1 jmp L2
L1:

2. Replace the following invalid instructions with a single instruction that has the same effect.
a.

pop

ip

b.

mov

ip, L5

c.

sub mov sp, 2
[ss:sp], ax

d.

mov ax, [ss:sp] add sp, 2

e.

add mov sp, 6 ip, [ss:sp-6]

3. Write a recursive function to calculate the Fibonacci of a number.
The number is passed as a parameter via the stack and the calculated Fibonacci number is returned in the AX register. A local variable should be used to store the return value from the first recursive call. Fibonacci function is defined as follows:
Fibonacci(0) = 0
Fibonacci(1) = 1
Fibonacci(n) = Fibonacci(n-1) + Fibonacci(n-2)

4. Write the above Fibonacci function iteratively.
HINT: Use two registers to hold the current and the previous
Fibonacci numbers in a loop.
5. Write a function switch_stack meant to change the current stack and will be called as below. The function should destroy no registers. push word [new_stack_segment] push word [new_stack_offset] call switch_stack

6. Write a function “addtoset” that takes offset of a function and remembers this offset in an array that can hold a maximum of 8 offsets. It does nothing if there are already eight offsets in the set.
Write another function “callset” that makes a call to all functions in the set one by one.
7. Do the above exercise such that “callset” does not use a CALL or a
JMP to invoke the functions.
HINT: Setup the stack appropriately such that the RET will execute the first function, its RET execute the next and so on till the last RET returns to the caller of “callset.”
8. Make an array of 0x80 bytes and treat it as one of 0x400 bits. Write a function myalloc that takes one argument, the number of bits. It finds that many consecutive zero bits in the array, makes them one, and returns in AX the index of the first bit. Write another function myfree that takes two arguments, index of a bit in the array, and the number of bits. It makes that many consecutive bits zero, whatever their previous values are, starting from the index in the first argument. 9. [Circular Queue] Write functions to implement circular queues.
Declare 16x32 words of data for 16 queues numbered from 0 to 15.
Each queue has a front index, a rear index and 30 locations for data totaling to 32 words. Declare another word variable whose 16 bits correspond to the 16 queues and a 1 bit signals that the corresponding queue is used and a 0 bit signals that it is free. Write a function “qcreate” that returns a queue number after finding a free queue or -1 if it failed. Write a function “qdestroy” that marks the queue as free. Write two other functions “qadd” and “qremove” that
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can add and remove items from the circular queue. The two functions return 0 if they failed and 1 otherwise.
10. [Linked List] Declare 1024 nodes of four bytes each. The first 2 bytes will be used for data and the next 2 bytes for storing the offset of another node. Also declare a word variable “firstfree” to store the offset of the first free node. Write the following five functions:
a. “init” chains all 1024 nodes into a list with offset of first node in firstfree, offset of the second node in the later two bytes of the first node and so on. The later two bytes of the last node contains zero.
b. “createlist” returns the offset of the node stored in firstfree through AX. It sets firstfree to the offset stored in the later two bytes of that node, and it sets the later two bytes of that node to zero.
c. “insertafter” takes two parameters, the offset of a node and a word data. It removes one node from freelist just like
“createlist” and inserts it after the said node and updates the new node’s data part.
d. “deleteafter” takes a node as its parameter and removes the node immediately after it in the linked list if there is one.
e. “deletelist” takes a node as its parameters and traverses the linked list starting at this node and removes all nodes from it and add them back to the free list.

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6
Display Memory
The debugger gives a very close vision of the processor. That is why every program written till now was executed inside the debugger. Also the debugger is a very useful tool in assembly language program development, since many bugs only become visible when each instruction is independently monitored the way the debugger allows us to do. We will now be using the display screen in character mode, the way DOS uses this screen. The way we will access this screen is specific to the IBM PC.
6.1. ASCII CODES
The computer listens, sees, and speaks in numbers. Even a character is a number inside the computer. For example the keyboard is labeled with characters however when we press ‘A’, a specific number is transferred from the keyboard to the computer. Our program interprets that number as the character ‘A’. When the same number comes on display, the Video Graphics
Adapter (VGA) in our computer shows the shape of ‘A’. Even the shape is stored in binary numbers with a one bit representing a pixel on the screen that is turned on and a zero bit representing a pixel that is not glowing. This example is considering a white on black display and no colors. This is the way a shape is drawn on the screen. The interpretation of ‘A’ is performed by the VGA card, while the monitor or CRT (cathode ray tube) only glows the pixels on and turns them off. The keyboard has a key labeled ‘A’ and pressing it the screen shows ‘A’ but all that happened inside was in numbers. An ‘A’ on any computer and any operating system is an ‘A’ on every other computer and operating system. This is because a standard numeric representation of all commonly used characters has been developed. This is called the ASCII code, where ASCII stands for American Standard Code for
Information Interchange. The name depicts that this is a code that allows the interchange of information; ‘A’ written on one computer will remain an ‘A’ on another. The ASCII table lists all defined characters and symbols and their standardized numbers. All ASCII based computers use the same code. There are few other standards like EBCDIC and gray codes, but ASCII has become the most prevalent standard and is used for Internet communication as well.
It has become the de facto standard for global communication. The character mode displays of our computer use the ASCII standard. Some newer operating systems use a new standard Unicode but it is not relevant to us in the current discussion.
Standard ASCII has 128 characters with assigned numbers from 0 to 127.
When IBM PC was introduced, they extended the standard ASCII and defined
128 more characters. Thus extending the total number of symbols from 128 to 256 numbered from 0 to 255 fitting in an 8-bit byte. The newer characters were used for line drawing, window corners, and some non-English characters. The need for these characters was never felt on teletype terminals, but with the advent of IBM PC and its full screen display, these semi-graphics characters were the need of the day. Keep in mind that at that time there was no graphics mode available.
The extended ASCII code is just a de facto industry standard but it is not defined by an organization like the standard ASCII. Printers, displays, and all other peripherals related to the IBM PC understand the ASCII code. If the

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code for ‘A’ is sent to the printer, the printer will print the shape of ‘A’, if it is sent to the display, the VGA card will form the shape of ‘A’ on the CRT. If it is sent to another computer via the serial port, the other computer will understand that this is an ‘A’.
The important thing to observe in the ASCII table is the contiguous arrangement of the uppercase alphabets (41-5A), the lowercase alphabets
(61-7A), and the numbers (30-39). This helps in certain operations with
ASCII, for example converting the case of characters by adding or subtracting
0x20 from it. It also helps in converting a digit into its ASCII representation by adding 0x30 to it.
6.2. DISPLAY MEMORY FORMATION
We will explore the working of the display with ASCII codes, since it is our immediately accessible hardware. When 0x40 is sent to the VGA card, it will turn pixels on and off in such a way that a visual representation of ‘A’ appears on the screen. It has no reality, just an interpretation. In later chapters we will program the VGA controller to display a new shape when the ASCII of ‘A’ is received by it.
The video device is seen by the computer as a memory area containing the
ASCII codes that are currently displayed on the screen and a set of I/O ports controlling things like the resolution, the cursor height, and the cursor position. The VGA memory is seen by the computer just like its own memory.
There is no difference; rather the computer doesn’t differentiate, as it is accessible on the same bus as the system memory. Therefore if that appropriate block of the screen is cleared, the screen will be cleared. If the
ASCII of ‘A’ is placed somewhere in that block, the shape of ‘A’ will appear on the screen at a corresponding place.
This correspondence must be defined as the memory is a single dimensional space while the screen is two dimensional having 80 rows and
25 columns. The memory is linearly mapped on this two dimensional space, just like a two dimensional is mapped in linear memory. There is one word per character in which a byte is needed for the ASCII code and the other byte is used for the character’s attributes discussed later. Now the first 80 words will correspond to the first row of the screen and the next 80 words will correspond to the next row. By making the memory on the video controller accessible to the processor via the system bus, the processor is now in control of what is displayed on the screen.
The three important things that we discussed are.
• One screen location corresponds to a word in the video memory
• The video controller memory is accessible to the processor like its own memory.
• ASCII code of a character placed at a cell in the VGA memory will cause the corresponding ASCII shape to be displayed on the corresponding screen location.
Display Memory Base Address
The memory at which the video controller’s memory is mapped must be a standard, so that the program can be written in a video card independent manner. Otherwise if different vendors map their video memory at different places in the address space, as was the problem in the start, writing software was a headache. BIOS vendors had a problem of dealing with various card vendors. The IBM PC text mode color display is now fixed so that system software can work uniformly. It was fixed at the physical memory location of
B8000. The first byte at this location contains the ASCII for the character displayed at the top left of the video screen. Dropping the zero we can load the rest in a segment register to access the video memory. If we do something in this memory, the effect can be seen on the screen. For example we can
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write a virus that makes any character we write drop to the bottom of the screen. Attribute Byte
The second byte in the word designated for one screen location holds the foreground and background colors for the character. This is called its video attribute. So the pair of the ASCII code in one byte and the attribute in the second byte makes the word that corresponds to one location on the screen.
The lower address contains the code while the higher one contains the attribute. The attribute byte as detailed below has the RGB for the foreground and the background. It has an intensity bit for the foreground color as well thus making 16 possible colors of the foreground and 8 possible colors for the background. When bit 7 is set the character keeps on blinking on the screen. This bit has some more interpretations like background intensity that has to be activated in the video controller through its I/O ports. 7
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0










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0

Blinking of foreground character
Red component of background color
Green component of background color
Blue component of background color
Intensity component of foreground color
Red component of foreground color
Green component of foreground color
Blue component of foreground color

Display Examples
Both DS and ES can be used to access the video memory. However we commonly keep DS for accessing our data, and load ES with the segment of video memory. Loading a segment register with an immediate operand is not allowed in the 8088 architecture. We therefore load the segment register via a general purpose register. Other methods are loading from a memory location and a combination of push and pop. mov mov

ax, 0xb800 es, ax

This operation has opened a window to the video memory. Now the following instruction will print an ‘A’ on the top left of the screen in white color on black background. mov word [es:0], 0x0741

The segment override is used since ES is pointing to the video memory.
Since the first word is written to, the character will appear at the top left of the screen. The 41 that goes in the lower byte is the ASCII code for ‘A’. The
07 that goes in the higher byte is the attribute with I=0, R=1, G=1, B=1 for the foreground, meaning white color in low intensity and R=0, G=0, B=0 for the background meaning black color and the most significant bit cleared so that there is no blinking. Now consider the following instruction. mov word [es:160], 0x1230

This is displayed 80 words after the start and there are 80 characters in one screen row. Therefore this is displayed on the first column of the second line. The ASCII code used is 30, which represents a ‘0’ while the attribute byte is 12 meaning green color on black background.
We take our first example to clear the screen.

Example 6.1
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; clear the screen
[org 0x0100] mov ax, 0xb800 mov es, ax mov di, 0

07

The code for space is 20 while 07 is the normal attribute of low intensity white on black with no blinking. Even to clear the screen or put a blank on a location there is a numeric code.
DI is incremented twice since each screen location corresponds to two byte in video memory.
DI is compared with 80*25*2=4000. The last word location that corresponds to the screen is 3998.

08
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nextchar:

; load video base in ax
; point es to video base
; point di to top left column

mov add cmp jne word [es:di], 0x0720 ; clear next char on screen di, 2
; move to next screen location di, 4000
; has the whole screen cleared nextchar ; if no clear next position

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

Inside the debugger the operation of clearing the screen cannot be observed since the debugger overwrites whatever is displayed on the screen.
Directly executing the COM file from the command prompt *, we can see that the screen is cleared. The command prompt that reappeared is printed after the termination of our application. This is the first application that can be directly executed to see some output on the screen.
6.3. HELLO WORLD IN ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE
To declare a character in assembly language, we store its ASCII code in a byte. The assembler provides us with another syntax that doesn’t forces us to remember the ASCII code. The assembler also provides a syntax that simplifies declaration of consecutive characters, usually called a string. The three ways used below are identical in their meaning. db db db 0x61, 0x61, 0x63
'a', 'b', 'c'
'abc'

When characters are stored in any high level or low level language the actual thing stored in a byte is their ASCII code. The only thing the language helps in is a simplified declaration.
Traditionally the first program in higher level languages is to print “hello world” on the screen. However due to the highly granular nature of assembly language, we are only now able to write it in assembly language. In writing this program, we make a generic routine that can print any string on the screen. Example 6.2
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; hello world in assembly
[org 0x0100] jmp start message: length:

db dw 'hello world'
11

; string to be printed
; length of the string

; subroutine to clear the screen clrscr: push es push ax push di

Remember that if this example is run in a DOS window on some newer operating systems, a full screen DOS application must be run before this program so that screen access is enabled.
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mov mov mov mov add cmp jne

word [es:di], 0x0720 ; clear next char on screen di, 2
; move to next screen location di, 4000
; has the whole screen cleared nextloc ; if no clear next position

pop pop pop ret nextloc:

ax, 0xb800 es, ax di, 0

di ax es

; point es to video base
; point di to top left column

; subroutine to print a string at top left of screen
; takes address of string and its length as parameters printstr: push bp mov bp, sp push es push ax push cx push si push di mov mov mov mov mov mov

start:

mov mov add add loop

al, [si]
[es:di], ax di, 2 si, 1 nextchar pop pop pop pop pop pop ret

nextchar:

ax, es, di, si, cx, ah, 0xb800 ax 0
[bp+6]
[bp+4]
0x07

di si cx ax es bp 4

;
;
;
;
;

point es to video base point di to top left column point si to string load length of string in cx normal attribute fixed in al

;
;
;
;
;

load next char of string show this char on screen move to next screen location move to next char in string repeat the operation cx times

call clrscr

; call the clrscr subroutine

mov push push call ax, message ax word [length] printstr ; push address of message
; push message length
; call the printstr subroutine

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

The string definition syntax discussed above is used to declare a string “hello world” of 11 bytes and the length is stored in a separate variable. The code to clear the screen from the last example is written in the form of a subroutine. Since the subroutine had no parameters, only modified registers are saved and restored from the stack.
The standard subroutine format with parameters received via stack and all registers saved and restored is used.
ES is initialized to point to the video memory via the AX register.
Two pointer registers are used; SI to point to the string and DI to point to the top left location of the screen. CX is loaded with the length of the string. Normal attribute of low intensity white on black with no blinking is loaded in the AH register.
The next character from the string is loaded into AL. Now AH holds the attribute and AL the ASCII code of the character. This pair is
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written on the video memory using DI with the segment override prefix for ES to access the video memory segment.
The string pointer is incremented by one while the video memory pointer is incremented by two since one char corresponds to a word on the screen.
The loop instruction used is equivalent to a combination of “dec cx” and “jnz nextchar.” The loop is executed CX times.
The registers pushed on the stack are recovered in opposite order and the “ret 4” instruction removes the two parameters placed on the stack.
Memory can be directly pushed on the stack.

When the program is executed, screen is cleared and the greetings is displayed on the top left of the screen. This screen location and the attribute used were hard coded in the program and can also be made variable. Then we will be able to print anywhere on the screen.
6.4. NUMBER PRINTING IN ASSEMBLY
Another problem related to the display is printing numbers. Every high level language allows some simple way to print numbers on the screen. As we have seen, everything on the screen is a pair of ASCII code and its attribute and a number is a raw binary number and not a collection of ASCII codes.
For example a 10 is stored as a 10 and not as the ASCII code of 1 followed by the ASCII code of 0. If this 10 is stored in a screen location, the output will be meaningless, as the character associate to ASCII code 10 will be shown on the screen. So there is a process that converts a number in its ASCII representation. This process works for any number in any base. We will discuss our examples with respect to the decimal base and later observe the effect of changing to different bases.
Number Printing Algorithm
The key idea is to divide the number by the base number, 10 in the case of decimal. The remainder can be from 0-9 and is the right most digit of the original number. The remaining digits fall in the quotient. The remainder can be easily converted into its ASCII equivalent and printed on the screen. The other digits can be printed in a similar manner by dividing the quotient again by 10 to separate the next digit and so on.
However the problem with this approach is that the first digit printed is the right most one. For example 253 will be printed as 352. The remainder after first division was 3, after second division was 5 and after the third division was 2. We have to somehow correct the order so that the actual number 253 is displayed, and the trick is to use the stack since the stack is a Last In
First Out structure so if 3, 5, and 2 are pushed on it, 2, 5, and 3 will come out in this order. The steps of our algorithm are outlined below.
• Divide the number by base (10 in case of decimal)
• The remainder is its right most digit
• Convert the digit to its ASCII representation (Add 0x30 to the remainder in case of decimal)
• Save this digit on stack
• If the quotient is non-zero repeat the whole process to get the next digit, otherwise stop
• Pop digits one by one and print on screen left to right
DIV Instruction
The division used in the process is integer division and not floating point division. Integer division gives an integer quotient and an integer remainder.
A division algorithm is now needed. Fortunately or unfortunately there is a
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DIV instruction available in the 8088 processor. There are two forms of the
DIV instruction. The first form divides a 32bit number in DX:AX by its 16bit operand and stores the 16bit quotient in AX and the 16bit remainder in DX.
The second form divides a 16bit number in AX by its 8bit operand and stores the 8bit quotient in AL and the 8bit remainder in AH. For example “DIV BL” has an 8bit operand, so the implied dividend is 16bit and is stored in the AX register and “DIV BX” has a 16bit operand, so the implied dividend is 32bit and is therefore stored in the concatenation of the DX and AX registers. The higher word is stored in DX and the lower word in AX.
If a large number is divided by a very small number it is possible that the quotient is larger than the space provided for it in the implied destination. In this case an interrupt is automatically generated and the program is usually terminated as a result. This is called a divide overflow error; just like the calculator shows an –E– when the result cannot be displayed. This interrupt will be discussed later in the discussion of interrupts.
DIV (divide) performs an unsigned division of the accumulator (and its extension) by the source operand. If the source operand is a byte, it is divided into the two-byte dividend assumed to be in registers AL and AH. The byte quotient is returned in AL, and the byte remainder is returned in AH. If the source operand is a word, it is divided into the two-word dividend in registers AX and DX. The word quotient is returned in AX, and the word remainder is returned in DX. If the quotient exceeds the capacity of its destination register (FF for byte source, FFFF for word source), as when division by zero is attempted, a type 0 interrupt is generated, and the quotient and remainder are undefined.
Number Printing Example
The next example introduces a subroutine that can print a number received as its only argument at the top left of the screen using the algorithm just discussed.
Example 6.3
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; number printing algorithm
[org 0x0100] jmp start
;;;;; COPY LINES 008-025 FROM EXAMPLE 6.2 (clrscr) ;;;;;
; subroutine to print a number at top left of screen
; takes the number to be printed as its parameter printnum: push bp mov bp, sp push es push ax push bx push cx push dx push di mov mov mov mov mov nextdigit:

ax, es, ax, bx, cx,

mov div add push inc cmp jnz mov 0xb800 ax [bp+4]
10
0

;
;
;
;

point es to video base load number in ax use base 10 for division initialize count of digits

dx, 0 bx dl, 0x30 dx cx ax, 0 nextdigit ;
;
;
;
;
;
;

zero upper half of dividend divide by 10 convert digit into ascii value save ascii value on stack increment count of values is the quotient zero if no divide it again

di, 0

; point di to top left column

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pop dx mov dh, 0x07 mov [es:di], dx add di, 2 loop nextpos

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nextpos:

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The registers are saved as an essential practice. The only parameter received is the number to be printed.

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ES is initialized to video memory. AX holds the number to be printed. BX is the desired base, and can be loaded from a parameter.
CX holds the number of digits pushed on the stack. This count is initialized to zero, incremented with every digit pushed and is used when the digits are popped one by one.

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DX must be zeroed as our dividend is in AX and we want a 32bit division. After the division AX holds the quotient and DX holds the remainder. Actually the remainder is only in DL since the remainder can be from 0 to 9.

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The remainder is converted into its ASCII representation and saved on the stack. The count of digits on the stack is incremented as well.

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If the quotient is zero, all digits have been saved on the stack and if it is non-zero, we have to repeat the process to print the next digit.

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DI is initialized to point to the top left of the screen, called the cursor home. If the screen location is to become a parameter, the value loaded in DI will change.

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A digit is popped off the stack, the attribute byte is appended to it and it is displayed on the screen.

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The next screen location is two bytes ahead so DI is incremented by two. The process is repeated CX times which holds the number of digits pushed on the stack.

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We pop the registers pushed and “ret 2” to discard the only parameter on the stack.

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The main program clears the screen and calls the printnum subroutine to print 4529 on the top left of the screen.

pop pop pop pop pop pop pop ret start:

call

;
;
;
;
;

Course Code: CS401

remove a digit from the stack use normal attribute print char on screen move to next screen location repeat for all digits on stack

di dx cx bx ax es bp
2
clrscr

mov ax, 4529 push ax call printnum mov ax, 0x4c00 int 0x21

; call the clrscr subroutine

; place number on stack
; call the printnum subroutine
; terminate program

When the program is executed 4529 is printed on the top left of the screen.
This algorithm is versatile in that the base number can be changed and the printing will be in the desired base. For example if “mov bx, 10” is changed to
“mov bx, 2” the output will be in binary as 001000110110001. Similarly changing it to “mov bx, 8” outputs the number in octal as 10661. Printing it in hexadecimal is a bit tricky, as the ASCII codes for A-F do not consecutively start after the codes for 0-9. Inside the debugger observe the working of the algorithm is just as described in the above illustration. The digits are
78
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separated one by one and saved on the stack. From bottom to top, the stack holds 0034, 0035, 0032, and 0039 after the first loop is completed. The next loop pops them one by one and routes them to the screen.
6.5. SCREEN LOCATION CALCULATION
Until now our algorithms used a fixed attribute and displayed at a fixed screen location. We will change that to use any position on the screen and any attribute. For mapping from the two dimensional coordinate system of the screen to the one dimensional memory, we need to multiply the row number by 80 since there are 80 columns per row and add the column number to it and again multiply by two since there are 2 bytes for each character. For this purpose the multiplication routine written previously can be used.
However we introduce an instruction of the 8088 microprocessor at this time that can multiply 8bit or 16bit numbers.
MUL Instruction
MUL (multiply) performs an unsigned multiplication of the source operand and the accumulator. If the source operand is a byte, then it is multiplied by register AL and the double-length result is returned in AH and AL. If the source operand is a word, then it is multiplied by register AX, and the double-length result is returned in registers DX and AX.
String Printing at Desired Location
We modify the string printing program to take the x-position, the yposition, and the attribute as parameters. The desired location on the screen can be calculated with the following formulae. location = ( hypos * 80 + epos ) * 2

Example 6.4
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; hello world at desired screen location
[org 0x0100] jmp start message: length:

db dw 'hello world'
11

; string to be printed
; length of the string

;;;;; COPY LINES 008-025 FROM EXAMPLE 6.2 (clrscr) ;;;;;
; subroutine to print a string at top left of screen
; takes x position, y position, string attribute, address of string
; and its length as parameters printstr: push bp mov bp, sp push es push ax push cx push si push di mov mov mov mull add shl mov mov mov mov nextchar: ax, 0xb800 es, ax al, 80 byte [bp+10] ax, [bp+12] ax, 1 dial si, [bp+6] cx, [bp+4] ah, [bp+8]

mov mov add

al, [si]
[es:di], ax di, 2

; point es to video base
; load al with columns per row
; multiply with y position
; add x position
; turn into byte offset
; point di to required location
; point si to string
; load length of string in cx
; load attribute in ah
; load next char of string
; show this char on screen
; move to next screen location

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add si, 1 loop nextchar pop pop pop pop pop pop ret start:

Course Code: CS401

; move to next char in string
; repeat the operation cx times

di si cx ax es bp 10

call clrscr mov push mov push mov push mov push push call

ax, 30 ax ax, 20 ax ax, 1 ax ax, message ax word [length] printstr mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; call the clrscr subroutine

; push x position
; push y position
; blue on black attribute
; push attribute
; push address of message
; push message length
; call the printstr subroutine
; terminate program

41

Push and pop operations always operate on words; however data can be read as a word or as a byte. For example we read the lower byte of the parameter y-position in this case.

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Shifting is used for multiplication by two, which should always be the case when multiplication or division by a power of two is desired.

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The subroutine had 5 parameters so “ret 10” is used.

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The main program pushes 30 as x-position, 20 as y-position meaning 30th column on 20th row. It pushes 1 as the attribute meaning low intensity blue on black with no blinking.

When the program is executed hello world is displayed at the desired screen location in the desired color. The x-position, y-position, and attribute parameters can be changed and their effect be seen on the screen. The important difference in this example is the use of MUL instruction and the calculation of screen location given the x and y positions.
EXERCISES
1. Replace the following valid instruction with a single instruction that has the same effect. Don’t consider the effect on flags. dec cx jnz L3

2. Write an infinite loop that shows two asterisks moving from right and left centers of the screen to the middle and then back. Use two empty nested loops with large counters to introduce some delay so that the movement is noticeable.
3. Write a function “printaddr” that takes two parameters, the segment and offset parts of an address, via the stack. The function should print the physical address corresponding to the segment offset pair passed at the top left of the screen. The address should be printed in hex and will therefore occupy exactly five columns. For example, passing 5600 and 7800 as parameters should result in 5D800 printed at the top left of the screen.
4. Write code that treats an array of 500 bytes as one of 4000 bits and for each blank position on the screen (i.e. space) sets the corresponding bit to zero and the rest to one.
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5. Write a function “drawrect” that takes four parameters via the stack.
The parameters are top, left, bottom, and right in this order. The function should display a rectangle on the screen using the characters + - and |.

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7
String Instructions
7.1. STRING PROCESSING
Till now very simple instructions of the 8088 microprocessor have been introduced. In this chapter we will discuss a bit more powerful instructions that can process blocks of data in one go. They are called block processing or string instructions. This is the appropriate place to discuss these instructions as we have just introduced a block of memory, which is the video memory. The vision of this memory for the processor is just a block of memory starting at a special address. For example the clear screen operation initializes this whole block to 0741.
There are just 5 block processing instructions in 8088. In the primitive form, the instructions themselves operate on a single cell of memory at one time. However a special prefix repeats the instruction in hardware called the
REP prefix. The REP prefix allows these instructions to operate on a number of data elements in one instruction. This is not like a loop; rather this repetition is hard coded in the processor. The five instructions are STOS,
LODS, CMPS, SCAS, and MOVS called store string, load string, compare string, scan string, and move string respectively. MOVS is the instruction that allows memory to memory moves, as was discussed in the exceptions to the memory to memory movement rules. String instructions are complex instruction in that they perform a number of tasks against one instruction.
And with the REP prefix they perform the task of a complex loop in one instruction. This causes drastic speed improvements in operations on large blocks of memory. The reduction in code size and the improvement in speed are the two reasons why these instructions were introduced in the 8088 processor. There are a number of common things in these instructions. Firstly they all work on a block of data. DI and SI are used to access memory. SI and DI are called source index and destination index because of string instructions.
Whenever an instruction needs a memory source, DS:SI holds the pointer to it. An override is possible that can change the association from DS but the default is DS. Whenever a string instruction needs a memory destination,
ES:DI holds the pointer to it. No override is possible in this case. Whenever a byte register is needed, AL holds the value. Whenever a word register is used
AX holds the value. For example STOS stores a register in memory so AL or
AX is the register used and ES:DI points to the destination. The LODS instruction loads from memory to register so the source is pointed to by
DS:SI and the register used is AL or AX.
String instructions work on a block of data. A block has a start and an end. The instructions can work from the start towards the end and from the end towards the start. In fact they can work in both directions, and they must be allowed to work in both directions otherwise certain operations with overlapping blocks become impossible. This problem is discussed in detail later. The direction of movement is controlled with the Direction Flag (DF) in the flags register. If this flag is cleared the direction is from lower addresses towards higher addresses and if this flag is set the direction is from higher addresses to lower addresses. If DF is cleared, this is called the autoincrement mode of string instruction, and if DF is set, this is called the autodecrement mode. There are two instructions to set and clear the direction flag. Computer Architecture & Assembly Language Programming
CS401@vu.edu.pk
cld std Course Code: CS401

; clear direction flag
; set direction flag

Every string instruction has two variants; a byte variant and a word variant. For example the two variants of STOS are STOSB and STOSW.
Similarly the variants for the other string instructions are attained by appending a B or a W to the instruction name. The operation of each of the string instructions and each of the repetition prefixes is discussed below.
STOS
STOS transfers a byte or word from register AL or AX to the string element addressed by ES:DI and updates DI to point to the next location. STOS is often used to clear a block of memory or fill it with a constant.
The implied source will always be in AL or AX. If DF is clear, SI will be incremented by one or two depending of whether STOSB or STOSW is used.
If DF is set SI will be decremented by one or two depending of whether
STOSB or STOSW is used. If REP is used before this instruction, the process will be repeated CX times. CX is called the counter register because of the special treatment given to it in the LOOP and JCXZ instructions and the REP set of prefixes. So if REP is used with STOS the whole block of memory will be filled with a constant value. REP will always decrement CX like the LOOP instruction and this cannot be changed with the direction flag. It is also independent of whether the byte or the word variant is used. It always decrements by one; therefore CX has count of repetitions and not the count of bytes.
LODS
LODS transfers a byte or word from the source location DS:SI to AL or AX and updates SI to point to the next location. LODS is generally used in a loop and not with the REP prefix since the value previously loaded in the register is overwritten if the instruction is repeated and only the last value of the block remains in the register.
SCAS
SCAS compares a source byte or word in register AL or AX with the destination string element addressed by ES:DI and updates the flags. DI is updated to point to the next location. SCAS is often used to locate equality or in-equality in a string through the use of an appropriate prefix.
SCAS is a bit different from the other instructions. This is more like the
CMP instruction in that it does subtraction of its operands. The prefixes
REPE (repeat while equal) and REPNE (repeat while not equal) are used with this instruction. The instruction is used to locate a byte in AL in the block of memory. When the first equality or inequality is encountered; both have uses. For example this instruction can be used to search for a 0 in a null terminated string to calculate the length of the string. In this form REPNE will be used to repeat while the null is not there.
MOVS
MOVS transfers a byte or word from the source location DS:SI to the destination ES:DI and updates SI and DI to point to the next locations.
MOVS is used to move a block of memory. The DF is important in the case of overlapping blocks. For example when the source and destination blocks overlap and the source is below the destination copy must be done upwards while if the destination is below the source copy must be done downwards.
We cannot perform both these copy operations properly if the direction flag was not provided. If the source is below the destination and an upwards copy is used the source to be copied is destroyed. If however the copy is done downwards the portion of source destroyed is the one that has already been
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copied. Therefore we need the control of the direction flag to handle this problem. This problem is further detailed in a later example.
CMPS
CMPS subtracts the source location DS:SI from the destination location
ES:DI. Source and Destination are unaffected. SI and DI are updated accordingly. CMPS compares two blocks of memory for equality or inequality of the block. It subtracts byte by byte or word by word. If used with a REPE or a REPNE prefix is repeats as long as the blocks are same or as long as they are different. For example it can be used for find a substring. A substring is a string that is contained in another string. For example “has” is contained in “Mary has a little lamp.” Using CMPS we can do the operation of a complex loop in a single instruction. Only the REPE and REPNE prefixes are meaningful with this instruction.
REP Prefix
REP repeats the following string instruction CX times. The use of CX is implied with the REP prefix. The decrement in CX doesn’t affect any flags and the jump is also independent of the flags, just like JCXZ.
REPE and REPNE Prefixes
REPE or REPZ repeat the following string instruction while the zero flag is set and REPNE or REPNZ repeat the following instruction while the zero flag is not set. REPE or REPNE are used with the SCAS or CMPS instructions.
The other string instructions have nothing to do with the condition since they are performing no comparison. Also the initial state of flags before the string instruction does not affect the operation. The most complex operation of the string instruction is with these prefixes.
7.2. STOS EXAMPLE – CLEARING THE SCREEN
We take the example of clearing the screen and observe that how simple and fast this operation is with the string instructions. Even if there are three instructions in a loop they have to be fetched and decoded with every iteration and the time of three instructions is multiplied by the number of iterations of the loop. In the case of string instructions, many operations are short circuited. The instruction is fetched and decoded once and only the execution is repeated CX times. That is why string instructions are so efficient in their operation. The program to clear the screen places 0720 on the 2000 words on the screen.
Example 7.1
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; clear screen using string instructions
[org 0x0100] jmp start
; subroutine to clear the screen clrscr: push es push ax push cx push di mov mov xor mov mov ax, es, di, ax, cx,

0xb800 ax di
0x0720
2000

cld rep stosw

pop

di

;
;
;
;

point es to video base point di to top left column space char in normal attribute number of screen locations

; auto increment mode
; clear the whole screen

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pop pop pop ret start:

Course Code: CS401

cx ax es

call clrscr

; call clrscr subroutine

mov int ; terminate program

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

A space efficient way to zero a 16bit register is to XOR it with itself.
Remember that exclusive or results in a zero whenever the bits at the source and at the destination are same. This instruction takes just two bytes compared to “mov di, 0” which would take three. This is a standard way to zero a 16bit register.

Inside the debugger the operation of the string instruction can be monitored. The trace into command can be used to monitor every repetition of the string instruction. However screen will not be cleared inside the debugger as the debugger overwrites its display on the screen so CX decrements with every iteration, DI increments by 2. The first access is made at B800:0000 and the second at B800:0002 and so on. A complex and inefficient loop is replaced with a fast and simple instruction that does the same operation many times faster.
7.3. LODS EXAMPLE – STRING PRINTING
The use of LODS with the REP prefix is not meaningful as only the last value loaded will remain in the register. It is normally used in a loop paired with a STOS instruction to do some block processing. We use LODS to pick the data, do the processing, and then use STOS to put it back or at some other place. For example in string printing, we will use LODS to read a character of the string, attach the attribute byte to it, and use STOS to write it on the video memory.
The following example will print the string using string instructions.
Example 7.2
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; hello world printing using string instructions
[org 0x0100] jmp start message: length:

db dw 'hello world'
11

; string to be printed
; length of string

;;;;; COPY LINES 005-024 FROM EXAMPLE 7.1 (clrscr) ;;;;;
; subroutine to print a string
; takes the x position, y position, attribute, address of string and
; its length as parameters printstr: push bp mov bp, sp push es push ax push cx push si push di mov mov mov mul add shl mov mov mov mov

ax, 0xb800 es, ax al, 80 byte [bp+10] ax, [bp+12] ax, 1 di,ax si, [bp+6] cx, [bp+4] ah, [bp+8]

;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

point es to video base load al with columns per row multiply with y position add x position turn into byte offset point di to required location point si to string load length of string in cx load attribute in ah

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nextchar:

cld lodsb stosw loop nextchar pop pop pop pop pop pop ret start:

;
;
;
;

Course Code: CS401

auto increment mode load next char in al print char/attribute pair repeat for the whole string

di si cx ax es bp 10

call clrscr mov push mov push mov push mov push push call

ax, 30 ax ax, 20 ax ax, 1 ax ax, message ax word [length] printstr mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; call the clrscr subroutine

; push x position
; push y position
; blue on black attribute
; push attribute
; push address of message
; push message length
; call the printstr subroutine
; terminate program

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Both operations are in auto increment mode.

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DS is automatically initialized to our segment. ES points to video memory. SI points to the address of our string. DI points to the screen location. AH holds the attribute. Whenever we read a character from the string in AL, the attribute byte is implicitly attached and the pair is present in AX. The same effect could not be achieved with a REP prefix as the REP will repeat LODS and then start repeating STOS, but we need to alternate them.

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CX holds the length of the string. Therefore LOOP repeats for each character of the string.

Inside the debugger we observe how LODS and STOS alternate and CX is only used by the LOOP instruction. In the original code there were four instructions inside the loop; now there are only two. This is how string instructions help in reducing code size.
7.4. SCAS EXAMPLE – STRING LENGTH
Many higher level languages do not explicitly store string length; rather they use a null character, a character with an ASCII code of zero, to signal the end of a string. In assembly language programs, it is also easier to store a zero at the end of the string, instead of calculating the length of string, which is very difficult process for longer strings. So we delegate length calculation to the processor and modify our string printing subroutine to take a null terminated string and no length. We use SCASB with REPNE and a zero in AL to find a zero byte in the string. In CX we load the maximum possible size, which is 64K bytes. However actual strings will be much smaller. An important thing regarding SCAS and CMPS is that if they stop due to equality or inequality, the index registers have already incremented.
Therefore when SCAS will stop DI would be pointing past the null character.
Example 7.3
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; hello world printing with a null terminated string
[org 0x0100]

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003
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jmp message: start

db

'hello world', 0

Course Code: CS401

; null terminated string

;;;;; COPY LINES 005-024 FROM EXAMPLE 7.1 (clrscr) ;;;;;
; subroutine to print a string
; takes the x position, y position, attribute, and address of a null
; terminated string as parameters printstr: push bp mov bp, sp push es push ax push cx push si push di push ds pop es mov di, [bp+4] mov cx, 0xffff xor al, al repne scasb mov ax, 0xffff sub ax, cx dec ax jz exit mov mov mov mov mul add shl mov mov mov

nextchar:

cx, ax ax, 0xb800 es, ax al, 80 byte [bp+8] ax, [bp+10] ax, 1 di,ax si, [bp+4] ah, [bp+6]

cld lodsb stosw loop nextchar

exit:

pop pop pop pop pop pop ret

start:

call clrscr

;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

load ds in es point di to string load maximum number in cx load a zero in al find zero in the string load maximum number in ax find change in cx exclude null from length no printing if string is empty

; load string length in cx
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

point es to video base load al with columns per row multiply with y position add x position turn into byte offset point di to required location point si to string load attribute in ah

;
;
;
;

auto increment mode load next char in al print char/attribute pair repeat for the whole string

di si cx ax es bp 8

mov push mov push mov push mov push call

ax, 30 ax ax, 20 ax ax, 1 ax ax, message ax printstr

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; call the clrscr subroutine

; push x position
; push y position
; blue on black attribute
; push attribute
; push address of message
; call the printstr subroutine
; terminate program

Another way to load a segment register is to use a combination of push and pop. The processor doesn’t match pushes and pops. ES is equalized to DS in this pair of instructions.

Inside the debugger observe the working of the code for length calculation after SCASB has completed its operation.
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LES and LDS Instructions
Since the string instructions need their source and destination in the form of a segment offset pair, there are two special instructions that load a segment register and a general purpose register from two consecutive memory locations. LES loads ES while LDS loads DS. Both these instructions have two parameters, one is the general purpose register to be loaded and the other is the memory location from which to load these registers. The major application of these instructions is when a subroutine receives a segment offset pair as an argument and the pair is to be loaded in a segment and an offset register. According to Intel rules of significance the word at higher address is loaded in the segment register while the word at lower address is loaded in the offset register. As parameters segment should be pushed first so that it ends up at a higher address and the offset should be pushed afterwards. When loading the lower address will be given. For example “lds si, [bp+4]” will load SI from BP+4 and DS from BP+6.
7.5. LES AND LDS EXAMPLE
We modify the string length calculation subroutine to take the segment and offset of the string and use the LES instruction to load that segment offset pair in ES and DI.
Example 7.4
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; hello world printing with length calculation subroutine
[org 0x0100] jmp start message: db

'hello world', 0

; null terminated string

;;;;; COPY LINES 005-024 FROM EXAMPLE 7.1 (clrscr) ;;;;;
; subroutine to calculate the length of a string
; takes the segment and offset of a string as parameters strlen: push bp mov bp,sp push es push cx push di les di, [bp+4] mov cx, 0xffff xor al, al repne scasb mov ax, 0xffff sub ax, cx dec ax pop pop pop pop ret ;
;
;
;
;
;
;

point es:di to string load maximum number in cx load a zero in al find zero in the string load maximum number in ax find change in cx exclude null from length

di cx es bp 4

; subroutine to print a string
; takes the x position, y position, attribute, and address of a null
; terminated string as parameters printstr: push bp mov bp, sp push es push ax push cx push si push di push mov push call

ds ax, [bp+4] ax strlen

; push segment of string
; push offset of string
; calculate string length

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Course Code: CS401

cmp jz mov

; is the string empty
; no printing if string is empty
; save length in cx

mov mov mov mul add shl mov mov mov

nextchar:

ax, 0 exit cx, ax ax, 0xb800 es, ax al, 80 byte [bp+8] ax, [bp+10] ax, 1 di,ax si, [bp+4] ah, [bp+6]

;
;
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;

point es to video base load al with columns per row multiply with y position add x position turn into byte offset point di to required location point si to string load attribute in ah

;
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;
;

auto increment mode load next char in al print char/attribute pair repeat for the whole string

cld lodsb stosw loop nextchar

exit:

pop pop pop pop pop pop ret

di si cx ax es bp 8

start:

call clrscr mov push mov push mov push mov push call ax, 30 ax ax, 20 ax ax, 0x71 ax ax, message ax printstr

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; call the clrscr subroutine

; push x position
; push y position
; blue on white attribute
; push attribute
; push address of message
; call the printstr subroutine
; terminate program

036

The LES instruction is used to load the DI register from BP+4 and the ES register from BP+6.

065

The convention to return a value from a subroutine is to use the AX register. That is why AX is not saved and restored in the subroutine.

Inside the debugger observe that the segment register is pushed followed by the offset. The higher address FFE6 contains the segment and the lower address FFE4 contains the offset. This is because we have a decrementing stack. Then observe the loading of ES and DI from the stack.
7.6. MOVS EXAMPLE – SCREEN SCROLLING
MOVS has the two forms MOVSB and MOVSW. REP allows the instruction to be repeated CX times allowing blocks of memory to be copied. We will perform this copy of the video screen.
Scrolling is the process when all the lines on the screen move one or more lines towards the top of towards the bottom and the new line that appears on the top or the bottom is cleared. Scrolling is a process on which string movement is naturally applicable. REP with MOVS will utilize the full processor power to do the scrolling in minimum time.
In this example we want to scroll a variable number of lines given as argument. Therefore we have to calculate the source address, which is 160 times the number of lines to clear. The destination address is 0, which is the top left of the screen. The lines that scroll up are discarded so the source pointer is placed after them. An equal number of lines at the bottom are cleared. These lines have actually been copied above.
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Example 7.5
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; scroll up the screen
[org 0x0100] jmp start
; subroutine to scroll up the screen
; take the number of lines to scroll as parameter scrollup: push bp mov bp,sp push ax push cx push si push di push es push ds mov mul mov push shl mov sub mov mov mov xor cld rep mov pop rep pop pop pop pop pop pop pop ret start: ax, 80 byte [bp+4] si, ax si si, 1 cx, 2000 cx, ax ax, 0xb800 es, ax ds, ax di, di

ds es di si cx ax bp
2

movsw ax, 0x0720 cx stosw

mov ax,5 push ax call scrollup mov int

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

;
;
;
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;
;
;

load chars per row in ax calculate source position load source position in si save position for later use convert to byte offset number of screen locations count of words to move

;
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point es to video base point ds to video base point di to top left column set auto increment mode scroll up space in normal attribute count of positions to clear clear the scrolled space

; push number of lines to scroll
; call the scroll up subroutine
; terminate program

The beauty of this example is that the two memory blocks are overlapping.
If the source and destination in the above algorithm are swapped in an expectation to scroll down the result is strange. For example if 5 lines were to scroll down, the top five lines of the screen are repeated on the whole screen.
This is where the use of the direction flag comes in.
When the source is five lines below the destination, the first five lines are copied on the first five lines of the destination. However the next five lines to be copied from the source have been destroyed in the process; because they were the same as the first five lines of the destination. The same is the problem with every set of five lines as the source is destroyed during the previous copy. In this situation we must go from bottom of the screen towards the top. Now the last five lines are copied to the last five lines of the destination. The next five lines are copied to next five lines of the destination destroying the last five lines of source; but now these lines are no longer needed and have been previously copied. Therefore the copy will be appropriately done in this case.
We give an example of scrolling down with this consideration. Now we have to calculate the end of the block instead of the start.
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Example 7.6
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; scroll down the screen
[org 0x0100] jmp start
; subroutine to scrolls down the screen
; take the number of lines to scroll as parameter scrolldown: push bp mov bp,sp push ax push cx push si push di push es push ds mov mul push shl mov sub mov sub mov mov mov mov std rep mov pop rep pop pop pop pop pop pop pop ret start:

ax, 80 byte [bp+4] ax ax, 1 si, 3998 si, ax cx, 2000 cx, ax ax, 0xb800 es, ax ds, ax di, 3998

ds es di si cx ax bp
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movsw ax, 0x0720 cx stosw

mov ax,5 push ax call scrolldown mov int

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

;
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load chars per row in ax calculate source position save position for later use convert to byte offset last location on the screen load source position in si number of screen locations count of words to move

;
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point es to video base point ds to video base point di to lower right column set auto decrement mode scroll up space in normal attribute count of positions to clear clear the scrolled space

; push number of lines to scroll
; call scroll down subroutine
; terminate program

7.7. CMPS EXAMPLE – STRING COMPARISON
For the last string instruction, we take string comparison as an example.
The subroutine will take two segment offset pairs containing the address of the two null terminated strings. The subroutine will return 0 if the strings are different and 1 if they are same. The AX register will be used to hold the return value.
Example 7.7
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; comparing null terminated strings
[org 0x0100] jmp start msg1: msg2: msg3: db db db

'hello world', 0
'hello WORLD', 0
'hello world', 0

;;;;; COPY LINES 028-050 FROM EXAMPLE 7.4 (strlen) ;;;;;
; subroutine to compare two strings
; takes segment and offset pairs of two strings to compare

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; returns 1 in ax if they match and 0 other wise strcmp: push bp mov bp,sp push cx push si push di push es push ds

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Three strings are declared out of which two are equal and one is different. 044-045

LDS and LES are used to load the pointers to the two strings in
DS:SI and ES:DI.

070

Since there are 4 parameters to the subroutine “ret 8” is used.

lds les si, [bp+4] di, [bp+8]

; point ds:si to first string
; point es:di to second string

push push call mov ds si strlen cx, ax

;
;
;
;

push segment of first string push offset of first string calculate string length save length in cx

push push call cmp jne

es di strlen cx, ax exitfalse ;
;
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;

push segment of second string push offset of second string calculate string length compare length of both strings return 0 if they are unequal

mov ax, 1 repe cmpsb jcxz exitsimple

; store 1 in ax to be returned
; compare both strings
; are they successfully compared

exitfalse:

mov

ax, 0

; store 0 to mark unequal

exitsimple:

pop pop pop pop pop pop ret

ds es di si cx bp 8

start:

push mov push push mov push call

ds ax, msg1 ax ds ax, msg2 ax strcmp

; push segment of first string

push mov push push mov push call

ds ax, msg1 ax ds ax, msg3 ax strcmp

; push segment of first string

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

; push offset of first string
; push segment of second string
; push offset of second string
; call strcmp subroutine

; push offset of first string
; push segment of third string
; push offset of third string
; call strcmp subroutine

Inside the debugger we observe that REPE is shown as REP. This is because REP and REPE are represented with the same prefix byte. When used with STOS, LODS, and MOVS it functions as REP and when used with
SCAS and CMPS it functions as REPE.
EXERCISES
1. Write code to find the byte in AL in the whole megabyte of memory such that each memory location is compared to AL only once.
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2. Write a far procedure to reverse an array of 64k words such that the first element becomes the last and the last becomes the first and so on. For example if the first word contained 0102h, this value is swapped with the last word. The next word is swapped with the second last word and so on. The routine will be passed two parameters through the stack; the segment and offset of the first element of the array.
3. Write a near procedure to copy a given area on the screen at the center of the screen without using a temporary array. The routine will be passed top, left, bottom, and right in that order through the stack.
The parameters passed will always be within range the height will be odd and the width will be even so that it can be exactly centered.
4. Write code to find two segments in the whole memory that are exactly the same. In other words find two distinct values which if loaded in
ES and DS then for every value of SI [DS:SI]=[ES:SI].
5. Write a function writechar that takes two parameters. The first parameter is the character to write and the second is the address of a memory area containing top, left, bottom, right, current row, current column, normal attribute, and cursor attribute in 8 consecutive bytes. These define a virtual window on the screen.
The function writes the passed character at (current row, current column) using the normal attribute. It then increments current column, If current column goes outside the window, it makes it zero and increments current row. If current row gets out of window, it scrolls the window one line up, and blanks out the new line in the window. In the end, it sets the attribute of the new (current row, current column) to cursor attribute.
6. Write a function “strcpy” that takes the address of two parameters via stack, the one pushed first is source and the second is the destination. The function should copy the source on the destination including the null character assuming that sufficient space is reserved starting at destination.

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8
Software Interrupts
8.1. INTERRUPTS
Interrupts in reality are events that occurred outside the processor and the processor must be informed about them. Interrupts are asynchronous and unpredictable. Asynchronous means that the interrupts occur, independent of the working of the processor, i.e. independent of the instruction currently executing. Synchronous events are those that occur side by side with another activity. Interrupts must be asynchronous as they are generated by the external world which is unaware of the happenings inside the processor.
True interrupts that occur in real time are asynchronous with the execution.
Also it is unpredictable at which time an interrupt will come. The two concepts of being unpredictable and asynchronous are overlapping.
Unpredictable means the time at which an interrupt will come cannot be predicted, while asynchronous means that the interrupt has nothing to do with the currently executing instruction and the current state of the processor. The 8088 processor divides interrupts into two classes. Software interrupts and hardware interrupts. Hardware interrupts are the real interrupts generated by the external world as discussed above. Software interrupts on the contrary are not generated from outside the processor. They just provide an extended far call mechanism. Far all allows us to jump anywhere in the whole megabyte of memory. To return from the target we place both the segment and offset on the stack. Software interrupts show a similar behavior. It however pushes one more thing before both the segment and offset and that is the FLAGS register. Just like the far call loads new values in CS and IP, the interrupt call loads new values in CS, IP, and FLAGS.
Therefore the only way to retain the value of original FLAGS register is to push and pop as part of interrupt call and return instructions. Pushing and popping inside the routine will not work as the routine started with an already tampered value.
The discussion of real time interrupts is deferred till the next chapter. They play the critical part in control applications where external hardware must be control and events and changes therein must be appropriately responded by the processor. To generate an interrupt the INT instruction is used. The routine that executes in response to an INT instruction is called the interrupt service routine (ISR) or the interrupt handler. Taking example from real time interrupts the routine to instruct an external hardware to close the valve of a boiler in response to an interrupt from the pressure sensor is an interrupt routine. The software interrupt mechanism in 8088 uses vectored interrupts meaning that the address of the interrupt routine is not directly mentioned in an interrupt call, rather the address is lookup up from a table. 8088 provides a mechanism for mapping interrupts to interrupt handlers.
Introducing a new entry in this mapping table is called hooking an interrupt.
Syntax of the INT instruction is very simple. It takes a single byte argument varying from 0-255. This is the interrupt number informing the processor, which interrupt is currently of interest. This number correlates to the interrupt handler routine by a routing or vectoring mechanism. A few interrupt numbers in the start are reserved and we generally do not use them. They are related to the processor working. For example INT 0 is the

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divide by zero interrupt. A list of all reserved interrupts is given later. Such interrupts are programmed in the hardware to generate the designated interrupt when the specified condition arises. The remaining interrupts are provided by the processor for our use. Some of these were reserved by the
IBM PC designers to interface user programs with system software like DOS and BIOS. This was the logical choice for them as interrupts provided a very flexible architecture. The remaining interrupts are totally free for use in user software. The correlation process from the interrupt number to the interrupt handler uses a table called interrupt vector table. Its location is fixed to physical memory address zero. Each entry of the table is four bytes long containing the segment and offset of the interrupt routine for the corresponding interrupt number. The first two bytes in the entry contain the offset and the next two bytes contain the segment. The little endian rule of putting the more significant part (segment) at a higher address is seen here as well.
Mathematically offset of the interrupt n will be at nx4 while the segment will be at nx4+2. One entry in this table is called a vector. If the vector is changed for interrupt 0 then INT 0 will take execution to the new handler whose address is now placed at those four bytes. INT 1 vector occupies location 4,
5, 6, and 7 and similarly vector for INT 2 occupies locations 8, 9, 10, and 11.
As the table is located in RAM it can be changed anytime. Immediately after changing it the interrupt mapping is changed and now the interrupt will result in execution of the new routine. This indirection gives the mechanism extreme flexibility.
The operation of interrupt is same whether it is the result of an INT instruction (software interrupt) or it is generated by an external hardware which passes the interrupt number by a different mechanism. The currently executing instruction is completed, the current value of FLAGS is pushed on the stack, then the current code segment is pushed, then the offset of the next instruction is pushed. After this it automatically clears the trap flag and the interrupt flag to disallow further interrupts until the current routine finishes. After this it loads the word at nx4 in IP and the word at nx4+2 in CS if interrupt n was generated. As soon as these values are loaded in CS and IP execution goes to the start of the interrupt handler. When the handler finishes its work it uses the IRET instruction to return to the caller. IRET pops IP, then CS, and then FLAGS. The original value of IF and TF is restored which re-enables further interrupts. IF and TF will be discussed in detail in the discussion of real time interrupts. We have discussed three things till now.
1. The INT and IRET instruction format and syntax
2. The formation of IVT (interrupt vector table)
3. Operation of the processor when an interrupt in generated
Just as discussed in the subroutines chapter, the processor will not match interrupt calls to interrupt returns. If a RETF is used in the end of an ISR the processor will still return to the caller but the FLAGS will remain on the stack which will destroy the expectations of the caller with the stack. If we know what we are doing we may use such different combination of instructions. Generally we will use IRET to return from an interrupt routine.
Apart from indirection the software interrupt mechanism is similar to CALL and RET. Indirection is the major difference.
The operation of INT can be written as:
• sp ← sp+2
• [sp] ← flag
• sp ← sp+2
• if ← 0
• tf ← 0
• [sp] ← cs
• sp ← sp+2
• [sp] ← ip
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• ip ← [0:N*4]
• cs ← [0:N*4+2]
The operation of IRET can be written as:
• ip ← [sp]
• sp ← sp-2
• cs ← [sp]
• sp ← sp-2
• flag ← [sp]
• sp ← sp-2
The above is the microcode description of INT and IRET. To obey an assembly language instruction the processor breaks it down into small operations. By reading the microcode of an instruction its working can be completely understood.
The interrupt mechanism we have studied is an extended far call mechanism. It pushes FLAGS in addition to CS and IP and it loads CS and IP with a special mechanism of indirection. It is just like the table of contents that is located at a fixed position and allows going directly to chapter 3, to chapter 4 etc. If this association is changed in the table of contents the direction of the reader changes. For example if Chapter 2 starts at page 220 while 240 is written in the table of contents, the reader will go to page 240 and not 220. The table of contents entry is a vector to point to map the chapter number to page number. IVT has 256 chapters and the interrupt mechanism looks up the appropriate chapter number to reach the desired page to find the interrupt routine.
Another important similarity is that table of contents is always placed at the start of the book, a well known place. Its physical position is fixed. If some publishers put it at some place, others at another place, the reader will be unable to find the desired chapter. Similarly in 8088 the physical memory address zero is fixed for the IVT and it occupies exactly a kilobyte of memory as the 256x4=1K where 256 is the number of possible interrupt vectors while the size of one vector is 4 bytes.
Interrupts introduce temporary breakage in the program flow, sometimes programmed (software interrupts) and un-programmed at other times
(hardware interrupts). By hooking interrupts various system functionalities can be controlled. The interrupts reserved by the processor and having special functions in 8088 are listed below:
• INT 0, Division by zero
Meaning the quotient did not fit in the destination register. This is a bit different as this interrupt does not return to the next instruction, rather it returns to the same instruction that generated it, a DIV instruction of course. Here INT 0 is automatically generated by a DIV when a specific situation arises, there is no INT 0 instruction.
• INT 1, Trap, Single step Interrupt
This interrupt is used in debugging with the trap flag. If the trap flag is set the Single Step Interrupt is generated after every instruction. By hooking this interrupt a debugger can get control after every instruction and display the registers etc. 8088 was the first processor that has this ability to support debugging.
• INT 2, NMI-Non Maskable Interrupt
Real interrupts come from outside the processor. INT 0 is not real as it is generated from inside. For real interrupts there are two pins in the processor, the INT pin and the NMI pin. The processor can be directed to listen or not to listen to the INT pin. Consider a recording studio, when the recording is going on, doors are closed so that no interruption occurs, and when there is a break, the doors are opened so that if someone is waiting outside can come it. However if there is an urgency like fire outside then the door must be broken and the recording must not be catered for. For such situations is the NMI pin
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which informs about fatal hardware failures in the system and is tied to interrupt 2. INT pin can be masked but NMI cannot be masked.
• INT 3, Debug Interrupt
The only special thing about this interrupt is that it has a single byte opcode and not a two byte combination where the second byte tells the interrupt number. This allows it to replace any instruction whatsoever.
It is also used by the debugger and will be discussed in detail with the debugger working.
• INT 4, Arithmetic Overflow, change of sign bit
The overflow flag is set if the sign bit unexpectedly changes as a result of a mathematical or logical instruction. However the overflow flag signals a real overflow only if the numbers in question are treated as signed numbers. So this interrupt is not automatically generated but as a result of a special instruction INTO (interrupt on overflow) if the overflow flag is set. Otherwise the INTO instruction behaves like a NOP
(no operation).
These are the five interrupts reserved by Intel and are generally not used in our operations.
8.2. HOOKING AN INTERRUPT
To hook an interrupt we change the vector corresponding to that interrupt.
As soon as the interrupt vector changes, that interrupt will be routed to the new handler. Our first example is with the divide by zero interrupt. The normal system defined behavior in response to divide by zero is to display an error message and terminate the program. We will change it to display our own message.
Example 8.1
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; hooking divide by zero interrupt
[org 0x0100] jmp start message: db

'You divided something by zero.', 0

;;;;; COPY LINES 028-050 FROM EXAMPLE 7.4 (strlen) ;;;;;
;;;;; COPY LINES 005-024 FROM EXAMPLE 7.1 (clrscr) ;;;;;
;;;;; COPY LINES 050-090 FROM EXAMPLE 7.4 (printstr) ;;;;;
; divide by zero interrupt handler myisrfor0: push ax push bx push cx push dx push si push di push bp push ds push es push cs pop ds call mov push mov push mov push mov push call

clrscr ax, 30 ax ax, 20 ax ax, 0x71 ax ax, message ax printstr

pop pop pop

; push all regs

; point ds to our data segment
; clear the screen

es ds bp

; push x position
; push y position
; white on blue attribute
; push attribute
; push offset of message
; print message

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pop pop pop pop pop pop iret

Course Code: CS401

di si dx cx bx ax ; return from interrupt

; subroutine to generate a divide by zero interrupt genint0: mov ax, 0x8432
; load a big number in ax mov bl, 2
; use a very small divisor div bl
; interrupt 0 will be generated ret start:

xor mov mov mov call

ax, ax es, ax
; load zero in es word [es:0*4], myisrfor0 ; store offset at n*4
[es:0*4+2], cs
; store segment at n*4+2 genint0 ; generate interrupt 0

mov ax, 0x4c00 int 0x21

; terminate program

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We often push all registers in an interrupt service routine just to be sure that no unintentional modification to any register is made.
Since any code may be interrupted an unintentional modification will be hard to debug

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Since interrupt can be called from anywhere we are not sure about the value in DS so we reset it to our code segment.

When this program is executed our desired message will be shown instead of the default message and the computer will hang thereafter. The first thing to observe is that there is no INT 0 call anywhere in the code. INT 0 was invoked automatically by an internal mechanism of the processor as a result of the DIV instruction producing a result that cannot fit in the destination register. Just by changing the vector we have changed the response of the system to divide overflow situations.
However the system stuck instead of returning to the next instruction.
This is because divide overflow is a special type of interrupt that returns to the same instruction instead of the next instruction. This is why the default handler forcefully terminates the program instead of returning. Now the IRET will take control back to the DIV instruction which will again generate the same interrupt. So the computer is stuck in an infinite loop.
8.3. BIOS AND DOS INTERRUPTS
In IBM PC there are certain interrupts designated for user programs to communicate with system software to access various standard services like access to the floppy drive, hard drive, vga, clock etc. If the programmer does not use these services he has to understand the hardware details like which particular controller is used and how it works. To avoid this and provide interoperability a software interface to basic hardware devices is provided except in very early computers. Since the manufacturer knows the hardware it burns the software to control its hardware in ROM. Such software is called firmware and access to this firmware is provided through specified interrupts. This basic interface to the hardware is called BIOS (basic input output services). When the computer is switched on, BIOS gets the control at a specified address. The messages at boot time on the screen giving BIOS version, detecting different hardware are from this code. BIOS has the responsibility of testing the basic hardware including video, keyboard, floppy drive, hard drive etc and a special program to bootstrap. Bootstrap means to load OS from hard disk and from there OS takes control and proceeds to load its components and display a command prompt in the end. There are two
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important programs; BIOS and OS. OS services are high level and build upon the BIOS services. BIOS services are very low level. A level further lower is only directly controlling the hardware. BIOS services provide a hardware independent layer above the hardware and OS services provide another higher level layer over the BIOS services. We have practiced direct hardware access with the video device directly without using BIOS or DOS. The layer of
BIOS provides services like display a character, clear the screen, etc. All these layers are optional in that we can skip to whatever lower layer we want.
The most logical way to provide access to firmware is to use the interrupt mechanism. Specific services are provided at specific interrupts. CALL could also have been used but in that case every manufacturer would be required to place specific routines at specific addresses, which is not a flexible mechanism. Interrupts provide standard interrupt number for the caller and flexibility to place the interrupt routine anywhere in the memory for the manufacturer. Now for the programmer it is decided that video services will be provided at INT 10 but the actual address of the video services can and do vary on computers from different manufacturers. Any computer that is IBM compatible must make the video services accessible through INT 10.
Similarly keyboard services are available at INT 16 and this is standard in every IBM compatible. Manufacturers place the code wherever they want and the services are exported through this interrupt.
BIOS exports its various services through different interrupts. Keyboard services are exported through INT 16, parallel port services through INT 17 and similarly others through different interrupts. DOS has a single entry point through INT 21 just like a pin hole camera, this single entry points leads to a number of DOS services. So how one interrupt provides a number of different services. A concept of service number is used here which is a defecto standard in providing multiple services through an interrupt. INT 10 is for video services and each of character printing service, screen clearing service, cursor movement service etc. has a service number associated to it.
So we say INT 10 service 0 is used for this purpose and INT 10 service 1 is used for that purpose etc. Service numbers for different standard services are also fixed for every IBM compatible. The concept of exported services through interrupts is expanded with the service numbering scheme.
The service number is usually given in the AH register. Sometimes these
256 services seem less. For example DOS exports thousands of services. So will be often seen an extension to a level further with sub-services. For examples INT 10 character generator services are all provided through a single service number and the services are distinguished with a sub-service number. The finally selected service would need some arguments for it to work. In interrupts arguments are usually not given through stack, rather registers are used. The BIOS and DOS specifications list which register contains which argument for a particular service of a particular interrupt.
We will touch some important BIOS and DOS services and not cover it completely neither is it possible to cover it in this space. A very comprehensive reference of interrupts is the Ralph Brown List. It is just a reference and not to be studied from end to end. All interrupts cannot be remembered and there is no need to remember them.
The service number is almost always in AH while the sub-service number is in AL or BL and sometimes in other registers. The documentation of the service we are using will list which register should hold what when the interrupt is invoked for that particular service.
Our first target using BIOS is video so let us proceed to our first program that uses INT 10 service 13 to print a string on the screen. BIOS will work even if the video memory is not at B8000 (a very old video card) since BIOS knows everything about the hardware and is hardware specific.

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Example 8.2
001
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008
009
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018

; print string using bios service
[org 0x0100] jmp start message: db
'Hello World'

007

The sub-service are versions of printstring that update and do not update the cursor after printing the string etc.

008

Text video screen is in the form of pages which can be upto 32. At one time one page is visible which is by default the zeroth page unless we change it.

start:

mov mov mov mov mov mov push pop mov int ah, 0x13 al, 1 bh, 0 bl, 7 dx, 0x0A03 cx, 11 cs es bp, message
0x10

;
;
;
;
;
;

service 13 - print string subservice 01 – update cursor output on page 0 normal attrib row 10 column 3 length of string

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

; segment of string
; offset of string
; call BIOS video service

When we execute it the string is printed and the cursor is updated as well.
With direct access to video memory we had no control over the cursor. To control cursor a different mechanism to access the hardware was needed.
Our next example uses the keyboard service to read a key. The combination of keyboard and video services is used in almost every program that we see and use. We will wait for four key presses; clear the screen after the first, and draw different strings after the next key presses and exiting after the last. We will use INT 16 service 1 for this purpose. This is a blocking service so it does not return until a key has been pressed. We also used the blinking attribute in this example.

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Example 8.3
001
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009-028
029-069
070-092
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; print string and keyboard wait using BIOS services
[org 0x100] jmp start

099-100

This service has no parameters so only the service number is initialized in AH. This is the only service so there is no sub-service number as well. The ASCII code of the char pressed is returned in
AL after this service.

msg1: msg2: msg3:

db db db

'hello world', 0
'hello world again', 0
'hello world again and again', 0

;;;;; COPY LINES 005-024 FROM EXAMPLE 7.1 (clrscr) ;;;;;
;;;;; COPY LINES 050-090 FROM EXAMPLE 7.4 (printstr) ;;;;;
;;;;; COPY LINES 028-050 FROM EXAMPLE 7.4 (strlen) ;;;;; start: mov mov mov int ah, 0x10 al, 03 bl, 01
0x10

;
;
;
;

service 10 – vga attributes subservice 3 – toggle blinking enable blinking bit call BIOS video service

mov int ah, 0
0x16

; service 0 – get keystroke
; call BIOS keyboard service

call clrscr

; clear the screen

mov int ah, 0
0x16

; service 0 – get keystroke
; call BIOS keyboard service

mov push mov push mov push mov push call

ax, 0 ax ax, 0 ax ax, 1 ax ax, msg1 ax printstr

mov int ah, 0
0x16

mov push mov push mov push mov push call

ax, 0 ax ax, 0 ax ax, 0x71 ax ax, msg2 ax printstr

mov int ah, 0
0x16

mov push mov push mov push mov push call

ax, 0 ax ax, 0 ax ax, 0xF4 ax ax, msg3 ax printstr

mov int ah, 0
0x16

; service 0 – get keystroke
; call BIOS keyboard service

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

; push x position
; push y position
; blue on black
; push attribute
; push offset of string
; print the string
; service 0 – get keystroke
; call BIOS keyboard service

; push x position
; push y position
; blue on white
; push attribute
; push offset of string
; print the string
; service 0 – get keystroke
; call BIOS keyboard service

; push x position
; push y position
; red on white blinking
; push attribute
; push offset of string
; print the string

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EXERCISES
1. Write a TSR that forces a program to exit when it tries to become a
TSR using INT 21h/Service 31h by converting its call into INT
21h/Service 4Ch.
2. Write a function to clear the screen whose only parameter is always zero. The function is hooked at interrupt 80h and may also be called directly both as a near call and as a far call. The function should detect how it is called and return appropriately. It is provided that the direction flag will be set before the function is called.
3. Write a function that takes three parameters, the interrupt number
(N) and the segment and offset of an interrupt handler XISR. The arguments are pushed in the order N, XISR’s offset and XISR’s segment. It is known that the first two instructions of XISR are
PUSHF and CALL 0:0 followed by the rest of the interrupt handler.
PUSHF instruction is of one byte and far call is of 5 bytes with the first byte being the op-code, the next two containing the target offset and the last two containing the target segment. The function should hook XISR at interrupt N and chain it to the interrupt handler previously hooked at N by manipulating the call 0:0 instruction placed near the start of XISR.
4. Write a TSR that provide the circular queue services via interrupt
0x80 using the code written in Exercise 5.XX. The interrupt procedure should call one of qcreate, qdestroy, qempty, qadd, qremove, and uninstall based on the value in AH. The uninstall function should restore the old interrupt 0x80 handler and remove the TSR from memory.

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9
Real Time Interrupts and
Hardware Interfacing
9.1. HARDWARE INTERRUPTS
The same mechanism as discussed in the previous chapter is used for real interrupts that are generated by external hardware. However there is a single pin outside the processor called the INT pin that is used by external hardware to generate interrupts. The detailed operation that happens outside the process when an interrupt is generated is complex and only a simplified view will be discussed here; the view that is relevant to an assembly language programmer. There are many external devices that need the processor’s attention like the keyboard, hard disk, floppy disk, sound card. All of them need real time interrupts at some point in their operation. For example if a program is busy in some calculations for three minutes the key strokes that are hit meanwhile should not be wasted. Therefore when a key is pressed, the INT signal is sent, an interrupt generated and the interrupt handler stores the key for later use. Similarly when the printer is busy printing we cannot send it more data. As soon as it gets free from the previous job it interrupts the processor to inform that it is free now. There are many other examples where the processor needs to be informed of an external event. If the processor actively monitors all devices instead of being automatically interrupted then it there won’t be any time to do meaningful work.
Since there are many devices generating interrupts and there is only one pin going inside the processor and one pin cannot be technically derived by more than one source a controller is used in between called the
Programmable Interrupt Controller (PIC). It has eight input signals and one output signal. It assigns priorities to its eight input pins from 0 to 7 so that if more than one interrupt comes at the same times, the highest priority one is forwarded and the rest are held till that is serviced. The rest are forwarded one by one according to priority after the highest priority one is completed.
The original IBM XT computer had one PIC so there were 8 possible interrupt sources. However IBM AT and later computers have two PIC totaling 16 possible interrupt sources. They are arrange is a special cascade master slave arrangement so that only one output signal comes towards the processor. However we will concentrate on the first interrupt controller only.
The priority can be understood with the following example. Consider eight parallel switches which are all closed and connected to form the output signal. When a signal comes on one of the switches, it is passed on to the output and this switch and all below it are opened so that no further signals can pass through it. The higher priority switches are still closed and the signal on them can be forwarded. When the processor signals that it is finished with the processing the switches are closed again and any waiting interrupts may be forwarded. The way the processor signals ending of the interrupt service routine is by using a special mechanism discussed later.
The eight input signals to the PIC are called Interrupt Requests (IRQ). The eight lines are called IRQ 0 to IRQ 7. These are the input lines of the 8451. †
For example IRQ 0 is derived by a timer device. The timer device keeps


8451 is the technical number of the PIC.

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generating interrupts with a specified frequency. IRQ 1 is derived by the keyboard when generates an interrupts when a key is pressed or released.
IRQ 2 is the cascading interrupt connected to the output of the second 8451 in the machine. IRQ 3 is connected to serial port COM 2 while IRQ 4 is connected to serial port COM 1. IRQ 5 is used by the sound card or the network card or the modem. An IRQ conflict means that two devices in the system want to use the same IRQ line. IRQ 6 is used by the floppy disk drive while IRQ 7 is used by the parallel port.
Each IRQ is mapped to a specific interrupt in the system. This is called the
IRQ to INT mapping. IRQ 0 to IRQ 7 are consecutively mapped on interrupts
8 to F. This mapping is done by the PIC and not the processor. The actual mechanism fetches one instruction from the PIC whenever the INT pin is signaled instead of the memory. We can program the PIC to generate a different set of interrupts on the same interrupt requests. From the perspective of an assembly language programmer an IRQ 0 is translated into an INT 8 without any such instruction in the program and that’s all.
Therefore an IRQ 0, the highest priority interrupt, is generated by the timer chip at a precise frequency and the handler at INT 8 is invoked which updates the system time. A key press generates IRQ 1 and the INT 9 handler is invoked which stores this key. To handler the timer and keyboard interrupts one can replace the vectors corresponding to interrupt 8 and 9 respectively. For example if the timer interrupt is replaced and the floppy is accessed by some program, the floppy motor and its light will remain on for ever as in the normal case it is turned off by the timer interrupt after two seconds in anticipation that another floppy access might be needed otherwise the time motor takes to speed up will be needed again. ‡
We have seen that an interrupt request from a device enters the PIC as an
IRQ, from there it reaches the INT pin of the processor, the processor receives the interrupt number from the PIC, generates the designated interrupt, and finally the interrupt handler gain control and can do whatever is desired. At the end of servicing the interrupt the handler should inform the
PIC that it is completed so that lower priority interrupts can be sent from the
PIC. This signal is called an End Of Interrupt (EOI) signal and is sent through the I/O ports of the interrupt controller.
9.2. I/O PORTS
There are hundreds of peripheral devices in the system, PIC is one example. The processor needs to communicate with them, give and take data from them, otherwise their presence is meaningless. Memory has a totally different purpose. It contains the program to be executed and its data. It does not control any hardware. For communicating with peripheral devices the processor uses I/O ports. There are only two operations with the external world possible, read or write. Similarly with I/O ports the processor can read or write an I/O port. When an I/O port is read or written to, the operation is not as simple as it happens in memory. Some hardware changes it functionality or performs some operation as a result.
IBM PC has separate memory address space and peripheral address space.
Some processors use memory mapped I/O in which case designated memory cells work as ports for specific devices. In case of Intel a special pin on the control bus signals whether the current read or write is from the memory address space or from the peripheral address space. The same address and data buses are used to select a port and to read or write data from that port.
However with I/O only the lower 16 bits of the address bus are used meaning that there are a total of 65536 possible I/O ports. Now keyboard has special
The programs discussed from now onwards in the book must be executed in pure DOS and not in a DOS window so that we are in total control of the
PIC and other devices.
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I/O ports designated to it, PIC has others, DMA, sound card, network card, each has some ports.
If the two address spaces are differentiated in hardware, they must also have special instructions to select the other address space. We have the IN and OUT instructions to read or write from the peripheral address space.
When MOV is given the processor selects the memory address space, when
IN is given the processor selects the peripheral address space.
IN and OUT instructions
The IN and OUT instructions have a byte form and a word form but the byte form is almost always used. The source register in OUT and destination register in IN is AL or AX depending on which form is used. The port number can be directly given in the instruction if it fits in a byte otherwise it has to be given in the DX register. Port numbers for specific devices are fixed by the
IBM standard. For example 20 and 21 are for PIC, 60 to 64 for Keyboard, 378 for the parallel port etc. A few example of IN and OUT are below: in al, 0x21 mov dx, 0x378 in al, dx out 0x21, al mov dx, 0x378 out dx, al

PIC Ports
Programmable interrupt controller has two ports 20 and 21. Port 20 is the control port while port 21 is the interrupt mask register which can be used for selectively enabling or disabling interrupts. Each of the bits at port 21 corresponds to one of the IRQ lines. We first write a small program to disable the keyboard using this port. As we know that the keyboard IRQ is 1, we place a 1 bit at its corresponding position. A 0 bit will enable an interrupt and a 1 bit disables it. As soon as we write it on the port keyboard interrupts will stop arriving and the keyboard will effectively be disabled. Even Ctrl-AltDel would not work; the reset power button has to be used.
Example 9.1
001
002
003
004
005
006
007
008

; disable keyboard
[org 0x0100] in or out mov int interrupt in PIC mask register al, 0x21 al, 2
0x21, al

; read interrupt mask register
; set bit for IRQ2
; write back mask register

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

After this three line mini program is executed the computer will not understand anything else. Its ears are closed. No keystrokes are making their way to the processor. Ports always make something happen on the system. A properly designed system can launch a missile on writing a bit on some port.
Memory is simple in that it is all that it is. In ports every bit has a meaning that changes something in the system.
As we previously discussed every interrupt handler invoked because of an IRQ must signal an EOI otherwise lower priority interrupts will remain disabled.
Keyboard Controller
We will go in further details of the keyboard and its relation to the computer. We will not discuss how the keyboard communicates with the keyboard controller in the computer rather we will discuss how the keyboard
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controller communicates with the processor. Keyboard is a collection of labeled buttons and every button is designated a number (not the ASCII code). This number is sent to the processor whenever the key is pressed.
From this number called the scan code the processor understands which key was pressed. For each key the scan code comes twice, once for the key press and once for the key release. Both are scan codes and differ in one bit only.
The lower seven bits contain the key number while the most significant bit is clear in the press code and set in the release code. The IBM PC standard gives a table of the scan codes of all keys.
If we press Shift-A resulting in a capital A on the screen, the controller has sent the press code of Shift, the press code of A, the release code of A, the release code of Shift and the interrupt handler has understood that this sequence should result in the ASCII code of ‘A’. The ‘A’ key always produces the same scan code whether or not shift is pressed. It is the interrupt handler’s job to remember that the press code of Shift has come and release code has not yet come and therefore to change the meaning of the following key presses. Even the caps lock key works the same way.
An interesting thing is that the two shift keys on the left and right side of the keyboard produce different scan codes. The standard way implemented in BIOS is to treat that similarly. That’s why we always think of them as identical. If we leave BIOS and talk directly with the hardware we can differentiate between left and right shift keys with their scan code. Now this scan code is available from the keyboard data port which is 60. The keyboard generates IRQ 1 whenever a key is pressed so if we hook INT 9 and inside it read port 60 we can tell which of the shift keys was hit. Our first program will do precisely this. It will output an L if the left shift key was pressed and
R if the right one was pressed. The hooking method is the same as done in the previous chapter.
Example 9.2
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; differentiate left and right shift keys with scancodes
[org 0x0100] jmp start
; keyboard interrupt service routine kbisr: push ax push es mov mov

al, 0x60 al, 0x2a nextcmp ; read a char from keyboard port
; is the key left shift
; no, try next comparison

mov jmp byte [es:0], 'L' nomatch ; yes, print L at top left
; leave interrupt routine

cmp jne al, 0x36 nomatch ; is the key right shift
; no, leave interrupt routine

mov nomatch: ; point es to video memory

in cmp jne

nextcmp:

ax, 0xb800 es, ax

byte [es:0], 'R'

; yes, print R at top left

mov out al, 0x20
0x20, al

; send EOI to PIC

pop es pop ax iret start:

xor mov cli mov mov sti ax, ax es, ax

;
;
word [es:9*4], kbisr
[es:9*4+2], cs
;
;

point es to IVT base disable interrupts
; store offset at n*4 store segment at n*4+2 enable interrupts

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037
038

l1:

jmp

l1

Course Code: CS401

; infinite loop

033-036

CLI clears the interrupt flag to disable the interrupt system completely. The processor closes its ears and does not care about the state of the INT pin. Interrupt hooking is done in two instructions, placing the segment and placing the offset. If an interrupt comes in between and the vector is in an indeterminate state, the system will go to a junk address and eventually crash. So we stop all interruptions while changing a real time interrupt vector.
We set the interrupt flag afterwards to renewable interrupts.

038

The program hangs in an infinite loop. The only activity can be caused by a real time interrupt. The kbisr routine is not called from anywhere; it is only automatically invoked as a result of IRQ 1.

When the program is executed the left and right shift keys can be distinguished with the L or R on the screen. As no action was taken for the rest of the keys, they are effectively disabled and the computer has to be rebooted. To check that the keyboard is actually disabled we change the program and add the INT 16 service 0 at the end to wait for an Esc key press.
As soon as Esc is pressed we want to terminate our program.
Example 9.3
001
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030
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036
037
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; attempt to terminate program with Esc that hooks keyboard interrupt
[org 0x0100] jmp start
;;;;; COPY LINES 005-029 FROM EXAMPLE 9.2 (kbisr) ;;;;; start: l1:

xor mov cli mov mov sti ax, ax es, ax

mov int ah, 0
0x16

;
;
word [es:9*4], kbisr
[es:9*4+2], cs
;
;

point es to IVT base disable interrupts
; store offset at n*4 store segment at n*4+2 enable interrupts

; service 0 – get keystroke
; call BIOS keyboard service

cmp al, 27 jne l1

; is the Esc key pressed
; if no, check for next key

mov ax, 0x4c00 int 0x21

; terminate program

When the program is executed the behavior is same. Esc does not work.
This is because the original IRQ 1 handler was written by BIOS that read the scan code, converted into an ASCII code and stored in the keyboard buffer.
The BIOS INT 16 read the key from there and gives in AL. When we hooked the keyboard interrupt BIOS is no longer in control, it has no information, it will always see the empty buffer and INT 16 will never return.
Interrupt Chaining
We can transfer control to the original BIOS ISR in the end of our routine.
This way the normal functioning of INT 16 can work as well. We can retrieve the address of the BIOS routine by saving the values in vector 9 before hooking our routine. In the end of our routine we will jump to this address using a special indirect form of the JMP FAR instruction.
Example 9.4
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001
002
003
004
005
006
007
008
009
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053

; another attempt to terminate program with Esc that hooks
; keyboard interrupt
[org 0x100] jmp start

027-028

EOI is no longer needed as the original BIOS routine will have it at its end.

033

IRET has been removed and an unconditional jump is introduced. At time of JMP the stack has the exact formation as was when the interrupt came. So the original BIOS routine’s IRET will take control to the interrupted program. We have been careful in restoring every register we modified and retained the stack in the same form as it was at the time of entry into the routine.

oldisr:

dd

0

; space for saving old isr

; keyboard interrupt service routine kbisr: push ax push es mov mov

al, 0x60 al, 0x2a nextcmp ; read a char from keyboard port
; is the key left shift
; no, try next comparison

mov jmp byte [es:0], 'L' nomatch ; yes, print L at top left
; leave interrupt routine

cmp jne al, 0x36 nomatch ; is the key right shift
; no, leave interrupt routine

mov nomatch: ; point es to video memory

in cmp jne

nextcmp:

ax, 0xb800 es, ax

byte [es:0], 'R'

; yes, print R at top left

; mov
; out

al, 0x20
0x20, al

pop es pop ax jmp far [cs:oldisr]
; iret start: l1:

xor mov mov mov mov mov cli mov mov sti mov int ax, ax es, ax ax, [es:9*4]
[oldisr], ax ax, [es:9*4+2]
[oldisr+2], ax

; call the original ISR

; point es to IVT base
; save offset of old routine

;
;
word [es:9*4], kbisr
[es:9*4+2], cs
;
; ah, 0
0x16

save segment of old routine disable interrupts
; store offset at n*4 store segment at n*4+2 enable interrupts

; service 0 – get keystroke
; call BIOS keyboard service

cmp al, 27 jne l1

; is the Esc key pressed
; if no, check for next key

mov ax, 0x4c00 int 0x21

; terminate program

When the program is executed L and R are printed as desired and Esc terminates the program as well. Normal commands like DIR work now and shift keys still show L and R as our routine did even after the termination of our program. Now start some application like the editor, it open well but as soon as a key is pressed the computer crashes.
Actually our hooking and chaining was fine. When Esc was pressed we signaled DOS that our program has terminated. DOS will take all our
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memory as a result. The routine is still in memory and functioning but the memory is free according to DOS. As soon as we load EDIT the same memory is allocated to EDIT and our routine as overwritten. Now when a key is pressed our routine’s address is in the vector but at that address some new code is placed that is not intended to be an interrupt handler. That may be data or some part of the EDIT program. This results in crashing the computer. Unhooking Interrupt
We now add the interrupt restoring part to our program. This code resets the interrupt vector to the value it had before the start of our program.
Example 9.5
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; terminate program with Esc that hooks keyboard interrupt
[org 0x100] jmp start oldisr: dd

0

; space for saving old isr

;;;;; COPY LINES 005-029 FROM EXAMPLE 9.4 (kbisr) ;;;;; start: l1:

xor mov mov mov mov mov cli mov mov sti mov int ax, ax es, ax ax, [es:9*4]
[oldisr], ax ax, [es:9*4+2]
[oldisr+2], ax

; point es to IVT base
; save offset of old routine

;
;
word [es:9*4], kbisr
[es:9*4+2], cs
;
; ah, 0
0x16

save segment of old routine disable interrupts
; store offset at n*4 store segment at n*4+2 enable interrupts

; service 0 – get keystroke
; call BIOS keyboard service

cmp al, 27 jne l1

; is the Esc key pressed
; if no, check for next key

mov mov cli mov mov sti ;
;
;
;
;
;

ax, [oldisr] bx, [oldisr+2]
[es:9*4], ax
[es:9*4+2], bx

mov ax, 0x4c00 int 0x21

read old offset in ax read old segment in bx disable interrupts restore old offset from ax restore old segment from bx enable interrupts

; terminate program

9.3. TERMINATE AND STAY RESIDENT
We change the display to show L only while the left shift is pressed and R only while the right shift is pressed to show the use of the release codes. We also changed that shift keys are not forwarded to BIOS. The effect will be visible with A and Shift-A both producing small ‘a’ but caps lock will work.
There is one major difference from all the programs we have been writing till now. The termination is done using INT 21 service 31 instead of INT 21 service 4C. The effect is that even after termination the program is there and is legally there.
Example 9.6
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; TSR to show status of shift keys on top left of screen
[org 0x0100] jmp start oldisr: dd

0

; space for saving old isr

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; keyboard interrupt service routine kbisr: push ax push es mov mov

; yes, print L at first column
; leave interrupt routine

cmp jne al, 0x36 nextcmp2 ; has the right shift pressed
; no, try next comparison

byte [es:0], 'R' exit ; yes, print R at second column
; leave interrupt routine

cmp jne al, 0xaa nextcmp3 ; has the left shift released
; no, try next comparison

byte [es:0], ' ' exit ; yes, clear the first column
; leave interrupt routine

cmp jne al, 0xb6 nomatch ; has the right shift released
; no, chain to old ISR

mov jmp exit:

byte [es:0], 'L' exit mov jmp nomatch:

; read a char from keyboard port
; has the left shift pressed
; no, try next comparison

mov jmp nextcmp3:

al, 0x60 al, 0x2a nextcmp mov jmp nextcmp2:

; point es to video memory

in cmp jne

nextcmp:

ax, 0xb800 es, ax

byte [es:2], ' ' exit ; yes, clear the second column
; leave interrupt routine

pop pop jmp

es ax far [cs:oldisr]

; call the original ISR

mov out al, 0x20
0x20, al

; send EOI to PIC

pop es pop ax iret start:

xor mov mov mov mov mov cli mov mov sti ax, ax es, ax ax, [es:9*4]
[oldisr], ax ax, [es:9*4+2]
[oldisr+2], ax

mov add mov shr mov int dx, start dx, 15 cl, 4 dx, cl ax, 0x3100
0x21

; return from interrupt

; point es to IVT base
; save offset of old routine

;
;
word [es:9*4], kbisr
[es:9*4+2], cs
;
;

save segment of old routine disable interrupts
; store offset at n*4 store segment at n*4+2 enable interrupts

; end of resident portion
; round up to next para
; number of paras
; terminate and stay resident

When this program is executed the command prompt immediately comes.
DIR can be seen. EDIT can run and keypresses do not result in a crash. And with all that left and right shift keys shown L and R on top left of the screen while they are pressed but the shift keys do not work as usual since we did not forwarded the key to BIOS. This is selective chaining.

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To understand Terminate and Stay Resident (TSR)
0
IVT programs the DOS memory formation and allocation BIOS Data Area, DOS Data procedure must be Area, IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS, understood. At physical Device Drivers address zero is the interrupt vector table. Above it are the
COMMAND.COM
BIOS data area, DOS data area, IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS and other device drivers. In the end
Transient Program Area (TPA) there is
COMMAND.COM
command interpreter. The remaining space is called the transient program area as programs are loaded and executed in this area and the space reclaimed on their exit.
A freemem pointer in DOS points where the free memory
640K
begins. When DOS loads a program the freemem pointer is moved to the end of memory, all the available space is allocated to it, and when it exits the freemem pointer comes back to its original place thereby reclaiming all space. This action is initiated by the DOS service 4C.
The second method to legally terminate a program and give control back to
DOS is using the service 31. Control is still taken back but the memory releasing part is modified. A portion of the allocated memory can be retained.
So the difference in the two methods is that the freemem pointer goes back to the original place or a designated number of bytes ahead of that old position.
Remember that our program crashed because the interrupt routine was overwritten. If we can tell DOS not to reclaim the memory of the interrupt routine, then it will not crash. In the last program we have told DOS to make a number of bytes resident. It becomes a part of the operation system, an extension to it. Just like DOSKEY § is an extension to the operation system.
The number of paragraphs to reserve is given in the DX register. Paragraph is a unit just like byte, word, and double word. A paragraph is 16 bytes.
Therefore we can reserve in multiple of 16 bytes. We write TSRs in such a way that the initialization code and data is located at the end as it is not necessary to make it resident and therefore to save space.
To calculate the number of paragraphs a label is placed after the last line that is to be made resident. The value of that label is the number of bytes needed to be made resident. A simple division by 16 will not give the correct number of paras as we want our answer to be rounded up and not down. For example 100 bytes should need 7 pages but division gives 6 and a remainder of 4. A standard technique to get rounded up integer division is to add divisor-1 to the dividend and then divide. So we add 15 to the number of bytes and then divide by 16. We use shifting for division as the divisor is a power of 2. We use a form of SHR that places the count in the CL register so that we can shift by 4 in just two instructions instead of 4 if we shift one by one. In our program anything after start label is not needed after the program has become a TSR. We can observe that our program has become a part of
DOS by giving the following command. mem /c

DOSKEY is a TSR that shows the previous commands on the command prompt with up and down arrows and allows editing of the command
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This command displays all currently loaded drivers and the current state of memory. We will be able to see our program in the list of DOS drivers.
9.4. PROGRAMMABLE INTERVAL TIMER
Another very important peripheral device is the Programmable Interval
Timer (PIT), the chip numbered 8254. This chip has a precise input frequency of 1.19318 MHz. This frequency is fixed regardless of the processor clock. Inside the chip is a 16bit divisor which divides this input frequency and the output is connected to the IRQ 0 line of the PIC. The special number
0 if placed in the divisor means a divisor of 65536 and not 0. The standard divisor is 0 unless we change it. Therefore by default IRQ 0 is generated
1193180/65536=18.2 times per second. This is called the timer tick. There is an interval of about 55ms between two timer ticks. The system time is maintained with the timer interrupt. This is the highest priority interrupt and breaks whatever is executing. Time can be maintained with this interrupt as this frequency is very precise and is part of the IBM standard.
When writing a TSR we give control back to DOS so TSR activation, reactivation and action is solely interrupt based, whether this is a hardware interrupt or a software one. Control is never given back; it must be caught, just like we caught control by hooking the keyboard interrupt. Our next example will hook the timer interrupt and display a tick count on the screen.
Example 9.7
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; display a tick count on the top right of screen
[org 0x0100] jmp start tickcount: dw

0

; subroutine to print a number at top left of screen
; takes the number to be printed as its parameter printnum: push bp mov bp, sp push es push ax push bx push cx push dx push di mov mov mov mov mov ax, es, ax, bx, cx,

mov div add push inc cmp jnz

0xb800 ax [bp+4]
10
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nextpos:

point es to video base load number in ax use base 10 for division initialize count of digits

dx, 0 bx dl, 0x30 dx cx ax, 0 nextdigit ;
;
;
;
;
;
;

zero upper half of dividend divide by 10 convert digit into ascii value save ascii value on stack increment count of values is the quotient zero if no divide it again

mov

nextdigit:

;
;
;
;

di, 140

; point di to 70th column

pop mov mov add loop

dx dh, 0x07
[es:di], dx di, 2 nextpos ;
;
;
;
;

pop pop pop pop pop

di dx cx bx ax

remove a digit from the stack use normal attribute print char on screen move to next screen location repeat for all digits on stack

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pop pop ret

Course Code: CS401

es bp 2

; timer interrupt service routine timer: push ax inc word [cs:tickcount]; increment tick count push word [cs:tickcount] call printnum
; print tick count mov out

al, 0x20
0x20, al

pop ax iret start:

xor mov cli mov mov sti dx, start dx, 15 cl, 4 dx, cl ax, 0x3100
0x21

; return from interrupt

ax, ax es, ax

mov add mov shr mov int ; end of interrupt

; point es to IVT base
; disable interrupts word [es:8*4], timer; store offset at n*4
[es:8*4+2], cs
; store segment at n*4+2
; enable interrupts
; end of resident portion
; round up to next para
; number of paras
; terminate and stay resident

When we execute the program the counter starts on the screen. Whatever we do, take directory, open EDIT, the debugger etc. the counter remains running on the screen. No one is giving control to the program; the program is getting executed as a result of timer generating INT 8 after every 55ms.
Our next example will hook both the keyboard and timer interrupts. When the shift key is pressed the tick count starts incrementing and as soon as the shift key is released the tick count stops. Both interrupt handlers are communicating through a common variable. The keyboard interrupt sets this variable while the timer interrupts modifies its behavior according to this variable. Example 9.8
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; display a tick count while the left shift key is down
[org 0x0100] jmp start seconds: timerflag: oldkb: dw dw dd

0
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;;;;; COPY LINES 007-047 FROM EXAMPLE 9.7 (printnum) ;;;;;
; keyboard interrupt service routine kbisr: push ax in cmp jne cmp je word [cs:timerflag], 1; is the flag already set exit ; yes, leave the ISR

mov jmp nextcmp:

al, 0x60 al, 0x2a nextcmp ; read char from keyboard port
; has the left shift pressed
; no, try next comparison

word [cs:timerflag], 1; set flag to start printing exit ; leave the ISR

cmp jne al, 0xaa nomatch mov

word [cs:timerflag], 0; reset flag to stop printing

; has the left shift released
; no, chain to old ISR

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jmp nomatch: exit:

exit

; leave the interrupt routine

pop jmp ax far [cs:oldkb]

; call original ISR

mov out al, 0x20
0x20, al

; send EOI to PIC

pop ax iret ; return from interrupt

; timer interrupt service routine timer: push ax cmp jne

word [cs:timerflag], 1 ; is the printing flag set skipall ; no, leave the ISR

inc word [cs:seconds] push word [cs:seconds] call printnum skipall: mov out al, 0x20
0x20, al

pop ax iret start:

xor mov mov mov mov mov cli mov mov mov mov sti ax, ax es, ax ax, [es:9*4]
[oldkb], ax ax, [es:9*4+2]
[oldkb+2], ax

mov add mov shr mov int dx, start dx, 15 cl, 4 dx, cl ax, 0x3100
0x21

word [es:9*4],
[es:9*4+2], cs word [es:8*4],
[es:8*4+2], cs

; increment tick count
; print tick count

; send EOI to PIC

; return from interrupt

; point es to IVT base
; save offset of old routine
;
; kbisr ; timer ;
;

save segment of old routine disable interrupts
; store offset at n*4 store segment at n*4+2
; store offset at n*4 store segment at n*4+ enable interrupts

; end of resident portion
; round up to next para
; number of paras
; terminate and stay resident

006

This flag is one when the timer interrupt should increment and zero when it should not.

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As the keyboard controller repeatedly generates the press code if the release code does not come in a specified time, we have placed a check to not repeatedly set it to one.

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Another way to access TSR data is using the CS override instead of initializing DS. It is common mistake not to initialize DS and also not put in CS override in a real time interrupt handler.

When we execute the program and the shift key is pressed, the counter starts incrementing. When the key is released the counter stops. When it is pressed again the counter resumes counting. As this is made as a TSR any other program can be loaded and will work properly alongside the TSR.
9.5. PARALLEL PORT
Computers can control external hardware through various external ports like the parallel port, the serial port, and the new additions USB and
FireWire. Using this, computers can be used to control almost anything. For our examples we will use the parallel port. The parallel port has two views, the connector that the external world sees and the parallel port controller
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ports through which the processor communicates with the device connected to the parallel port.
The parallel port connector is a 25pin connector called DB-25. Different pins of this connector have different meanings. Some are meaningful only with the printer **. This is a bidirectional port so there are some pins to take data from the processor to the parallel port and others to take data from the parallel port to the processor. Important pins for our use are the data pins from pin 2 to pin 9 that take data from the processor to the device. Pin 10, the ACK pin, is normally used by the printer to acknowledge the receipt of data and show the willingness to receive more data. Signaling this pin generates IRQ 7 if enabled in the PIC and in the parallel port controller. Pin
18-25 are ground and must be connected to the external circuit ground to provide the common reference point otherwise they won’t understand each other voltage levels. Like the datum point in a graph this is the datum point of an electrical circuit. The remaining pins are not of our concern in these examples. This is the external view of the parallel port. The processor cannot see these pins. The processor uses the I/O ports of the parallel port controller.
The first parallel port LPT1 †† has ports designated from 378 to 37A. The first port 378 is the data port. If we use the OUT instruction on this port, 1 bits result in a 5V signal on the corresponding pin and a 0 bits result in a 0V signal on the corresponding pin.
Port 37A is the control port. Our interest is with bit 4 of this port which enables the IRQ 7 triggering by the ACK pin. We have attached a circuit that connects 8 LEDs with the parallel port pins. The following examples sends the scancode of the key pressed to the parallel port so that it is visible on
LEDs.
Example 9.9
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; show scancode on external LEDs connected through parallel port
[org 0x0100] jmp start oldisr: dd

0

; space for saving old ISR

; keyboard interrupt service routine kbisr: push ax push dx in mov out pop pop jmp start: al, 0x60 dx, 0x378 dx, al ax dx far [cs:oldisr]

xor mov mov mov mov mov cli mov mov sti ax, ax es, ax ax, [es:9*4]
[oldisr], ax ax, [es:9*4+2]
[oldisr+2], ax

mov add dx, start dx, 15

; read char from keyboard port
; write char to parallel port

; call original ISR

; point es to IVT base
; save offset of old routine

;
;
word [es:9*4], kbisr
[es:9*4+2], cs
;
;

save segment of old routine disable interrupts
; store offset at n*4 store segment at n*4+2 enable interrupts

; end of resident portion
; round up to next para

** The parallel port is most commonly used with the printer. However some new printers have started using the USB port.
†† Older computer had more than one parallel port named LPT2 and having ports from 278-27A.
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mov shr mov int cl, 4 dx, cl ax, 0x3100
0x21

Course Code: CS401

; number of paras
; terminate and stay resident

The following example uses the same LED circuit and sends data such that
LEDs switch on and off turn by turn so that it looks like light is moving back and forth.
Example 9.10
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; show lights moving back and forth on external LEDs
[org 0x0100] jmp start signal: direction:

db db 1
0

; current state of lights
; current direction of motion

; timer interrupt service routine timer: push ax push dx push ds push cs pop ds

; initialize ds to data segment

cmp je shl jnc byte [direction], 1; change direction to right byte [signal], 0x80; turn on left most light output ; proceed to send signal

shr jnc byte [signal], 1 output mov mov byte [direction], 0; change direction to left byte [signal], 1
; turn on right most light

mov mov out

al, [signal] dx, 0x378 dx, al

; load lights state in al
; parallel port data port
; send light state of port

mov out output:

byte [signal], 1 output mov mov jmp moveright: byte [direction], 1; are moving in right direction moveright ; yes, go to shift right code

al, 0x20
0x20, al

; send EOI on PIC

pop ds pop dx pop ax iret start:

xor mov cli mov mov sti ax, ax es, ax

mov add mov shr mov int dx, start dx, 15 cl, 4 dx, cl ax, 0x3100
0x21

; shift left state of lights
; no jump to change direction

; shift right state of lights
; no jump to change direction

; return from interrupt

;
;
word [es:8*4], timer
[es:8*4+2], cs
;
;

point es to IVT base disable interrupts
; store offset at n*4 store segment at n*4+2 enable interrupts

; end of resident portion
; round up to next para
; number of paras
; terminate and stay resident

We will now use the parallel port to control a slightly complicated circuit.
This time we will also use the parallel port interrupt. We are using a 220 V bulb with AC input. AC current is 50Hz sine wave. We have made our circuit such that it triggers the parallel port interrupt whenever the since wave
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crosses zero. We have control of passing the AC current to the bulb. We control it such that in every cycle only a fixed percentage of time the current passes on to the bulb. Using this we can control the intensity or glow of the bulb. Our first example will slowly turn on the bulb by increasing the power provided using the mechanism just described.
Example 9.11
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; slowly turn on a bulb by gradually increasing the power provided
[org 0x0100] jmp start flag: stop: divider: oldtimer:

db db dw dd 0
0
11000
0

;
;
;
;

next time turn on or turn off flag to terminate the program divider for minimum intensity space for saving old isr

; timer interrupt service routine timer: push ax push dx cmp je

switchoff:

exit:

; are we here to turn off
; yes, go to turn off code

mov mov out

al, 1 dx, 0x378 dx, al

; no, turn the bulb on

mov out mov out mov jmp switchon:

byte [cs:flag], 0 switchoff ax, 0x0100
0x40, al al, ah
0x40, al byte [cs:flag], 0 exit xor mov out

ax, ax dx, 0x378 dx, al

; turn the bulb off

mov out al, 0x20
0x20, al

; send EOI to PIC

pop dx pop ax iret ; set timer divisor LSB to 0
; set timer divisor MSB to 1
; flag next timer to switch off
; leave the interrupt routine

; return from interrupt

; parallel port interrupt service routine parallel: push ax mov out

al, 0x30
0x43, al

cmp je word [cs:divider], 100; is the current divisor 100 stopit ; yes, stop

sub mov out mov out mov word [cs:divider], ax, [cs:divider]
0x40, al al, ah
0x40, al byte [cs:flag], 1

mov al, 0x20 out 0x20, al pop ax iret stopit:

mov mov out pop iret

byte [stop], 1 al, 0x20
0x20, al ax ; set timer to one shot mode

10; decrease the divisor by 10
; load divisor LSB in timer
; load divisor MSB in timer
; flag next timer to switch on

; send EOI to PIC
; return from interrupt
; flag to terminate the program
; send EOI to PIC
; return from interrupt

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start:

xor mov mov mov mov mov cli mov mov mov mov sti ax, ax es, ax ax, [es:0x08*4]
[oldtimer], ax ax, [es:0x08*4+2]
[oldtimer+2], ax word [es:0x08*4],
[es:0x08*4+2], cs word [es:0x0F*4],
[es:0x0F*4+2], cs

Course Code: CS401

; point es to IVT base
; save offset of old routine
; save segment of old routine
; disable interrupts timer ; store offset at n*4
; store segment at n*4+2 parallel ; store offset at n*4
; store segment at n*4+2
; enable interrupts

mov dx, 0x37A in al, dx or al, 0x10 out dx, al in al, 0x21 and al, 0x7F out 0x21, al

; read interrupt mask register
; enable IRQ7 for parallel port
; write back register

cmp byte [stop], 1 jne recheck

; is the termination flag set
; no, check again

mov dx, 0x37A in al, dx and al, 0xEF out dx, al

; parallel port control register
; turn interrupt enable bit off
; write back register

in al, 0x21 or al, 0x80 out 0x21, al

; read interrupt mask register
; disable IRQ7 for parallel port
; write back regsiter

cli mov mov mov mov sti recheck:

; parallel port control register
; turn interrupt enable bit on
; write back register

;
;
;
;
;
;

ax, [oldtimer]
[es:0x08*4], ax ax, [oldtimer+2]
[es:0x08*4+2], ax

mov ax, 0x4c00 int 0x21

disable interrupts read old timer ISR offset restore old timer ISR offset read old timer ISR segment restore old timer ISR segment enable interrupts

; terminate program

The next example is simply the opposite of the previous. It slowly turns the bulb off from maximum glow to no glow.
Example 9.12
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; slowly turn off a bulb by gradually decreasing the power provided
[org 0x0100] jmp start flag: stop: divider: oldtimer:

db db dw dd 0
0
0
0

;
;
;
;

next time turn on or turn off flag to terminate the program divider for maximum intensity space for saving old isr

;;;;; COPY LINES 009-036 FROM EXAMPLE 9.11 (timer) ;;;;;
; parallel port interrupt service routine parallel: push ax mov out

al, 0x30
0x43, al

; set timer to one shot mode

cmp je word [cs:divider], 11000; current divisor is 11000 stopit ; yes, stop

add mov out mov out

word [cs:divider], 10; increase the divisor by 10 ax, [cs:divider]
0x40, al
; load divisor LSB in timer al, ah
0x40, al
; load divisor MSB in timer

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mov

byte [cs:flag], 1

mov al, 0x20 out 0x20, al pop ax iret stopit:

Course Code: CS401

; flag next timer to switch on

; send EOI to PIC
; return from interrupt

xor mov mov mov mov mov cli mov mov mov mov sti ax, ax es, ax ax, [es:0x08*4]
[oldtimer], ax ax, [es:0x08*4+2]
[oldtimer+2], ax

dx, al, al, dx, in and out

al, 0x21 al, 0x7F
0x21, al

; read interrupt mask register
; enable IRQ7 for parallel port
; write back register

cmp jne byte [stop], 1 recheck ; is the termination flag set
; no, check again

mov in and out dx, al, al, dx, ; parallel port control register
; turn interrupt enable bit off
; write back register

in or out

al, 0x21 al, 0x80
0x21, al

; read interrupt mask register
; disable IRQ7 for parallel port
; write back regsiter

cli mov mov mov mov sti ax, [oldtimer]
[es:0x08*4], ax ax, [oldtimer+2]
[es:0x08*4+2], ax

;
;
;
;
;
;

mov int recheck:

byte [stop], 1 al, 0x20
0x20, al ax mov in or out start:

mov mov out pop iret

; flag to terminate the program

ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; send EOI to PIC
; return from interrupt

word [es:0x08*4],
[es:0x08*4+2], cs word [es:0x0F*4],
[es:0x0F*4+2], cs

0x37A dx 0x10 al 0x37A dx 0xEF al ; point es to IVT base
; save offset of old routine
; save segment of old routine
; disable interrupts timer ; store offset at n*4
; store segment at n*4+2 parallel ; store offset at n*4
; store segment at n*4+2
; enable interrupts

; parallel port control register
; turn interrupt enable bit on
; write back register

disable interrupts read old timer ISR offset restore old timer ISR offset read old timer ISR segment restore old timer ISR segment enable interrupts

; terminate program

This example is a mix of the previous two. Here we can increase the bulb intensity with F11 and decrease it with F12.
Example 9.13
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; control external bulb intensity with F11 and F12
[org 0x0100] jmp start flag: divider: oldkb: db dw dd

0
100
0

; next time turn on or turn off
; initial timer divider
; space for saving old ISR

;;;;; COPY LINES 009-036 FROM EXAMPLE 9.11 (timer) ;;;;;
; keyboard interrupt service routine kbisr: push ax

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in cmp jne cmp je add jmp

al, 0x60 al, 0x57 nextcmp word [cs:divider], 11000 exitkb word [cs:divider], 100 exitkb nextcmp:

cmp jne cmp je sub jmp al, 0x58 chain word [cs:divider], 100 exitkb word [cs:divider], 100 exitkb exitkb:

mov out Course Code: CS401

al, 0x20
0x20, al

pop ax iret chain:

pop jmp ax far [cs:oldkb]

; parallel port interrupt service routine parallel: push ax mov out

al, 0x30
0x43, al

mov out mov out mov

ax, [cs:divider]
0x40, al al, ah
0x40, al byte [cs:flag], 1

mov al, 0x20 out 0x20, al pop ax iret start:

xor mov mov mov mov mov cli mov mov mov mov mov mov sti ax, ax es, ax ax, [es:0x09*4]
[oldkb], ax ax, [es:0x09*4+2]
[oldkb+2], ax word [es:0x08*4],
[es:0x08*4+2], cs word [es:0x09*4],
[es:0x09*4+2], cs word [es:0x0F*4],
[es:0x0F*4+2], cs

0x37A dx 0x10 al ; set timer to one shot mode

; load divisor LSB in timer
; load divisor MSB in timer
; flag next timer to switch on

; send EOI to PIC
; return from interrupt

; point es to IVT base
; save offset of old routine
; save segment of old routine
; disable interrupts timer ; store offset at n*4
; store segment at n*4+2 kbisr ; store offset at n*4
; store segment at n*4+2 parallel ; store offset at n*4
; store segment at n*4+2
; enable interrupts

mov in or out dx, al, al, dx, in and out

al, 0x21 al, 0x7F
0x21, al

; read interrupt mask register
; enable IRQ7 for parallel port
; write back register

mov add mov shr mov int dx, start dx, 15 cl, 4 dx, cl ax, 0x3100
0x21

; end of resident portion
; round up to next para

; parallel port control register
; turn interrupt enable bit on
; write back register

; number of paras
; terminate and stay resident

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Course Code: CS401

EXERCISES
1. Suggest a reason for the following. The statements are all true.
a. We should disable interrupts while hooking interrupt 8h. I.e. while placing its segment and offset in the interrupt vector table. b. We need not do this for interrupt 80h.
c. We need not do this when hooking interrupt 8h from inside the interrupt handler of interrupt 80h.
d. We should disable interrupts while we are changing the stack
(SS and SP).
e. EOI is not sent from an interrupt handler which does interrupt chaining.
f. If no EOI is sent from interrupt 9h and no chaining is done, interrupt 8h still comes if the interrupt flag is on.
g. After getting the size in bytes by putting a label at the end of a
COM TSR, 0fh is added before dividing by 10h.
h. Interrupts are disabled but divide by zero interrupt still comes. 2. If no hardware interrupts are coming, what are all possible reasons?
3. Write a program to make an asterisks travel the border of the screen, from upper left to upper right to lower right to lower left and back to upper left indefinitely, making each movement after one second.
4. [Musical Arrow] Write a TSR to make an arrow travel the border of the screen from top left to top right to bottom right to bottom left and back to top left at the speed of 36.4 locations per second. The arrow should not destroy the data beneath it and should be restored as soon as the arrow moves forward.
The arrow head should point in the direction of movement using the characters > V < and ^. The journey should be accompanied by a different tone from the pc speaker for each side of the screen. Do interrupt chaining so that running the TSR 10 times produces 10 arrows traveling at different locations.
HINT: At the start you will need to reprogram channel 0 for 36.4 interrupts per second, double the normal. You will have to reprogram channel 2 at every direction change, though you can enable the speaker once at the very start.
5. In the above TSR hook the keyboard interrupt as well and check if 'q' is pressed. If not chain to the old interrupt, if yes restore everything and remove the TSR from memory. The effect should be that pressing
'q' removes one moving arrow. If you do interrupt chaining when pressing 'q' as well, it will remove all arrows at once.
6. Write a TSR to rotate the screen (scroll up and copy the old top most line to the bottom) while F10 is pressed. The screen will keep rotating while F10 is pressed at 18.2 rows per second. As soon as F10 is released the rotation should stop and the original screen restored. A secondary buffer of only 160 bytes (one line of screen) can be used.
7. Write a TSR that hooks software interrupt 0x80 and the timer interrupt. The software interrupt is called by other programs with the address of a far function in ES:DI and the number of timer ticks after which to call back that function in CX. The interrupt records this information and returns to the caller. The function will actually be called by the timer interrupt after the desired number of ticks. The maximum number of functions and their ticks can be fixed to 8.
8. Write a TSR to clear the screen when CTRL key is pressed and restore it when it is released.
9. Write a TSR to disable all writes to the hard disk when F10 is pressed and reenable when pressed again like a toggle.
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Course Code: CS401

HINT: To write to the hard disk programs call the BIOS service INT 0x13 with
AH=3.
10. Write a keyboard interrupt handler that disables the timer interrupt
(no timer interrupt should come) while Q is pressed. It should be reenabled as soon as Q is released.
11. Write a TSR to calculate the current typing speed of the user. Current typing speed is the number of characters typed by the user in the last five seconds. The speed should be represented by printing asterisks at the right border (80th column) of the screen starting from the upper right to the lower right corner (growing downwards). Draw n asterisks if the user typed n characters in the last five seconds. The count should be updated every second.
12. Write a TSR to show a clock in the upper right corner of the screen in the format HH:MM:SS.DD where HH is hours in 24 hour format, MM is minutes, SS is seconds and DD is hundredth of second. The clock should beep twice for one second each time with half a second interval in between at the start of every minute at a frequency of your choice. HINT: IBM PC uses a Real Time Clock (RTC) chip to keep track of time while switched off. It provides clock and calendar functions through its two I/O ports 70h and 71h. It is used as follows:

D1:

mov out jmp in al,
0x70, al
D1
al, 0x71

; command byte written at first port
; waste one instruction time
; result of command is in AL now

Following are few commands
00 Get current second
02 Get current minute
04 Get current hour
All numbers returned by RTC are in BCD. E.g. if it is 6:30 the second and third command will return 0x30 and 0x06 respectively in al.

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10
Debug Interrupts
10.1. DEBUGGER USING SINGLE STEP INTERRUPT
The use of the trap flag has been deferred till now. The three flags not used for mathematical operations are the direction flag, the interrupt flag and the trap flag. The direction and interrupt flags have been previously discussed.
If the interrupt flag is set, the after every instruction a type 1 interrupt will be automatically generated. When the IVT and reserved interrupts were discussed this was named as the single step interrupt. This is like the divide by zero interrupt which was never explicitly invoked but it came itself. The single step interrupt behaves in the same manner.
The debugger is made using this interrupt. It allows one instruction to be executed and then return control to us. It has its display code and its code to wait for the key in the INT 1 handler. Therefore after every instruction the values of all registers are shown and the debugger waits for a key. Another interrupt used by the debugger is the break point interrupt INT 3. Apart from single stepping debugger has the breakpoint feature. INT 3 is used for this feature. INT 3 has a single byte opcode so it can replace any instruction. To put a breakpoint the instruction is replaced with INT 3 opcode and restored in the INT 3 handler. The INT 3 opcode is placed again by a single step interrupt that is set up for this purpose after the replaced instruction has been executed.
There is no instruction to set or clear the trap flag like there are instructions for the interrupt and direction flags. We use two special instructions PUSHF and POPF to push and pop the flag from the stack. We use PUSHF to place flags on the stack, change TF in this image on the stack and then reload into the flags register with POPF. The single step interrupt will come after the first instruction after POPF. The interrupt mechanism automatically clears IF and TF otherwise there would an infinite recursion of the single step interrupt. The TF is set in the flags on the stack so another interrupt will comes after one more instruction is executed after the return of the interrupt.
The following example is a very elementary debugger using the trap flag and the single step interrupt.
Example 10.1
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; single stepping using the trap flag and single step interrupt
[org 0x0100] jmp start flag: oldisr: names: db dd db

0
; flag whether a key pressed
0
; space for saving old ISR
'FL =CS =IP =BP =AX =BX =CX =DX =SI =DI =DS =ES ='

;;;;; COPY LINES 008-025 FROM EXAMPLE 6.2 (clrscr) ;;;;;
; subroutine to print a number on screen
; takes the row no, column no, and number to be printed as parameters printnum: push bp mov bp, sp push es push ax push bx push cx

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Course Code: CS401

push dx push di mov mov mul mov add shl add skipalpha:

80
[bp+8]

mov mov mov mov mov nextdigit: di, ax, di di, di, di, di,

ax
[bp+6]
1
8

;
;
;
;
;
;
;

load di with columns per row load ax with row number multiply with columns per row save result in di add column number turn into byte count to end of number location

ax, es, ax, bx, cx,

0xb800 ax [bp+4]
16
0

;
;
;
;

point es to video base load number in ax use base 16 for division initialize count of digits

mov dx, 0 div bx add dl, 0x30 cmp dl, 0x39 jbe skipalpha add dl, 7 mov dh, 0x07 mov [es:di], dx sub di, 2 loop nextdigit

;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

zero upper half of dividend divide by 10 convert digit into ascii value is the digit an alphabet no, skip addition yes, make in alphabet code attach normal attribute print char on screen to previous screen location if no divide it again

pop pop pop pop pop pop pop ret di dx cx bx ax es bp
6

; subroutine to print a string
; takes row no, column no, address of string, and its length
; as parameters printstr: push bp mov bp, sp push es push ax push bx push cx push dx push si push di mov mov

; point es to video base

mov mov mul mov add shl di, ax, di di, di, di, ;
;
;
;
;
;

mov mov mov nextchar: ax, 0xb800 es, ax

si, [bp+6] cx, [bp+4] ah, 0x07

; string to be printed
; length of string
; normal attribute is fixed

mov mov add add loop

al, [si]
[es:di], ax di, 2 si, 1 nextchar ;
;
;
;
;

pop pop pop pop pop pop di si dx cx bx ax 80
[bp+8]
ax
[bp+6]
1

load di with columns per row load ax with row number multiply with columns per row save result in di add column number turn into byte count

load next char of string show next char on screen move to next screen location move to next char repeat the operation cx times

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pop pop ret

Course Code: CS401

es bp 8

; keyboard interrupt service routine kbisr: push ax in test jnz add skipflag: al, 0x60 al, 0x80 skipflag byte [cs:flag], al

;
;
;
;

read a char from keyboard port is it a press code no, leave the interrupt yes, set flag to proceed

mov al, 0x20 out 0x20, al pop ax iret ; single step interrupt service routine trapisr: push bp mov bp, sp
; to read cs, ip and flags push ax push bx push cx push dx push si push di push ds push es sti push cs pop ds

; waiting for keyboard interrupt

mov byte [flag], 0 call clrscr

; set flag to wait for key
; clear the screen

mov mov mov mov si, cx, ax, bx, ;
;
;
;

push push mov push call sub inc loop ax bx dx, [bp+si] dx printnum si, 2 ax l3

; row number
; column number
;
;
;
;
;

number to be printed print the number point to next register next row number repeat for the 12 registers

mov mov mov mov mov

ax, bx, cx, si, dx,

;
;
;
;
;

start from row 0 start from column 0 total 12 register names each name length is 4 chars offset of first name in dx

l1:

push push push push call add inc loop ax bx dx si printstr dx, 4 ax l1

;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

row number column number offset of string length of string print the string point to start of next string new row number repeat for 12 register names

keywait:

cmp je byte [flag], 0 keywait ; has a key been pressed
; no, check again

pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop es ds di si dx cx bx ax l3:

; initialize ds to data segment

6
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0
5

0
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12
4
names

first total start print register is at bp+6
12 registers to print from row 0 at column 5

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Course Code: CS401

pop bp iret start:

xor mov mov mov mov mov mov mov cli mov mov sti ax, ax es, ax
; point es to IVT base ax, [es:9*4]
[oldisr], ax
; save offset of old routine ax, [es:9*4+2]
[oldisr+2], ax
; save segment of old routine word [es:1*4], trapisr ; store offset at n*4
[es:1*4+2], cs
; store segment at n*4+2
; disable interrupts word [es:9*4], kbisr ; store offset at n*4
[es:9*4+2], cs
; store segment at n*4+2
; enable interrupts

pushf pop ax or ax, 0x100 push ax popf ; the trap flag bit is
; sample code to check mov ax, mov bx, mov cx, mov dx, l2: inc add dec sub jmp

;
;
;
;
;

save flags on stack copy flags in ax set bit corresponding to TF save ax on stack reload into flags register

on now, INT 1 will come after next instruction the working of our elementary debugger
0
0x10
0x20
0x40

ax bx, 2 cx dx, 2 l2 10.2. DEBUGGER USING BREAKPOINT INTERRUPT
We now write a debugger using INT 3. This debugger stops at the same point every time where the breakpoint has been set up unlike the previous one which stopped at every instruction. The single step interrupt in this example is used only to restore the breakpoint interrupt which was removed by the breakpoint interrupt handler temporarily so that the original instruction can be executed.
Example 10.2
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029-072
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; elementary debugger using breakpoint interrupt
[org 0x0100] jmp start flag: oldisr: names: opcode: opcodepos: ;;;;;
;;;;;
;;;;;
;;;;;

COPY
COPY
COPY
COPY

db
0
; flag whether a key pressed dd 0
; space for saving old ISR db 'FL =CS =IP =BP =AX =BX =CX =DX =SI =DI =DS =ES =' db 0 dw 0
LINES
LINES
LINES
LINES

008-025
028-071
073-114
116-128

FROM
FROM
FROM
FROM

EXAMPLE
EXAMPLE
EXAMPLE
EXAMPLE

6.2 (clrscr) ;;;;;
10.1 (printnum) ;;;;;
10.1 (printstr) ;;;;;
10.1 (kbisr) ;;;;;

; single step interrupt service routine trapisr: push bp mov bp, sp push ax push di push ds push es push cs pop ds

; initialize ds to data segment

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mov mov mov mov and

ax, [bp+4] es, ax
;
di, [opcodepos]
;
byte [es:di], 0xCC ; word [bp+6], 0xFEFF;

pop pop pop pop pop iret Course Code: CS401

es ds di ax bp

load interrupted segment in es load saved opcode position reset the opcode to INT3 clear TF in flags on stack

; breakpoint interrupt service routine debugisr: push bp mov bp, sp
; to read cs, ip and flags push ax push bx push cx push dx push si push di push ds push es sti push cs pop ds mov mov dec mov mov mov mov ; waiting for keyboard interrupt
; initialize ds to data segment

ax, [bp+4] es, ax
; load interrupted segment in es word [bp+2]
; decrement the return address di, [bp+2]
; read the return address in di word [opcodepos], di ; remember the return position al, [opcode]
; load the original opcode
[es:di], al
; restore original opcode there

mov byte [flag], 0 call clrscr mov mov mov mov

l1:

si, cx, ax, bx, ;
;
;
;

push push mov push call sub inc loop ax bx dx, [bp+si] dx printnum si, 2 ax l3

; row number
; column number
;
;
;
;
;

number to be printed print the number point to next register next row number repeat for the 12 registers

mov mov mov mov mov

l3:

; set flag to wait for key
; clear the screen

ax, bx, cx, si, dx,

;
;
;
;
;

start from row 0 start from column 0 total 12 register names each name length is 4 chars offset of first name in dx

push push push push call add inc loop ax bx dx si printstr dx, 4 ax l1

;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

row number column number offset of string length of string print the string point to start of next string new row number repeat for 12 register names

6
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0
5

0
0
12
4
names

first total start print register is at bp+6
12 registers to print from row 0 at column 5

or word [bp+6], 0x0100 keywait: ; set TF in flags image on stack

cmp je ; has a key been pressed
; no, check again

byte [flag], 0 keywait pop es

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Course Code: CS401

pop ds pop di pop si pop dx pop cx pop bx pop ax pop bp iret start:

xor mov mov mov mov mov cli mov mov sti mov mov mov mov ax, ax es, ax
; point es to IVT base word [es:1*4], trapisr ; store offset at n*4
[es:1*4+2], cs
; store segment at n*4+2 word [es:3*4], debugisr ; store offset at n*4
[es:3*4+2], cs
; store segment at n*4+2
; disable interrupts word [es:9*4], kbisr ; store offset at n*4
[es:9*4+2], cs
; store segment at n*4+2
; enable interrupts si, l2 al, [cs:si]
[opcode], al byte [cs:si], 0xCC

;
;
;
;

load breakpoint position in si read opcode at that position save opcode for later use change opcode to INT3

; breakpoint is set now, INT3 will come at l2 on every iteration
; sample code to check the working of our elementary debugger mov ax, 0 mov bx, 0x10 mov cx, 0x20 mov dx, 0x40 l2: inc add dec sub jmp

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11
Multitasking
11.1. CONCEPTS OF MULTITASKING
To experience the power of assembly language we introduce how to implement multitasking. We observed in the debugger that our thread of instructions was broken by the debugger; it got the control, used all registers, displayed an elaborate interface, waited for the key, and then restored processor state to what was immediately before interruption. Our program resumed as if nothing happened. The program execution was in the same logical flow.
If we have two different programs A and B. Program A is broken, its state saved, and returned to B instead of A. By looking at the instruction set, we can immediately say that nothing can stop us from doing that. IRET will return to whatever CS and IP it finds on the stack. Now B is interrupted somehow, its state saved, and we return back to A. A will have no way of knowing that it was interrupted as its entire environment has been restored.
It never knew the debugger took control when it was debugged. It sill has no way of gaining this knowledge. If this work of breaking and restoring programs is done at high speed the user will feel that all the programs are running at the same time where actually they are being switched to and forth at high speed.
In essence multitasking is simple, even though we have to be extremely careful when implementing it. The environment of a program in the very simple case is all its registers and stack. We will deal with stack later. Now to get control from the program without the program knowing about it, we can use the IRQ 0 highest priority interrupt that is periodically coming to the processor. Now we present a very basic example of multitasking. We have two subroutines written in assembly language. All the techniques discussed here are applicable to code written in higher level languages as well. However the code to control this multitasking cannot be easily written in a higher level language so we write it in assembly language. The two subroutines rotate bars by changing characters at the two corners of the screen and have infinite loops. By hooking the timer interrupt and saving and restoring the registers of the tasks one by one, it appears that both tasks are running simultaneously. Example 11.1
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; elementary multitasking of two threads
[org 0x0100] jmp start

taskstates:

current: chars: ; dw dw dw db db ax,bx,ip,cs,flags storage area
0, 0, 0, 0, 0
; task0 regs
0, 0, 0, 0, 0
; task1 regs
0, 0, 0, 0, 0
; task2 regs
0
'\|/-'

; one task to be multitasked taskone: mov al, [chars+bx] mov [es:0], al

; index of current task
; shapes to form a bar

; read the next shape
; write at top left of screen

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inc and jmp

bx bx, 3 taskone ; second task to be multitasked tasktwo: mov al, [chars+bx] mov [es:158], al inc bx and bx, 3 jmp tasktwo

Course Code: CS401

; increment to next shape
; taking modulus by 4
; infinite task

;
;
;
;
;

read the next shape write at top right of screen increment to next shape taking modulus by 4 infinite task

;
;
;
;

read index of current task space used by one task multiply to get start of task load start of task in bx

; timer interrupt service routine timer: push ax push bx mov mov mul mov pop mov pop mov pop mov pop mov pop mov

byte [cs:current] byte [cs:current], skipreset byte [cs:current],

;
3
;
0

update current task index
; is task index out of range no, proceed
; yes, reset to task 0

mov mov mul mov bl, [cs:current] ax, 10 bl bx, ax

;
;
;
;

read index of current task space used by one task multiply to get start of task load start of task in bx

mov out al, 0x20
0x20, al

; send EOI to PIC

push push push mov mov iret start:

ax
; read original value of bx
[cs:taskstates+bx+2], ax ; space for current task ax ; read original value of ax
[cs:taskstates+bx+0], ax ; space for current task ax ; read original value of ip
[cs:taskstates+bx+4], ax ; space for current task ax ; read original value of cs
[cs:taskstates+bx+6], ax ; space for current task ax ; read original value of flags
[cs:taskstates+bx+8], ax ; space for current task

inc cmp jne mov skipreset:

bl, [cs:current] ax, 10 bl bx, ax

word [cs:taskstates+bx+8] ; word [cs:taskstates+bx+6] ; word [cs:taskstates+bx+4] ; ax, [cs:taskstates+bx+0] ; bx, [cs:taskstates+bx+2] ;
; return

mov mov mov mov mov mov mov

word [taskstates+10+4],
[taskstates+10+6], cs word [taskstates+10+8], word [taskstates+20+4],
[taskstates+20+6], cs word [taskstates+20+8], word [current], 0

xor mov cli mov mov mov mov xor sti

ax, ax es, ax word [es:8*4], timer
[es:8*4+2], cs ax, 0xb800 es, ax bx, bx

jmp $

flags of new task cs of new task ip of new task ax of new task bx of new task to new task

taskone ; initialize ip
; initialize cs
0x0200 ; initialize flags tasktwo ; initialize ip
; initialize cs
0x0200 ; initialize flags
; set current task index

; point es to IVT base

; hook timer interrupt
; point es to video base
; initialize bx for tasks

; infinite loop

The space where all registers of a task are stored is called the process control block or PCB. Actual PCB contains a few more things that are not
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relevant to us now. INT 08 that is saving and restoring the registers is called the scheduler and the whole event is called a context switch.
11.2. ELABORATE MULTITASKING
In our next example we will save all 14 registers and the stack as well. 28 bytes are needed by these registers in the PCB. We add some more space to make the size 32, a power of 2 for easy calculations. One of these words is used to form a linked list of the PCBs so that strict ordering of active PCBs is not necessary. Also in this example we have given every thread its own stack.
Now threads can have function calls, parameters and local variables etc.
Another important change in this example is that the creation of threads is now dynamic. The thread registration code initializes the PCB, and adds it to the linked list so that the scheduler will give it a turn.
Example 11.2
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; multitasking and dynamic thread registration
[org 0x0100] jmp start
; PCB layout:
; ax,bx,cx,dx,si,di,bp,sp,ip,cs,ds,ss,es,flags,next,dummy
; 0, 2, 4, 6, 8,10,12,14,16,18,20,22,24, 26 , 28 , 30 pcb: stack: nextpcb: current: lineno: times 32*16 dw 0 times 32*256 dw 0 dw 1 dw 0 dw 0

;
;
;
;
;

space for 32 PCBs space for 32 512 byte stacks index of next free pcb index of current pcb line number for next thread

;;;;; COPY LINES 028-071 FROM EXAMPLE 10.1 (printnum) ;;;;;
; mytask subroutine to
; takes line number as mytask: push bp mov bp, sub sp, push ax push bx

be run as a thread parameter sp
2

; thread local variable

mov mov mov

; load line number parameter
; use column number 70
; initialize local variable

push push push call inc jmp ax bx word [bp-2] printnum word [bp-2] printagain ;
;
;
;
;
;

pop pop mov pop ret

printagain:

ax, [bp+4] bx, 70 word [bp-2], 0

bx ax sp, bp bp line number column number number to be printed print the number increment the local variable infinitely print

; subroutine to register a new thread
; takes the segment, offset, of the thread routine and a parameter
; for the target thread subroutine initpcb: push bp mov bp, sp push ax push bx push cx push si mov cmp je bx, [nextpcb] bx, 32 exit ; read next available pcb index
; are all PCBs used
; yes, exit

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Course Code: CS401

mov shl ; multiply by 32 for pcb start

mov mov mov mov ax, [bp+8]
[pcb+bx+18], ax ax, [bp+6]
[pcb+bx+16], ax

;
;
;
;

mov mov mov shl add mov sub mov sub mov [pcb+bx+22], ds si, [nextpcb] cl, 9 si, cl si, 256*2+stack ax, [bp+4] si, 2
[si], ax si, 2
[pcb+bx+14], si

; set stack to our segment
; read this pcb index

mov mov mov mov mov inc exit:

cl, 5 bx, cl

word [pcb+bx+26], 0x0200 ; initialize thread flags ax, [pcb+28]
; read next of 0th thread in ax
[pcb+bx+28], ax
; set as next of new thread ax, [nextpcb]
; read new thread index
[pcb+28], ax
; set as next of 0th thread word [nextpcb]
; this pcb is now used

pop pop pop pop pop ret si cx bx ax bp
6

;
;
;
;
;
;
;

read save read save segment parameter in pcb space for cs offset parameter in pcb space for ip

multiply by 512 end of stack for this thread read parameter for subroutine decrement thread stack pointer pushing param on thread stack space for return address save si in pcb space for sp

; timer interrupt service routine timer: push ds push bx push cs pop ds

; initialize ds to data segment

mov shl shl shl shl shl mov mov mov mov mov mov mov

bx, [current] bx, 1 bx, 1 bx, 1 bx, 1 bx, 1
[pcb+bx+0], ax
[pcb+bx+4], cx
[pcb+bx+6], dx
[pcb+bx+8], si
[pcb+bx+10], di
[pcb+bx+12], bp
[pcb+bx+24], es

; read index of current in bx

;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

multiply by 32 for save ax in current save cx in current save dx in current save si in current save di in current save bp in current save es in current

pop mov pop mov pop mov pop mov pop mov mov mov ax
[pcb+bx+2], ax ax [pcb+bx+20], ax ax [pcb+bx+16], ax ax [pcb+bx+18], ax ax [pcb+bx+26], ax
[pcb+bx+22], ss
[pcb+bx+14], sp

;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

read save read save read save read save read save save save mov mov mov shl bx, [pcb+bx+28]
[current], bx cl, 5 bx, cl

; read next pcb of this pcb
; update current to new pcb

mov mov mov mov cx, dx, si, di, ;
;
;
;

[pcb+bx+4]
[pcb+bx+6]
[pcb+bx+8]
[pcb+bx+10]

pcb start pcb pcb pcb pcb pcb pcb pcb original bx from stack bx in current pcb original ds from stack ds in current pcb original ip from stack ip in current pcb original cs from stack cs in current pcb original flags from stack cs in current pcb ss in current pcb sp in current pcb

; multiply by 32 for pcb start read read read read

cx of new process dx of new process si of new process diof new process

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mov mov mov mov bp, es, ss, sp, [pcb+bx+12]
[pcb+bx+24]
[pcb+bx+22]
[pcb+bx+14]

push push push push word word word word mov out al, 0x20
0x20, al

[pcb+bx+26]
[pcb+bx+18]
[pcb+bx+16]
[pcb+bx+20]

Course Code: CS401

;
;
;
;

read read read read bp es ss sp of of of of ;
;
;
;

push push push push flags cs of ip of ds of

new new new new process process process process of new process new process new process new process

; send EOI to PIC

mov ax, [pcb+bx+0] mov bx, [pcb+bx+2] pop ds iret nextkey:

xor mov ax, ax es, ax

; point es to IVT base

cli mov mov sti start:

;
;
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;

read ax of new process read bx of new process read ds of new process return to new process

word [es:8*4], timer
[es:8*4+2], cs
; hook timer interrupt

xor ah, ah int 0x16

; service 0 – get keystroke
; bios keyboard services

push mov push push call

cs ax, mytask ax word [lineno] initpcb ; use current code segment

inc jmp word [lineno] nextkey ; update line number
; wait for next keypress

; use mytask as offset
; thread parameter
; register the thread

When the program is executed the threads display the numbers independently. However as keys are pressed and new threads are registered, there is an obvious slowdown in the speed of multitasking. To improve that, we can change the timer interrupt frequency. The following can be used to set to an approximately 1ms interval. mov out mov out

ax, 1100
0x40, al al, ah
0x40, al

This makes the threads look faster. However the only real change is that the timer interrupt is now coming more frequently.
11.3. MULTITASKING KERNEL AS TSR
The above examples had the multitasking code and the multitasked code in one program. Now we separate the multitasking kernel into a TSR so that it becomes an operation system extension. We hook a software interrupt for the purpose of registering a new thread.
Example 11.3
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; multitasking kernel as a TSR
[org 0x0100] jmp start
; PCB layout:
; ax,bx,cx,dx,si,di,bp,sp,ip,cs,ds,ss,es,flags,next,dummy
; 0, 2, 4, 6, 8,10,12,14,16,18,20,22,24, 26 , 28 , 30 pcb: times 32*16 dw 0

; space for 32 PCBs

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stack: nextpcb: current:

times 32*256 dw 0 dw 1 dw 0

Course Code: CS401

; space for 32 512 byte stacks
; index of next free pcb
; index of current pcb

;;;;; COPY LINES 133-192 FROM EXAMPLE 11.2 (timer) ;;;;;
; software interrupt to register a new thread
; takes parameter block in ds:si
; parameter block has cs, ip, ds, es, and param in this order initpcb: push ax push bx push cx push di mov cmp je bx, [cs:nextpcb] bx, 32 exit ; read next available pcb index
; are all PCBs used
; yes, exit

mov shl cl, 5 bx, cl

; multiply by 32 for pcb start

mov mov mov mov mov mov mov mov ax, [si+0]
[cs:pcb+bx+18],
ax, [si+2]
[cs:pcb+bx+16],
ax, [si+4]
[cs:pcb+bx+20],
ax, [si+6]
[cs:pcb+bx+24],

mov mov mov shl add mov sub mov sub mov [cs:pcb+bx+22], cs di, [cs:nextpcb] cl, 9 di, cl di, 256*2+stack ax, [si+8] di, 2
[cs:di], ax di, 4
[cs:pcb+bx+14], di

mov mov mov mov mov inc word [cs:pcb+bx+26], ax, [cs:pcb+28]
;
[cs:pcb+bx+28], ax ; ax, [cs:nextpcb]
;
[cs:pcb+28], ax
;
word [cs:nextpcb] ;

exit:

pop pop pop pop iret

di cx bx ax start:

xor ax, ax mov es, ax

; ax ;
;
ax ;
;
ax ;
;
ax ;

read save read save read save read save code segment parameter in pcb space for cs offset parameter in pcb space for ip data segment parameter in pcb space for ds extra segment parameter in pcb space for es

; set stack to our segment
; read this pcb index
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

multiply by 512 end of stack for this thread read parameter for subroutine decrement thread stack pointer pushing param on thread stack space for far return address save di in pcb space for sp
0x0200 ; initialize flags read next of 0th thread in ax set as next of new thread read new thread index set as next of 0th thread this pcb is now used

; point es to IVT base

mov mov cli mov mov sti word [es:0x80*4], initpcb
[es:0x80*4+2], cs
; hook software int 80

mov add mov shr dx, dx, cl, dx, word [es:0x08*4], timer
[es:0x08*4+2], cs
; hook timer interrupt

start
15
4 cl mov ax, 0x3100 int 0x21

; terminate and stay resident

The second part of our example is a simple program that has the threads to be registered with the multitasking kernel using its exported services.
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Example 11.4
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; multitasking TSR caller
[org 0x0100] jmp start
; parameter block layout:
; cs,ip,ds,es,param
; 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 paramblock: lineno:

times 5 dw 0 dw 0

; space for parameters
; line number for next thread

;;;;; COPY LINES 028-071 FROM EXAMPLE 10.1 (printnum) ;;;;;
; subroutine to be run
; takes line number as mytask: push bp mov bp, sub sp, push ax push bx

as a thread parameter sp
2

; thread local variable

mov mov mov push push push call inc jmp

ax bx word [bp-2] printnum word [bp-2] printagain ;
;
;
;
;
;

bx ax sp, bp bp mov int ah, 0
0x16

mov mov mov mov mov mov mov int [paramblock+0], cs ; word [paramblock+2],
[paramblock+4], ds ;
[paramblock+6], es ; ax, [lineno]
[paramblock+8], ax ; si, paramblock
;
0x80
;

inc jmp start:

; load line number parameter
; use column number 70
; initialize local variable

pop pop mov pop retf

printagain:

ax, [bp+4] bx, 70 word [bp-2], 0

word [lineno] start line number column number number to be printed print the number increment the local variable infinitely print

; service 0 – get keystroke
; bios keyboard services code segment parameter mytask ; offset parameter data segment parameter extra segment parameter parameter for thread address of param block in si multitasking kernel interrupt

; update line number
; wait for next key

We introduce yet another use of the multitasking kernel with this new example. In this example three different sort of routines are multitasked by the same kernel instead of repeatedly registering the same routine.
Example 11.5
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; another multitasking TSR caller
[org 0x0100] jmp start
; parameter block layout:
; cs,ip,ds,es,param
; 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 paramblock: lineno: chars: message: message2: times 5 dw 0 dw 0 db '\|/-' db 'moving hello' db '
'

;
;
;
;
;

space for parameters line number for next thread chracters for rotating bar moving string to erase previous string

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messagelen:

dw 12

Course Code: CS401

; length of above strings

;;;;; COPY LINES 028-071 FROM EXAMPLE 10.1 (printnum) ;;;;;
;;;;; COPY LINES 073-114 FROM EXAMPLE 10.1 (printstr) ;;;;;
; subroutine to run as first thread mytask: push bp mov bp, sp sub sp, 2 push ax push bx

; thread local variable

xor mov mov

; use line number 0
; use column number 70
; initialize local variable

push push push call inc jmp ax bx word [bp-2] printnum word [bp-2] printagain ;
;
;
;
;
;

pop pop mov pop retf

printagain:

ax, ax bx, 70 word [bp-2], 0

bx ax sp, bp bp line number column number number to be printed print the number increment the local variable infinitely print

; subroutine to run as second thread mytask2: push ax push bx push es mov mov xor rotateagain:

ax, 0xb800 es, ax bx, bx

; point es to video base
; initialize to use first shape

mov mov inc and jmp

al, [chars+bx]
[es:40], al bx bx, 3 rotateagain ;
;
;
;
;

read current shape print at specified place update to next shape take modulus with 4 repeat infinitely

pop es pop bx pop ax retf ; subroutine to run as third thread mytask3: push bp mov bp, sp sub sp, 2 push ax push bx push cx

; thread local variable

mov nextline: waithere:

word [bp-2], 0

; initialize line number to 0

push mov push mov push push call

word [bp-2] bx, 50 bx ax, message ax word [messagelen] printstr ; line number

mov push mov loop pop loop cx, 0x100 cx cx, 0xffff
$
cx waithere push word [bp-2] mov bx, 50

; column number 50
; offset of string
; length of string
; print the string

; save outer loop counter
; repeat ffff times
; restore outer loop counter
; repeat 0x100 times
; line number
; column number 50

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Course Code: CS401

push mov push push call

word [bp-2] word [bp-2], 25 skipreset word [bp-2], 0

;
;
;
;

jmp

nextline

; proceed with next drawing

pop pop pop mov pop retf cx bx ax sp, bp bp mov mov mov mov mov mov int

[paramblock+0], cs ; word [paramblock+2],
[paramblock+4], ds ;
[paramblock+6], es ; word [paramblock+8], si, paramblock
;
0x80
;

code segment parameter mytask ; offset parameter data segment parameter extra segment parameter
0 ; parameter for thread address of param block in si multitasking kernel interrupt

mov mov mov mov mov mov int

[paramblock+0], cs ; word [paramblock+2],
[paramblock+4], ds ;
[paramblock+6], es ; word [paramblock+8], si, paramblock
;
0x80
;

code segment parameter mytask2 ; offset parameter data segment parameter extra segment parameter
0 ; parameter for thread address of param block in si multitasking kernel interrupt

mov mov mov mov mov mov int

start:

; offset of blank string
; length of string
; print the string

inc cmp jne mov skipreset:

bx ax, message2 ax word [messagelen] printstr [paramblock+0], cs ; word [paramblock+2],
[paramblock+4], ds ;
[paramblock+6], es ; word [paramblock+8], si, paramblock
;
0x80
;

code segment parameter mytask3 ; offset parameter data segment parameter extra segment parameter
0 ; parameter for thread address of param block in si multitasking kernel interrupt

update line number is this the last line no, proceed to draw yes, reset line number to 0

jmp $

EXERCISES
1. Change the multitasking kernel such that a new two byte variable is introduced in the PCB. This variable contains the number of turns this process should be given. For example if the first PCB contains 20 in this variable, the switch to second process should occur after 20 timer interrupts (approx one second at default speed) and similarly the switch from second to third process should occur after the number given in the second process’s PCB.
2. Change the scheduler of the multitasking kernel to enque the current process index a ready queue, and dequeue the next process index from it, and assign it to current. Therefore the next field of the PCB is no longer used. Use queue functions from Exercise 5.XX.
3. Add a function in the multitasking kernel to fork the current process through a software interrupt. Fork should allocate a new PCB and copy values of all registers of the caller’s PCB to the new PCB. It should allocate a stack and change SS, SP appropriately in the new
PCB. It has to copy the caller’s stack on the newly allocated stack. It will set AX in the new PCB to 0 and in the old PB to 1 so that both threads can identify which is the creator and which is the created process and can act accordingly.
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4. Add a function in the multitasking kernel accessible via a software interrupt that allows the current process to terminate itself.
5. Create a queue in the multitasking kernel called kbQ. This queue initially empty will contain characters typed by the user. Hook the keyboard interrupt for getting user keys. Convert the scan code to
ASCII if the key is from a-z or 0-9 and enque it in kbQ. Ignore all other scan codes. Write a function checkkey accessible via a software interrupt that returns the process in AX a value removed from the queue. It waits if there is no key in the queue. Be aware of enabling interrupts if you wait here.
6. Modify the multitasking kernel such that the initial process displays at the last line of the screen whatever is typed by the user and clears that line on enter. If the user types quit followed by enter restore everything to normal as it was before the multitasking kernel was there. If the user types start followed by enter, start one more rotating bar on the screen. The first rotating bar should appear in the upper left, the next in the second column, then third and so on. The bar color should be white. The user can type the commands ‘white’, ‘red’, and ‘green’ to change the color of new bars.

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12
Video Services
12.1. BIOS VIDEO SERVICES
The Basic Input Output System (BIOS) provides services for video, keyboard, serial port, parallel port, time etc. The video services are exported via INT 10. We will discuss some very simple services. Video services are classified into two broad categories; graphics mode services and text mode services. In graphics mode a location in video memory corresponds to a dot on the screen. In text mode this relation is not straightforward. The video memory holds the ASCII of the character to be shown and the actual shape is read from a font definition stored elsewhere in memory. We first present a list of common video services used in text mode.
INT 10 - VIDEO - SET VIDEO MODE
AH = 00h
AL = desired video mode

Some common video modes include 40x25 text mode (mode 0), 80x25 text mode (mode 2), 80x50 text mode (mode 3), and 320x200 graphics mode
(mode D).
INT 10 - VIDEO - SET TEXT-MODE CURSOR SHAPE
AH = 01h
CH = cursor start and options
CL = bottom scan line containing cursor (bits 0-4)
INT 10 - VIDEO - SET CURSOR POSITION
AH = 02h
BH = page number
0-3 in modes 2&3
0-7 in modes 0&1
0 in graphics modes
DH = row (00h is top)
DL = column (00h is left)
INT 10 - VIDEO - SCROLL UP WINDOW
AH = 06h
AL = number of lines by which to scroll up (00h = clear entire window)
BH = attribute used to write blank lines at bottom of window
CH, CL = row, column of window's upper left corner
DH, DL = row, column of window's lower right corner
INT 10 - VIDEO - SCROLL DOWN WINDOW
AH = 07h
AL = number of lines by which to scroll down (00h=clear entire window)
BH = attribute used to write blank lines at top of window
CH, CL = row, column of window's upper left corner
DH, DL = row, column of window's lower right corner
INT 10 - VIDEO - WRITE CHARACTER AND ATTRIBUTE AT CURSOR POSITION
AH = 09h
AL = character to display
BH = page number

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BL = attribute (text mode) or color (graphics mode)
CX = number of times to write character
INT 10 - VIDEO - WRITE CHARACTER ONLY AT CURSOR POSITION
AH = 0Ah
AL = character to display
BH = page number
BL = attribute (text mode) or color (graphics mode)
CX = number of times to write character
INT 10 - VIDEO - WRITE STRING
AH = 13h
AL = write mode bit 0: update cursor after writing bit 1: string contains alternating characters and attributes bits 2-7: reserved (0)
BH = page number
BL = attribute if string contains only characters
CX = number of characters in string
DH, DL = row, column at which to start writing
ES:BP -> string to write

Chargen Services
In our first example we will read the font definition in memory and change it to include a set of all on pixels in the last line showing an effect of underline on all character including space. An 8x16 font is stored in 16 bytes. A sample character and the corresponding 16 values stored in the font information are shown for the character ‘A’. We start with two services from the chargen subset of video services that we are going to use.
INT 10 - VIDEO - GET FONT INFORMATION
AX = 1130h
BH = pointer specifier
Return:
ES:BP = specified pointer
CX = bytes/character of on-screen font
DL = highest character row on screen
INT 10 - TEXT-MODE CHARGEN
AX = 1110h
ES:BP -> user table
CX = count of patterns to store
DX = character offset into map 2 block
BL = block to load in map 2
BH = number of bytes per character pattern

We will use 6 as the pointer specifier which means the 8x16 font stored in
ROM.
Example 12.1
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; put underlines on screen font
[org 0x0100] jmp start font: times 256*16 db 0

; space for font

start:

mov mov int

ax, 0x1130 bx, 0x0600
0x10

; service 11/30 – get font info
; ROM 8x16 font
; bios video services

mov mov si, bp di, font

; point si to rom font data
; point di to space for font

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mov push push pop pop cld rep

cx, 256*16 ds es ds es movsb Course Code: CS401

; font size

;
;
;
;

ds:si to rom font data es:di to space for font auto increment mode copy font

push cs pop ds mov mov add mov loop si, font-1 cx, 0x100 si, 16 byte [si], 0xFF change ;
;
;
;
;

point si before first char total 256 characters one character has 16 bytes change last line to all ones repeat for each character

mov mov mov xor mov int change:

; restore ds to data segment

bp, font bx, 0x1000 cx, 0x100 dx, dx ax, 0x1110
0x10

;
;
;
;
;
;

es:bp points to new font bytes per char & block number number of characters to change first character to change service 11/10 – load user font bios video services

mov ax, 0x4c00 int 0x21

; terminate program

Our second example is similar to the last example however in this case we are doing something funny on the screen. We are reversing the shapes of all the characters on the screen.
Example 12.2
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; reverse each character of screen font
[org 0x0100] jmp start font: times 256*16 db 0

; space for font

start:

mov mov int

ax, 0x1130 bx, 0x0600
0x10

; service 11/30 – get font info
; ROM 8x16 font
; bios video services

mov mov mov push push pop pop cld rep

si, bp di, font cx, 256*16 ds es ds es

; point si to rom font data
; point di to space for font
; font size

movsb

push cs pop ds

change: inner: ;
;
;
;

ds:si to rom font data es:di to space for font auto increment mode copy font

; restore ds to data segment

mov si, font mov al, [si] mov cx, 8 shl al, 1 rcr bl, 1 loop inner mov [si], bl inc si cmp si, font+256*16 jne change

; point si to start of font
; read one byte
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shift left with MSB in carry rotate right using carry repeat eight times write back reversed byte next byte of font is whole font reversed no, reverse next byte

mov mov mov xor mov int ;
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es:bp points to new font bytes per char & block number number of characters to change first character to change service 11/10 – load user font bios video services

bp, font bx, 0x1000 cx, 0x100 dx, dx ax, 0x1110
0x10

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mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

Course Code: CS401

; terminate program

Graphics Mode Services
We will take an example of using graphics mode video services as well. We will draw a line across the screen using the following service.
INT 10 - VIDEO - WRITE GRAPHICS PIXEL
AH = 0Ch
BH = page number
AL = pixel color
CX = column
DX = row

Example 12.3
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; draw line in graphics mode
[org 0x0100] mov ax, 0x000D int 0x10 mov xor mov mov l1: ax, bx, cx, dx, 0x0C07 bx 200
200

; set 320x200 graphics mode
; bios video services
;
;
;
;

put pixel in white color page number 0 x position 200 y position 200

int 0x10 dec dx loop l1

; bios video services
; decrease y position
; decrease x position and repeat

mov int ah, 0
0x16

; service 0 – get keystroke
; bios keyboard services

mov int ax, 0x0003
0x10

; 80x25 text mode
; bios video services

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

12.2. DOS VIDEO SERVICES
Services of DOS are more cooked and at a higher level than BIOS. They provide less control but make routine tasks much easier. Some important
DOS services are listed below.
INT 21 - READ CHARACTER FROM STANDARD INPUT, WITH ECHO
AH = 01h
Return: AL = character read
INT 21 - WRITE STRING TO STANDARD OUTPUT
AH = 09h
DS:DX -> $ terminated string
INT 21 - BUFFERED INPUT
AH = 0Ah
DS:DX -> dos input buffer

The DOS input buffer has a special format where the first byte stores the maximum characters buffer can hold, the second byte holds the number of characters actually read on return, and the following space is used for the actual characters read. We start will an example of reading a string with service 1 and displaying it with service 9.
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Example 12.4
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; character input using dos services
[org 0x0100] jmp start maxlength: message: buffer: dw
80
db
10, 13, 'hello $' times 81 db 0

; maximum length of input
; greetings message
; space for input string

start:

mov mov cx, [maxlength] si, buffer

; load maximum length in cx
; point si to start of buffer

nextchar:

mov int ah, 1
0x21

; service 1 – read character
; dos services

cmp je mov inc loop

al, 13 exit [si], al si nextchar

;
;
;
;
;

mov

byte [si], '$'

; append $ to user input

mov mov int

dx, message ah, 9
0x21

; greetings message
; service 9 – write string
; dos services

mov mov int

dx, buffer ah, 9
0x21

; user input buffer
; service 9 – write string
; dos services

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

exit:

is enter pressed yes, leave input no, save this character increment buffer pointer repeat for next input char

Our next example uses the more cooked buffered input service of DOS and using the same service 9 to print the string.
Example 12.5
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; buffer input using dos services
[org 0x0100] jmp start message: buffer:

db
10,13,'hello ', 10, 13, '$' db 80
; length of buffer db 0
; number of character on return times 80 db 0
; actual buffer space

start:

mov mov int

dx, buffer ah, 0x0A
0x21

mov mov mov

bh, 0 bl, [buffer+1]
; read actual size in bx byte [buffer+2+bx], '$' ; append $ to user input

mov mov int

dx, message ah, 9
0x21

; greetings message
; service 9 – write string
; dos services

mov mov int

dx, buffer+2 ah, 9
0x21

; user input buffer
; service 9 – write string
; dos services

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

; input buffer
; service A – buffered input
; dos services

More detail of DOS and BIOS interrupts is available in the Ralf Brown
Interrupt List.

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13
Secondary Storage
13.1. PHYSICAL FORMATION
A floppy disk is a circular plate with a fine coating of magnetic material over it. The plate is enclosed in a plastic jacket which has a cover that can slide to expose the magnetic surface. The drive motor attaches itself to the central piece and rotates the plate. Two heads on both sides can read the magnetically encoded data on the disk.
If the head is fixed and the motor rotates the disk the readable area on the disk surface forms a circle called a track. Head moved to the next step forms another track and so on. In hard disks the same structure is extended to a larger number of tracks and plates. The tracks are further cut vertically into sectors. This is a logical division of the area on the tracks. Each sector holds
512 bytes of data. A standard floppy disk has 80 tracks and 18 sectors per track with two heads, one on each side totallying to 2880 sectors or 1440 KB of data. Hard disks have varying number of heads and tracks pertaining to their different capacities.

BIOS sees the disks as a combination of sectors, tracks, and heads, as a raw storage device without concern to whether it is reading a file or directory.
BIOS provides the simplest and most powerful interface to the storage medium. However this raw storage is meaningless to the user who needs to store his files and organize them into directories. DOS builds a logical structure on this raw storage space to provide these abstractions. This logical formation is read and interpreted by DOS. If another file system is build on the same storage medium the interpretations change. Main units of the DOS structure are the boot sector in head 0, track 0, and sector 1, the first FAT starting from head 0, track 0, sector 2, the second copy of FAT starting from head 0, track 0, sector 11, and the root directory starting from head 1, track 0, sector 2. The area from head 0, track 1, sector 16 to head 1, track 79, sector 18 is used for storing the data of the files. Among this we will be exploring the directory structure further. The 32 sectors reserved for the root directory contain 512 directory entries. The format of a 32 byte directory entry is shown below.

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+00 Filename (8 bytes)
+08 Extension (3 bytes)
+0B Flag Byte (1 byte)
+0C Reserved (1 byte)
+0D Creation Date/Time (5 bytes)
+12 Last Accessed Data (2 bytes)
+14 Starting Cluster High Word (2 bytes) for FAT32
+16 Time (2 bytes)
+18 Date (2 bytes)
+1A Starting Cluster Low Word (2 bytes)
+1C File Size (4 bytes)

13.2. STORAGE ACCESS USING BIOS
We will be using BIOS disk services to directly see the data stored in the directory entries by DOS. For this purpose we will be using the BIOS disk services. INT 13 - DISK - RESET DISK SYSTEM
AH = 00h
DL = drive
Return:
CF = error flag
AH = error code
INT 13 - DISK - READ SECTOR(S) INTO MEMORY
AH = 02h
AL = number of sectors to read (must be nonzero)
CH = low eight bits of cylinder number
CL = sector number 1-63 (bits 0-5) high two bits of cylinder (bits 6-7, hard disk only)
DH = head number
DL = drive number (bit 7 set for hard disk)
ES:BX -> data buffer
Return:
CF = error flag
AH = error code
AL = number of sectors transferred
INT 13 - DISK - WRITE DISK SECTOR(S)
AH = 03h
AL = number of sectors to write (must be nonzero)
CH = low eight bits of cylinder number
CL = sector number 1-63 (bits 0-5) high two bits of cylinder (bits 6-7, hard disk only)
DH = head number
DL = drive number (bit 7 set for hard disk)
ES:BX -> data buffer
Return:
CF = error flag
AH = error code
AL = number of sectors transferred
INT 13 - DISK - GET DRIVE PARAMETERS
AH = 08h
DL = drive (bit 7 set for hard disk)
Return:
CF = error flag
AH = error code
CH = low eight bits of maximum cylinder number
CL = maximum sector number (bits 5-0)

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high two bits of maximum cylinder number (bits 7-6)
DH = maximum head number
DL = number of drives
ES:DI -> drive parameter table (floppies only)

Example 13.1
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; floppy directory using bios services
[org 0x0100] jmp start sector: entryname:

times 512 db 0 times 11 db 0 db 10, 13, '$'

; space for directory sector
; space for a file name
; new line and terminating $

start:

mov mov int jc ah, 0 dl, 0
0x13
error

;
;
;
;

service 0 – reset disk system drive A: bios disk services if error, terminate program

mov mov mov mov mov mov mov int jc

ah, 2 al, 1 ch, 0 cl, 2 dh, 1 dl, 0 bx, sector
0x13
error

;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

service 2 – read sectors count of sectors cyliner sector head drive A: buffer to read sector bios disk services if error, terminate program

mov mov mov add mov cld rep

bx, di, si, si, cx,

movsb

;
;
;
;
;
;
;

start from first entry point di to space for filename point si to sector move ahead to desired entry one filename is 11 bytes long auto increment mode copy filename

mov mov int

ah, 9 dx, entryname
0x21

; service 9 – output string
; filename to be printed
; dos services

add cmp jne

bx, 32 bx, 512 nextentry ; point to next dir entry
; is last entry in this sector
; no, print next entry

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

nextentry:

error:

0 entryname sector bx 11

With the given services and the bits allocated for heads, tracks, and sectors only 8GB disks can be accessed. This limitation can be overcome by using INT 13 extensions that take a linear 64bit sector number and handle all the head, track, sector conversion themselves. The important services in this category are listed below.
INT 13 - INT 13 Extensions - EXTENDED READ
AH = 42h
DL = drive number
DS:SI -> disk address packet
Return:
CF = error flag
AH = error code disk address packet's block count field set to number of blocks successfully transferred
INT 13 - INT 13 Extensions - EXTENDED WRITE
AH = 43h
AL = write flags

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DL = drive number
DS:SI -> disk address packet
Return:
CF = error flag
AH = error code disk address packet's block count field set to number of blocks successfully transferred

The format of the disk address packet used above is as follows.
Offset Size

Description

00h

BYTE

size of packet = 10h

01h

BYTE

reserved (0)

02h

WORD

number of blocks to transfer

04h

DWORD

-> transfer buffer

08h

QWORD

starting absolute block number

Hard disks have a different formation from floppy disks in that there is a partition table at the start that allows several logical disks to be maintained within a single physical disk. The physical sector 0 holds the master boot record and a partition table towards the end. The first 446 bytes contain
MBR, then there are 4 16 byte partition entries and then there is a 2 byte signature. A partition table entry has the following format.
Byte 0 – 0x80 for active 0x00 for inactive
Byte 1-3 – Starting CHS
Byte 4 – Partition Type
Byte 5-7 – Ending CHS
Byte 8-B – Starting LBA
Byte C-F – Size of Partition

Some important partition types are listed below.
00 Unused Entry
01 FAT12
05 Extended Partition
06 FAT16
0b FAT32
0c FAT32 LBA
0e FAT16 LBA
0f Extended LBA
07 NTFS

Extended partition type signals that the specified area is treated as a complete hard disk with its own partition table and partitions. Therefore extended partitions allow a recursion in partitioning and consequently an infinite number of partitions are possible. The following program reads the partition tables (primary and extended) using recursion and displays in an indented form all partitions present on the first hard disk in the system.
Example 13.2
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; a program to display the partition table
[org 0x0100] jmp start dap: db dw dd

0x10, 0
1
0, 0, 0

; disk address packet

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msg: fat12: fat16: fat32: ntfs: extended: unknown: partypes: Course Code: CS401

times 17 db ' ' db 10, 13, '$' db 'FAT12...$' db 'FAT16...$' db 'FAT32...$' db 'NTFS....$' db 'EXTEND..$' db 'UNKNOWN.$' dw dw dw dw dw dw dw dw dw 0x1,
0x5,
0x6,
0xe,
0xb,
0xc,
0x7,
0xf,
0x0,

fat12 extended fat16 fat16 fat32 fat32 ntfs extended unknown

; table of known partition types

; subroutine to print a number in a string as hex
; takes address of string and a 16bit number as parameter printnum: push bp mov bp, sp push ax push bx push cx push dx push di mov add

ax, [bp+4] bx, 16 cx, 4

; load number in ax
; use base 16 for division

mov div add cmp jbe

dx, 0 bx dl, 0x30 dl, 0x39 skipalpha add skipalpha: ; string to store the number

mov mov mov nextdigit: di, [bp+6] di, 3

dl, 7

mov [di], dl dec di loop nextdigit pop pop pop pop pop pop ret ; divide by 16
; convert into ascii value

; update char in string

di dx cx bx ax bp 4

; subroutine to print the start and end of a partition
; takes the segment and offset of the partition table entry printpart: push bp mov bp, sp push es push ax push di les di, [bp+4]

; point es:di to dap

mov push push call ax, msg ax word [es:di+0xA] printnum ; print first half of start

add push push call ax, 4 ax word [es:di+0x8] printnum ; print second half of start

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Course Code: CS401

add push push call ax, 5 ax word [es:di+0xE] printnum ; print first half of end

add push push call ax, 4 ax word [es:di+0xC] printnum ; print second half of end

mov mov int

dx, msg ah, 9
0x21

; print the whole on the screen

pop pop pop pop ret

di ax es bp 4

; recursive subroutine to read the partition table
; take indentation level and 32bit absolute block number as parameters readpart: push bp mov bp, sp sub sp, 512
; local space to read sector push ax push bx push cx push dx push si mov sub mov mov mov mov mov mov mov mov mov int

found: indent: noindent:

;
;
;
;

failed

; if failed, leave

mov mov add mov adc

si, -66 ax, [bp+4]
[bp+si+0x8], ax ax, [bp+6]
[bp+si+0xA], ax

;
;
;
;
;

cmp je nextmatch:

ah, 0x42 dl, 0x80 si, dap
0x13

jc

nextpart:

ax, bp ax, 512 word [dap+4], ax
[dap+6], ds ax, [bp+4]
[dap+0x8], ax ax, [bp+6]
[dap+0xA], ax

byte [bp+si+4], 0 exit ; is partition unused

mov mov mov cmp je add cmp jne bx, partypes di, 0 ax, [bx+di]
[bp+si+4], al found di, 4 di, 32 nextmatch ; point to partition types

mov jcxz mov mov int loop cx, [bp+8] noindent dl, ' ' ah, 2
0x21
indent

; load indentation level
; skip if no indentation needed

add mov mov

di, 2 dx, [bx+di] ah, 9

; init dest offset in dap
; init dest segment in dap
; init sector no in dap
; init second half of sector no

;
;
;
;
;

read sector in LBA mode first hard disk address of dap int 13

start of partition info read relative sector number make it absolute read second half make seconf half absolute

is this yes, so no, try are all no, try

partition known print its name next entry in table entries compared another ; display char service
; dos services
; print required no of spaces

; point to partition type name
; print string service

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Course Code: CS401

int

0x21

; dos services

push mov add push call

ss ax, bp ax, si ax printpart

; pass partition entry address
; print start and end from it

cmp je byte [bp+si+4], 5 recurse ; is it an extended partition
; yes, make a recursive call

cmp jne byte [bp+si+4], 0xf ; is it an extended partition exit ; yes, make a recursive call

mov add push push push call ax, [bp+8] ax, 2 ax word [bp+si+0xA] word [bp+si+0x8] readpart exit:

add cmp jne

si, 16 si, -2 nextpart failed:

pop pop pop pop pop mov pop ret si dx bx cx ax sp, bp bp 6

start:

xor push push push call

ax, ax ax ax ax readpart

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

recurse:

; increase indentation level
; push partition type address
; recursive call
; point to next partition entry
; gone past last entry
; no, read this entry

; start from zero indentation
; main partition table at 0
; read and print it
; terminate program

13.3. STORAGE ACCESS USING DOS
BIOS provides raw access to the storage medium while DOS gives a more logical view and more cooked services. Everything is a file. A directory is a specially organized file that is interpreted by the operating system itself. A list of important DOS services for file manipulation is given below.
INT 21 - CREATE OR TRUNCATE FILE
AH = 3Ch
CX = file attributes
DS:DX -> ASCIZ filename
Return:
CF = error flag
AX = file handle or error code
INT 21 - OPEN EXISTING FILE
AH = 3Dh
AL = access and sharing modes
DS:DX -> ASCIZ filename
CL = attribute mask of files to look for (server call only)
Return:
CF = error flag
AX = file handle or error code
INT 21 - CLOSE FILE
AH = 3Eh

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BX = file handle
Return:
CF = error flag
AX = error code
INT 21 - READ FROM FILE
AH = 3Fh
BX = file handle
CX = number of bytes to read
DS:DX -> buffer for data
Return:
CF = error flag
AX = number of bytes actually read or error code
INT 21 - WRITE TO FILE
AH = 40h
BX = file handle
CX = number of bytes to write
DS:DX -> data to write
Return:
CF = error flag
AX = number of bytes actually written or error code
INT 21 - DELETE FILE
AH = 41h
DS:DX -> ASCIZ filename (no wildcards, but see notes)
Return:
CF = error flag
AX = error code
INT 21 - SET CURRENT FILE POSITION
AH = 42h
AL = origin of move
BX = file handle
CX:DX = offset from origin of new file position
Return:
CF = error flag
DX:AX = new file position in bytes from start of file
AX = error code in case of error
INT 21 - GET FILE ATTRIBUTES
AX = 4300h
DS:DX -> ASCIZ filename
Return:
CF = error flag
CX = file attributes
AX = error code
INT 21 - SET FILE ATTRIBUTES
AX = 4301h
CX = new file attributes
DS:DX -> ASCIZ filename
Return:
CF = error flag
AX = error code

We will use some of these services to find that two files are same in contents or different. We will read the file names from the command prompt.
The command string is passed to the program in the program segment prefix located at offset 0 in the current segment. The area from 0-7F contains information for DOS, while the command tail length is stored at 80. From 81 to FF, the actual command tail is stored terminated by a CR (Carriage
Retrun).
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Example 13.3
001
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; file comparison using dos services
[org 0x0100] jmp start filename1: filename2: handle1: handle2: buffer1: buffer2:

times 128 db 0 times 128 db 0 dw 0 dw 0 times 4096 db 0 times 4096 db 0

format: openfailed: openfailed2: readfailed: readfailed2: different: same:

db db db db db db db

start:

mov ch, 0 mov cl, [0x80] dec cx mov di, 0x82 mov al, 0x20 cld repne scasb je param2 mov dx, format jmp error

;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

command tail length in cx leave the first space start of command tail in di space for parameter separation auto increment mode search space if found, proceed else, select error message proceed to error printing

push mov mov sub dec mov rep mov pop inc mov rep mov

cx si, 0x82 cx, di cx, 0x82 cx di, filename1 movsb byte [di], 0 cx si di, filename2 movsb byte [di], 0

;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

save original cx set si to start of param set di to end of param find param size in cx excluding the space set di to space for filename 1 copy filename there terminate filename with 0 restore original cx go to start of next filename set di to space for filename 2 copy filename there terminate filename with 0

mov mov mov int jnc mov jmp

ah, 0x3d al, 0 dx, filename1
0x21
open2 dx, openfailed error ;
;
;
;
;
;
;

service 3d – open file readonly mode address of filename dos services if no error, proceed else, select error message proceed to error printing save handle for first file service 3d – open file readonly mode address of filename dos services if no error, proceed else, select error message proceed to error printing

param2:

;
;
;
;
;
;

space for first filename space for second filename handle for first file handle for second file buffer for first file buffer for second file

'Usage error: diff $'
'First file could not be opened$'
'Second file could not be opened$'
'First file could not be read$'
'Second file could not be read$'
'Files are different$'
'Files are same$'

open2:

mov [handle1], ax mov ah, 0x3d mov al, 0 mov dx, filename2 int 0x21 jnc store2 mov dx, openfailed2 jmp error

;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

store2:

mov

[handle2], ax

; save handle for second file

readloop:

mov mov mov mov int jnc mov jmp ah, 0x3f bx, [handle1] cx, 4096 dx, buffer1
0x21
read2 dx, readfailed error ;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

read2:

push ax mov ah, 0x3f

service 3f – read file handle for file to read number of bytes to read buffer to read in dos services if no error, proceed else, select error message proceed to error printing

; save number of bytes read
; service 3f – read file

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mov mov mov int jnc mov jmp

bx, [handle2] cx, 4096 dx, buffer2
0x21
check dx, readfailed2 error ;
;
;
;
;
;
;

handle for file to read number of bytes to read buffer to read in dos services if no error, proceed else, select error message proceed to error printing

check:

pop cmp je mov jmp

cx ax, cx check2 dx, different error ;
;
;
;
;

number of bytes read of file 1 are number of byte same yes, proceed to compare them no, files are different proceed to message printing

check2:

test jnz mov jmp ax, ax compare dx, same error ;
;
;
;

are zero bytes read no, compare them yes, files are same proceed to message printing

compare:

mov mov repe je mov jmp si, buffer1 di, buffer2 cmpsb check3 dx, different error ;
;
;
;
;
;

point si to file 1 buffer point di to file 2 buffer compare the two buffers if equal, proceed else, files are different proceed to message printing

check3:

cmp je mov

ax, 4096 readloop dx, same

; were 4096 bytes read
; yes, try to read more
; no, files are same

error:

mov int ah, 9
0x21

; service 9 – output message
; dos services

mov mov int

ah, 0x3e bx, [handle1]
0x21

; service 3e – close file
; handle of file to close
; dos services

mov mov int

ah, 0x3e bx, [handle2]
0x21

; service 3e – close file
; handle of file to close
; dos services

mov int ax, 0x4c00
0x21

; terminate program

Another interesting service that DOS provides regarding files is executing them. An important point to understand here is that whenever a program is executed in DOS all available memory is allocated to it. No memory is available to execute any new programs. Therefore memory must be freed using explicit calls to DOS for this purpose before a program is executed.
Important services in this regard are listed below.
INT 21 - ALLOCATE MEMORY
AH = 48h
BX = number of paragraphs to allocate
Return:
CF = error flag
AX = segment of allocated block or error code in case of error
BX = size of largest available block in case of error
INT 21 - FREE MEMORY
AH = 49h
ES = segment of block to free
Return:
CF = error flag
AX = error code
INT 21 - RESIZE MEMORY BLOCK
AH = 4Ah
BX = new size in paragraphs
ES = segment of block to resize

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Return:
CF = error flag
AX = error code
BX = maximum paragraphs available for specified memory block
INT 21 - LOAD AND/OR EXECUTE PROGRAM
AH = 4Bh
AL = type of load (0 = load and execute)
DS:DX -> ASCIZ program name (must include extension)
ES:BX -> parameter block
Return:
CF = error flag
AX = error code

The format of parameter block is as follows.
Offset Size

Description

00h

WORD

segment of environment to copy for child process

02h

DWORD

pointer to command tail to be copied into child's PSP

06h

DWORD

pointer to first FCB to be copied into child's PSP

0Ah

DWORD

pointer to second FCB to be copied into child's PSP

0Eh

DWORD

(AL=01h) will hold subprogram's initial SS:SP on return

12h

DWORD

(AL=01h) will hold entry point (CS:IP) on return

(copy caller's environment if 0000h)

As an example we will use the multitasking kernel client from the multitasking chapter and modify it such that after running all three threads it executes a new instance of the command prompt instead of indefinitely hanging around.
Example 13.4
001
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019-062
063-104
104-127
128-146
147-192
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; another multitasking TSR caller
[org 0x0100] jmp start
; parameter block layout:
; cs,ip,ds,es,param
; 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 paramblock: lineno: chars: message: message2: messagelen: tail: command: execblock: ;;;;;
;;;;;
;;;;;
;;;;;
;;;;; start: COPY
COPY
COPY
COPY
COPY

times 5 dw 0 dw 0 db '\|/-' db 'moving hello' db '
'
dw 12 db ' ',13 db 'COMMAND.COM', 0 times 11 dw 0
LINES
LINES
LINES
LINES
LINES

028-071
073-114
103-126
128-146
148-193

FROM
FROM
FROM
FROM
FROM

EXAMPLE
EXAMPLE
EXAMPLE
EXAMPLE
EXAMPLE

;
;
;
;
;
;

space for parameters line number for next thread chracters for rotating bar moving string to erase previous string length of above strings

10.1
10.1
11.5
11.5
11.5

(printnum) ;;;;;
(printstr) ;;;;;
(mytask) ;;;;;
(mytask2) ;;;;;
(mytask3) ;;;;;

mov mov mov mov mov mov int

[paramblock+0], cs ; word [paramblock+2],
[paramblock+4], ds ;
[paramblock+6], es ; word [paramblock+8], si, paramblock
;
0x80
;

code segment parameter mytask ; offset parameter data segment parameter extra segment parameter
0 ; parameter for thread address of param block in si multitasking kernel interrupt

mov mov mov

[paramblock+0], cs ; code segment parameter word [paramblock+2], mytask2 ; offset parameter
[paramblock+4], ds ; data segment parameter

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Course Code: CS401

mov mov mov int [paramblock+6], es ; word [paramblock+8], si, paramblock
;
0x80
;

extra segment parameter
0 ; parameter for thread address of param block in si multitasking kernel interrupt

mov mov mov mov mov mov int

[paramblock+0], cs ; word [paramblock+2],
[paramblock+4], ds ;
[paramblock+6], es ; word [paramblock+8], si, paramblock
;
0x80
;

code segment parameter mytask3 ; offset parameter data segment parameter extra segment parameter
0 ; parameter for thread address of param block in si multitasking kernel interrupt

mov mov add mov shr int ah, 0x4a bx, end bx, 15 cl, 4 bx, cl
0x21

; service 4a – resize memory
; end of memory retained
; rounding up

mov mov mov mov mov mov int

ah, 0x4b al, 0 dx, command bx, execblock word [bx+2], tail
[bx+4], ds
0x21

;
;
;
;
;
;
;

jmp $

; converting into paras
; dos services service 4b - exec load and execute command to be executed address of execblock offset of command tail segment of command tail dos services

; loop infinitely if returned

end:

13.4. DEVICE DRIVERS
Device drivers are operating system extensions that become part of the operating system and extend its services to new devices. Device drivers in
DOS are very simple. They just have their services exposed through the file system interface.
Device driver file starts with a header containing a link to the next driver in the first four bytes followed by a device attribute word. The most important bit in the device attribute word is bit 15 which dictates if it is a character device or a block device. If the bit is zero the device is a character device and otherwise a block device. Next word in the header is the offset of a strategy routine, and then is the offset of the interrupt routine and then in one byte, the number of units supported is stored. This information is padded with seven zeroes.
Strategy routine is called whenever the device is needed and it is passed a request header. Request header stores the unit requested, the command code, space for return value and buffer pointers etc. Important command codes include 0 to initialize, 1 to check media, 2 to build a BIOS parameter block, 4 and 8 for read and write respectively. For every command the first
13 bytes of request header are same.
RH+0

BYTE

Length of request header

RH+1

BYTE

Unit requested

RH+2

BYTE

Command code

RH+3

BYTE

Driver’s return code

RH+5

9 BYTES Reserved

The request header details for different commands is listed below.
0 – Driver Initialization
Passed to driver
RH+18
DWORD
Pointer to character after equal sign on CONFIG.SYS line that loaded driver (read-only)

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RH+22
BYTE
(0=A...)

Course Code: CS401

Drive number for first unit of this block driver

Return from driver
RH+13

BYTE

RH+14
DWORD
address)

Number of units (block devices only)
Address of first free memory above driver (break

RH+18
DWORD
BPB pointer array (block devices only)
1 – Media Check
RH+13

BYTE

Media descriptor byte

BYTE

Media change code
-1 if disk changed
0 if dont know whether disk changed
1 if disk not changed

Return
RH+14

RH+15
DWORD
pointer to previous volume label if device attrib bit
11=1 (open/close/removable media supported)
2 – Build BPB
RH+13

BYTE

Media descriptor byte

RH+14

DWORD

buffer address (one sector)

DWORD

pointer to new BPB

Return
RH+18

if bit 13 (ibm format) is set buffer is first sector of fat, otherwise scrach space
4 – Read / 8 – Write / 9 – Write with verify
RH+13

BYTE

Media descriptor byte

RH+14

DWORD

transfer address

RH+18

WORD

byte or sector count

RH+20

WORD

starting sector number (for block devices)

Return
RH+18

WORD

actual byte or sectors transferred

RH+22

DWORD

pointer to volume label if error 0Fh is returned

The BIOS parameter block discussed above is a structure that provides parameters about the storage medium. It is stored in the first sector or the boot sector of the device. Its contents are listed below.
00-01

bytes per sector

02

sectors per allocation unit

03-04

Number of reserved sectors ( 0 based)

05

number of file allocation tables

06-07

max number of root directory entries

08-09

total number of sectors in medium

0A

media descriptor byte

0B-0C

number of sectors occupied by a single FAT

0D-0E

sectors per track (3.0 or later)

0F-10

number of heads (3.0 or later)

11-12

number of hidden sectors (3.0 or later)

13-14

high-order word of number of hidden sectors (4.0)

15-18

IF bytes 8-9 are zero, total number of sectors in medium

19-1E

Reserved should be zero

We will be building an example device driver that takes some RAM and expresses it as a secondary storage device to the operating system. Therefore a new drive is added and that can be browsed to, filed copied to and from just like ordinary drives expect that this drive is very fast as it is located in the RAM. This program cannot be directly executed since it is not a user program. This must be loaded by adding the line “device=filename.sys” in the
“config.sys” file in the root directory.
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Example 13.5
001
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074

; ram disk dos block device driver header: dd
-1
dw
0x2000
dw strategy dw interrupt db
1
times 7 db 0

;
;
;
;
;
;

request:

dd

; space for request header

ramdisk: bpb: times 11 db 0 dw 512 db 1 dw 1 db 1 dw 48 dw 105 db 0xf8 dw 1 times 482 db 0 db 0xfe, 0xff, 0xff times 509 db 0 times 103*512 db 0 dw bpb

;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

initial part of boot sector bytes per sector sectors per cluster reserved sectors fat copies root dir entries total sectors media desc byte: fixed disk sectors per fat remaining part of boot sector special bytes at start of FAT remaining FAT entries unused
103 sectors for data array of bpb pointers

dw dw dw dw dw dw dw dw dw dw ;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;
;

command command command command command command command command command command bpbptr: dispatch: 0

init mediacheck getbpb unknown input unknown unknown unknown output output ; device driver strategy routine strategy: mov [cs:request], bx mov [cs:request+2], es retf no next driver driver attributes: block device offset of strategy routine offset of interrupt routine no of units supported reserved 0:
1:
2:
3:
4:
5:
6:
7:
8:
9:

init media check get bpb not handled input not handled not handled not handled output output with verify

; save request header offset
; save request header segment

; device driver interrupt routine interrupt: push ax push bx push cx push dx push si push di push ds push es push cs pop ds les mov mov mov cmp ja shl di, [request] word [es:di+3], 0x0100 bl, [es:di+2] bh, 0 bx, 9 skip bx, 1

call [dispatch+bx] skip: pop pop pop pop pop pop pop pop retf

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mediacheck: mov ret byte [es:di+14], 1

getbpb:

mov mov ret

word [es:di+18], bpb
[es:di+20], ds

input:

mov mul mov

ax, 512 word [es:di+18] cx, ax

mov mul mov add ax, 512 word [es:di+20] si, ax si, ramdisk

les cld rep ret di, [es:di+14]

mov mul mov

ax, 512 word [es:di+18] cx, ax

lds mov mul mov add

Course Code: CS401

si, [es:di+14] ax, 512 word [es:di+20] di, ax di, ramdisk

output:

unknown: init: movsb

push cs pop es cld rep movsb ret ah, 9 dx, message
0x21

mov mov mov mov mov ret message:

mov mov int

byte [es:di+13], 1 word [es:di+14], init
[es:di+16], ds word [es:di+18], bpbptr
[es:di+20], ds

db

13, 10, 'RAM Disk Driver loaded',13,10,'$'

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14
Serial Port Programming
14.1. INTRODUCTION
Serial port is a way of communication among two devices just like the parallel port. The basic difference is that whole bytes are sent from one place to another in case of parallel port while the bits are sent one by one on the serial port in a specially formatted fashion. The serial port connection is a
9pin DB-9 connector with pins assigned as shown below.

6



Data Set
Ready
(DSR)
7 – Request to
Send (RTS)
8 – Clear to Send
(CTS)
9 – Ring Indicator
(RI)

1 – Carrier Detect
(CD)
2 – Received Data
(RD)
3 – Transmitted
Data (TD)
4 – Data Terminal
Ready
(DTR)
5 – Signal Ground

We have made a wire that connects signal ground of the two connectors, the TD of one to the RD of the other and the RD of one to the TD of the other.
This three wire connection is sufficient for full duplex serial communication.
The data on the serial port is sent in a standard format called RS232 communication. The data starts with a 1 bit called the start bit, then five to eight data bits, an optional parity bit, and one to two 0 bits called stop bits.
The number of data bits, parity bits, and the number of stop bits have to be configured at both ends. Also the duration of a bit must be precisely known at both ends called the baud rate of the communication.
The BIOS INT 14 provides serial port services. We will use a mix of BIOS services and direct port access for our example. A major limitation in using
BIOS is that it does not allows interrupt driven data transfer, i.e. we are interrupted whenever a byte is ready to be read or a byte can be transferred since the previous transmission has completed. To achieve this we have to resort to direct port access. Important BIOS services regarding the serial port are discussed below.
INT 14 - SERIAL - INITIALIZE PORT
AH = 00h
AL = port parameters
DX = port number (00h-03h)
Return:
AH = line status
AL = modem status

Every bit of line status conveys different information. From most significant to least significant, the meanings are timeout, transmitter shift register empty, transmitter holding register empty, break detect, receiver ready, overrun, parity error, and framing error. Modem status is not used in direct serial communication. The port parameters in AL consist of the baud

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rate, parity scheme, number of stop bits, and number of data bits. The description of various bits is as under.
7

baud rate
000-110
001-150
010-300
011-600
100-1200
101-2400
110-4800
111-9600

6

5

4

3

2

1

0

data bits
00-5
01-6
10-7
11-8

parity
00-N
10-N
01-O
11-E

stop bits

0-1
1-2

INT 14 - SERIAL - WRITE CHARACTER TO PORT
AH = 01h
AL = character to write
DX = port number (00h-03h)
Return:
AH bit 7 = error flag
AH bits 6-0 = port status
INT 14 - SERIAL - READ CHARACTER FROM PORT
AH = 02h
DX = port number (00h-03h)
Return:
AH = line status
AL = received character if AH bit 7 clear
INT 14 - SERIAL - GET PORT STATUS
AH = 03h
DX = port number (00h-03h)
Return:
AH = line status
AL = modem status

Serial port is also accessible via I/O ports. COM1 is accessible via ports
3F8-3FF while COM2 is accessible via 2F8-2FF. The first register at 3F8 (or
2F8 for the other port) is the transmitter holding register if written to and the receiver buffer register if read from. Other registers of our interest include
3F9 whose bit 0 must be set to enable received data available interrupt and bit 1 must be set to enable transmitter holding register empty interrupt. Bit 0 of 3FA is set if an interrupt is pending and its bits 1-3 identify the cause of the interrupt. The three bit causes are as follows.
110

(16550, 82510) timeout interrupt pending

101

(82510) timer interrupt

100

(82510) transmit machine

011

receiver line status interrupt. priority=highest

010

received data available register interrupt. priority=second

001

transmitter holding register empty interrupt. priority=third

000

modem status interrupt. priority=fourth

The register at 3FB is line control register while the one at 3FD is line status register. The line status register has the same bits as returned in line status by the get port status BIOS interrupt however the most significant bit
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is reserved in this case instead of signaling a timeout. The register at 3FC is the modem control register. Bit 3 of this register must be set to enable interrupt generation by the serial port.
14.2. SERIAL COMMUNICATION
We give an example where two computers are connected using a serial cable made just as described above. The program is to be run on both computers. After that whatever is typed on one computer appears on the screen of the other.
Example 14.1
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019
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; a program using serial port to transfer data back and forth
[org 0x0100] jmp start screenpos: dw

0

; where to display next character

; subroutine to clear the screen clrscr: push es push ax push cx push di mov mov xor mov mov ax, es, di, ax, cx,

0xb800 ax di
0x0720
2000

cld rep stosw

;
;
;
;

point es to video base point di to top left column space char in normal attribute number of screen locations

; auto increment mode
; clear the whole screen

pop pop pop pop ret push push push push

ax bx dx es mov in and cmp jne

dx, 0x3FA al, dx al, 0x0F al, 4 skipall ;
;
;
;
;

mov in dx, 0x3F8 al, dx

; data register
; read character

mov mov mov mov add cmp jne

serial:

di cx ax es dx, 0xB800 es, dx
; point es to video memory bx, [cs:screenpos] ; get current screen position
[es:bx], al
; write character on screen word [cs:screenpos], 2 ; update screen position word [cs:screenpos], 4000 ; is the screen full skipall ; no, leave interrupt handler

interrupt identification register read register leave lowerniblle only is receiver data available no, leave interrupt handler

call clrscr
; clear the screen mov word [cs:screenpos], 0 ; reset screen position skipall: mov out al, 0x20
0x20, al

pop pop pop pop iret

es dx bx ax ; end of interrupt

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start:

Course Code: CS401

call clrscr

; clear the screen

mov mov xor int ah, 0 al, 0xE3 dx, dx
0x14

;
;
;
;

xor mov mov mov ax, ax es, ax
; point es to IVT base word [es:0x0C*4], serial
[es:0x0C*4+2], cs ; hook serial port interrupt

mov in or out dx, al, al, dx, 0x3FC dx 8 al ;
;
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;

modem control register read register enable bit 3 (OUT2) write back to register

mov in or out dx, al, al, dx, 0x3F9 dx 1 al ;
;
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;

interrupt enable register read register receiver data interrupt enable write back to register

in and out

al, 0x21 al, 0xEF
0x21, al

initialize port service line settings = 9600, 8, N, 1 port = COM1
BIOS serial port services

; read interrupt mask register
; enable IRQ 4
; write back to register

main:

mov ah, 0 int 0x16 push ax

; read key service
; BIOS keybaord services
; save key for later use

retest:

mov xor int and jz

ah, 3 dx, dx
0x14
ah, 32 retest ;
;
;
;
;

pop mov out

ax dx, 0x3F8 dx, al

; load saved key
; data port
; send on serial port

jmp

main

get line status port = COM1
BIOS keyboard services trasmitter holding register empty no, test again

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15
Protected Mode
Programming
15.1. INTRODUCTION
Till now we have been discussing the 8088 architecture which was a 16bit processor. Newer processors of the Intel series provide 32bit architecture. Till now we were in real mode of a newer processor which is basically a compatibility mode making the newer processor just a faster version of the original 8088. Switching processor in the newer 32bit mode is a very easy task. Just turn on the least significant bit of a new register called CR0
(Control Register 0) and the processor switches into 32bit mode called protected mode. However manipulations in the protected mode are very different from those in the read mode.
All registers in 386 have been extended to 32bits. The new names are EAX,
EBX, ECX, EDX, ESI, EDI, ESP, EBP, EIP, and EFLAGS. The original names refer to the lower 16bits of these registers. A 32bit address register can access upto 4GB of memory so memory access has increased a lot.
As regards segment registers the scheme is not so simple. First of all we call them segment selectors instead of segment registers and they are still
16bits wide. We are also given two other segment selectors FS and GS for no specific purpose just like ES.
The working of segment registers as being multiplied by 10 and added into the offset for obtaining the physical address is totally changed. Now the selector is just an index into an array of segment descriptors where each descriptor describes the base, limit, and attributes of a segment. Role of selector is to select on descriptor from the table of descriptors and the role of descriptor is to define the actual base address. This decouples the selection and actual definition which is needed in certain protection mechanisms introduced into this processor. For example an operating system can define the possible descriptors for a program and the program is bound to select one of them and nothing else. This sentence also hints that the processor has some sense of programs that can or cannot do certain things like change this table of descriptors. This is called the privilege level of the program and varies for 0 (highest privilege) to 3 (lowest privilege). The format of a selector is shown below.

The table index (TI) is set to 0 to access the global table of descriptors called the GDT (Global Descriptor Table). It is set to 1 to access another table, the local descriptor table (LDT) that we will not be using. RPL is the requested privilege level that ranges from 0-3 and informs what privilege level

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Course Code: CS401

the program wants when using this descriptor. The 13bit index is the actual index into the GDT to select the appropriate descriptor. 13 bits mean that a maximum of 8192 descriptors are possible in the GDT.
The GDT itself is an array of descriptors where each descriptor is an 8byte entry. The base and limit of GDT is stored in a 48bit register called the
GDTR. This register is loaded with a special instruction LGDT and is given a memory address from where the 48bits are fetched. The first entry of the
GDT must always be zero. It is called the null descriptor. After that any number of entries upto a maximum of 8191 can follow. The format of a code and data descriptor is shown below.

The 32bit base in both descriptors is scattered into different places because of compatibility reasons. The limit is stored in 20 bits but the G bit defines that the limit is in terms of bytes of 4K pages therefore a maximum of
4GB size is possible. The P bit must be set to signal that this segment is present in memory. DPL is the descriptor privilege level again related to the protection levels in 386. D bit defines that this segment is to execute code is
16bit mode or 32bit mode. C is conforming bit that we will not be using. R signals that the segment is readable. A bit is automatically set whenever the segment is accessed. The combination of S (system) and X (executable) tell that the descriptors is a code or a data descriptor. B (big) bit tells that if this data segment is used as stack SP is used or ESP is used.
Our first example is a very rudimentary one that just goes into protected mode and prints an A on the screen by directly accessing 000B8000.
Example 15.1
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[org 0x0100] jmp gdt:

start

dd dd ;
;
;
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;

0x00000000, 0x00000000
; null descriptor
0x0000FFFF, 0x00CF9A00
; 32bit code
\--/\--/
\/||||\/
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| ||||+--- Base (16..23)=0 fill later
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| |||+--- X=1 C=0 R=1 A=0
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| ||+--- P=1 DPL=00 S=1
|
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| |+--- Limit (16..19) = F
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| +--- G=1 D=1 r=0 AVL=0

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Course Code: CS401

;
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|
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+--- Base (24..31) = 0
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+--- Limit (0..15) = FFFF
+--- Base (0..15)=0 fill later
0x0000FFFF, 0x00CF9200
; data
\--/\--/
\/||||\/
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+--- Base (24..31) = 0
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+--- Limit (0..15) = FFFF
+--- Base (0..15) = 0

gdtreg:

dw dd 0x17
0

stack: stacktop: times 256 dd 0 ; for use in p-mode

start:

mov int ax, 0x2401
0x15

xor mov shl mov shr mov eax, eax ax, cs eax, 4
[gdt+0x08+2], ax eax, 16
[gdt+0x08+4], al

xor mov shl add edx, edx dx, cs edx, 4 edx, stacktop

xor mov shl add mov lgdt eax, eax ax, cs eax, 4 eax, gdt
[gdtreg+2], eax
[gdtreg]

mov or eax, cr0 eax, 1

cli mov jmp

cr0, eax
0x08:pstart

; 16bit limit
; 32bit base (filled later)

; enable A20

; fill base of code desc

; edx = stack top for p-

mode

; fill phy base of gdt
; load gdtr

; MUST disable interrupts
; P-MODE ON
; load cs

;;;;; 32bit protected mode ;;;;;
[bits 32] ; ask assembler to generate 32bit code pstart: mov eax, 0x10 mov ds, ax mov es, ax
; load other seg regs mov fs, ax
; flat memory model mov gs, ax mov ss, ax mov esp, edx mov jmp

byte [0x000b8000], 'A'
$

; direct poke at video
; hang around

Gate A20 is a workaround for a bug that is not detailed here. The BIOS call will simply enable it to open the whole memory for us. Another important thing is that the far jump we used loaded 8 into CS but CS is now a selector so it means Index=1, TI=0, and RPL=0 and therefore the actual descriptor loaded is the one at index 1 in the GDT.

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Course Code: CS401

15.2. 32BIT PROGRAMMING
Our next example is to give a falvour of 32bit programming. We have written the printstr function for read and for protected mode. The availability of larger registers and flexible addressing rules allows writing a much comprehensive version of the code. Also offsets to parameters and default widths change.
Example 15.2
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[org 0x0100] jmp start

gdt:

dd dd dd

0x00000000, 0x00000000
0x0000FFFF, 0x00CF9A00
0x0000FFFF, 0x00CF9200

; null descriptor
; 32bit code
; data

gdtreg:

dw dd 0x17
0

; 16bit limit
; 32bit base

rstring: pstring: db db 'In Real Mode...', 0
'In Protected Mode...', 0

stack: stacktop: times 256 dd 0

; 1K stack

printstr:

push mov push push push push push

; real mode print string

bp bp, sp ax cx si di es mov di,[bp+4] mov cx,0xffff xor al,al repne scasb mov ax,0xffff sub ax,cx dec ax mov cx,ax mov mov mov mul add shl mov ;load string address
;load maximum possible size in cx
;clear al reg
;repeat scan
;
;calculate length
;off by one, as it includes zero
;move length to counter

ax, 0xb800 es, ax ax,80 byte [bp+8] ax,[bp+10] ax,1 di,ax ; point es to video base
;its a word move, clears ah
;its a byte mul to calc y offset
;add x offset
;mul by 2 to get word offset
;load pointer

mov si, [bp+4] mov ah, [bp+6]

nextchar:

; string to be printed
; load attribute

cld lodsb stosw loop nextchar

; set auto increment mode
;load next char and inc si by 1
;store ax and inc di by 2

pop pop pop pop pop pop ret start: immediates

es di si cx ax bp 8

push byte 0 push push push call

; 386 can directly push

byte 10 byte 7 word rstring printstr Virtual University of Pakistan

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Course Code: CS401

mov int ax, 0x2401
0x15

xor mov shl mov shr mov eax, eax ax, cs eax, 4
[gdt+0x08+2], ax eax, 16
[gdt+0x08+4], al

xor mov shl add edx, edx dx, cs edx, 4 edx, stacktop

; stacktop to be used in p-mode

xor mov shl add ebx, ebx bx, cs ebx, 4 ebx, pstring

; pstring to be used in p-mode

xor mov shl add mov lgdt eax, eax ax, cs eax, 4 eax, gdt
[gdtreg+2], eax
[gdtreg]

mov or eax, cr0 eax, 1

cli mov jmp

cr0, eax
0x08:pstart

; enable a20

; set base of code desc

; set base of gdt
; load gdtr

; disable interrupts
; enable protected mode
; load cs

;;;;; 32bit protected mode ;;;;;
[bits 32] pprintstr: push mov push push push push ebp ebp, esp eax ecx esi edi

; p-mode print string routine

mov edi, [ebp+8] ;load string address mov ecx, 0xffffffff ;load maximum possible size in cx xor al, al
;clear al reg repne scasb
;repeat scan mov eax, 0xffffffff
;
sub eax, ecx
;calculate length dec eax
;off by one, as it includes zero mov ecx, eax
;move length to counter mov mul

eax, 80 byte [ebp+16]

;its a word move, clears ah
;its a byte mul to calc y

add shl add mov eax, eax, eax, edi, ;add x offset
;mul by 2 to get word offset

offset
[ebp+20]
1
0xb8000
eax

mov esi, [ebp+8] mov ah, [ebp+12]

pnextchar:

cld lodsb stosw loop pnextchar pop pop pop pop pop ret

edi esi ecx eax ebp
16

;load pointer
; string to be printed
; load attribute
; set auto increment mode
;load next char and inc si by 1
;store ax and inc di by 2

; 4 args now mean 16 bytes

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pstart:

mov mov mov mov mov mov mov

ax, 0x10 ds, ax es, ax fs, ax gs, ax ss, ax esp, edx

push push push push call

byte 0 byte 11 byte 7 ebx pprintstr

mov mov eax, 0x000b8000 ebx, '/-\|'

mov mov loop ror jmp

Course Code: CS401

; load all seg regs to 0x10
; flat memory model

[eax], bl ecx, 0x00FFFFFF
$
ebx, 8 nextsymbol ; load saved esp on stack

; call p-mode print string

routine

nextsymbol:

15.3. VESA LINEAR FRAME BUFFER
As an example of accessing a really large area of memory for which protected mode is a necessity, we will be accessing the video memory in high resolution and high color graphics mode where the necessary video memory is alone above a megabyte. We will be using the VESA VBE 2.0 for a standard for these high resolution modes.
VESA is the Video Electronics Standards Association and VBE is the set of
Video BIOS Extensions proposed by them. The VESA VBE 2.0 standard includes a linear frame buffer mode that we will be using. This mode allows direct access to the whole video memory. Some important VESA services are listed below.
INT 10 – VESA – Get

SuperVGA Infromation

AX = 4F00h
ES:DI -> buffer for SuperVGA information
Return:
AL = 4Fh if function supported
AH = status
INT 10 – VESA – Get SuperVGA Mode Information
AX = 4F01h
CX = SuperVGA video mode
ES:DI -> 256-byte buffer for mode information
Return:
AL = 4Fh if function supported
AH = status
ES:DI filled if no error
INT 10 – VESA – Set VESA Video Mode
AX = 4F02h
BX = new video mode
Return:
AL = 4Fh if function supported
AH = status

One of the VESA defined modes is 8117 which is a 1024x768 mode with
16bit color and a linear frame buffer. The 16 color bits for every pixel are organized in 5:6:5 format with 5 bits for red, 6 for green, and 5 for blue. This makes 32 shades of red and blue and 64 shades of green and 64K total
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possible colors. The 32bit linear frame buffer base address is available at offset 28 in the mode information buffer. Our example will produces shades of green on the screen and clear them and again print them in an infinite loop with delays in between.
Example 15.3
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[org 0x0100] jmp start

modeblock:

times 256 db 0

gdt:

dd dd dd

0x00000000, 0x00000000
0x0000FFFF, 0x00CF9A00
0x0000FFFF, 0x00CF9200

; null descriptor
; 32bit code
; data

gdtreg:

dw dd 0x17
0

; 16bit limit
; 32bit base

stack: stacktop: times 256 dd 0

start:

mov mov ax, 0x4f01 cx, 0x8117

mov int mov

di, modeblock
0x10
esi, [modeblock+0x28]

mov mov int

ax, 0x4f02 bx, 0x8117
0x10

mov int ax, 0x2401
0x15

xor mov shl mov shr mov eax, eax ax, cs eax, 4
[gdt+0x08+2], ax eax, 16
[gdt+0x08+4], al

xor mov shl add edx, edx dx, cs edx, 4 edx, stacktop

xor mov shl add mov lgdt eax, eax ax, cs eax, 4 eax, gdt
[gdtreg+2], eax
[gdtreg]

mov or eax, cr0 eax, 1

cli mov jmp

cr0, eax
0x08:pstart

; 1K stack

; get vesa mode information
; 1024*768*64K linear frame

buffer

; save frame buffer base

; set vesa mode

; enable a20

; set base of code desc

; stacktop to be used in p-mode

; set base of gdt
; load gdtr

; disable interrupts
; enable protected mode
; load cs

;;;;; 32bit protected mode ;;;;;
[bits 32] pstart: l1:

mov mov mov mov mov mov mov

ax, 0x10 ds, ax es, ax fs, ax gs, ax ss, ax esp, edx

xor

; load all seg regs to 0x10
; flat memory model

eax, eax

; load saved esp on stack

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mov mov cld rep mov mov mov l2: edi, esi ecx, 1024*768*2/4

eax, 0x07FF07FF ecx, 32 edi, esi

Course Code: CS401

; divide by 4 as dwords

stosd

; no of bands

push ecx mov ecx, 768*16

; band width = 32

lines cld rep stosd mov ecx, 0x000FFFFF loop $ pop ecx

; small wait

sub eax, 0x00410041 loop l2 mov ecx, 0x0FFFFFFF loop $ jmp l1

; long wait

15.4. INTERRUPT HANDLING
Handling interrupts in protected mode is also different. Instead of the IVT at physical address 0 there is the IDT (interrupt descriptor table) located at physical address stored in IDTR, a special purpose register. The IDTR is also a 48bit register similar in structure to the GDTR and loaded with another special instruction LGDT. The format of the interrupt descriptor is as shown below. The P and DPL have the same meaning as in data and code descriptors.
The S bit tells that this is a system descriptor while the 1110 following it tells that it is a 386 interrupt gate. Our example hooks the keyboard and timer interrupts and displays certain things on the screen to show that they are working. Example 15.4
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[org 0x0100] jmp start

gdt:

dd dd dd

0x00000000, 0x00000000
0x0000FFFF, 0x00CF9A00
0x0000FFFF, 0x00CF9200

; null descriptor
; 32bit code
; data

gdtreg:

dw dd 0x17
0

; 16bit limit
; 32bit base

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Course Code: CS401

idt:

times 8 dw unhandled, 0x0008, 0x8e00, 0x0000 dw timer, 0x0008, 0x8e00, 0x0000
\---/ \----/
||\/ \----/
|
|
|| |
+----- offset bits 16..32
|
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|| +----- reserved
|
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|+------ Type=E 386 Interrupt Gate
|
|
+--- P=1 DPL=00 S=0
|
+------- selector
+-------- offset bits 0..15 dw keyboard, 0x0008, 0x8e00, 0x0000 times 246 dw unhandled, 0x0008, 0x8e00, 0x0000

idtreg:

dw dd stack: stacktop: times 256 dd 0

start:

mov int ax, 0x2401
0x15

xor mov shl mov shr mov eax, eax ax, cs eax, 4
[gdt+0x08+2], ax eax, 16
[gdt+0x08+4], al

xor mov shl add edx, edx dx, cs edx, 4 edx, stacktop

xor mov shl add mov lgdt eax, eax ax, cs eax, 4 eax, gdt
[gdtreg+2], eax
[gdtreg]

; set base of gdt
; load gdtr

xor mov shl add mov

eax, eax ax, cs eax, 4 eax, idt
[idtreg+2], eax

; set base of idt

0x07FF
0
; 1K stack

; enable a20

; set base of code desc

; stacktop to be used in p-mode

cli lidt [idtreg]

; disable interrupts
; load idtr

mov or mov

eax, cr0 eax, 1 cr0, eax

; enable protected mode

jmp

0x08:pstart

; load cs

;;;;; 32bit protected mode ;;;;;
[bits 32] unhandled: iret

timer:

push eax inc byte [0x000b8000]

mov al, 0x20 out 0x20, al pop eax iret keyboard:

push eax in mov and shr

al, ah, al, ah, 0x60 al 0x0F
4

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add cmp jbe add cmp jbe add mov mov

skip1:

skip2:

Course Code: CS401

ax, 0x3030 al, 0x39 skip1 al, 7 ah, 0x39 skip2 ah, 7
[0x000b809C], ah
[0x000b809E], al

skipkb:

mov al, 0x20 out 0x20, al pop eax iret pstart:

mov mov mov mov mov mov mov

ax, 0x10 ds, ax es, ax fs, ax gs, ax ss, ax esp, edx

mov out al, 0xFC
0x21, al

sti jmp ; load all seg regs to 0x10
; flat memory model

; load saved esp on stack

; no unexpected int comes
; interrupts are okay now

$

EXERCISES
1. Write very brief and to-the-point answers.
a. Why loading idtr with a value appropriate for real mode is necessary while gdtr is not?
b. What should we do in protected mode so that when we turn protection off, we are in unreal mode?
c. If the line jmp code:next is replaced with call code:somefun, the prefetch queue is still emptied. What problem will occur when somefun will return?
d. How much is ESP decremented when an interrupt arrives.
This depends on weather we are in 16-bit mode or 32-bit.
Does it depend on any other thing as well? If yes, what?
e. Give two instructions that change the TR register.
2. Name the following descriptors like code descriptor, data descriptor, interrupt gate etc. gdt: dd dd dd dd dd

0x00000000,
0x00000000,
0x80000fA0,
0x0000ffff,
0x80000000,

0x00000000
0x00000000
0x0000820b
0x00409a00
0x0001d20b

3. Using the above GDT, which of the following values, when moved into
DS will cause an exception and why.
0x00
0x08
0x10
0x18
0x28
0x23

4. Using the above GDT, if DS contains 0x20, which of the following offsets will cause an exception on read access?
0x0ffff
0x10000
0x10001

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5. The following function is written in 32-bit code for a 16-bit stack.
Against every instruction, write the prefixes generated before that instruction. Prefixes can be address size, operand size, repeat, or segment override. Then rewrite the code such that no prefixes are generated considering that this is assembled and executed in 32-bit mode. Don’t care for retaining register values. The function copies specified number of DWORDs between two segments.
[bits 32] memcpy: L1:

mov lds les mov shl mov mov dec jnz ret bp, sp esi, [bp+4] edi, [bp+10] cx, [bp+16] cx, 1 dx, [si]
[es:di], dx cx L1

;
;
;
;

source address destination address count of DWORDs to move make into count of WORDs

6. Rewrite the following scheduler so that it schedules processes stored in readyQ, where enque and deque functions are redefined and readyQ contains TSS selectors of processes to be multitasked.
Remember you can’t use a register as a segment in a jump (eg jmp ax:0) but you can jump to an indirect address (eg jmp far [eax]) where eax points to a six-byte address. Declare any variables you need. scheduler: mov al, 0x20 jmp USERONESEL:0 out 0x20, al mov byte [USERONEDESC+5], 0x89 jmp USERTWOSEL:0 out 0x20, al mov byte [USERTWODESC+5], 0x89 jmp scheduler

7. Protected mode has specialized mechanism for multitasking using task state segments but the method used in real mode i.e. saving all registers in a PCB, selecting the next PCB and loading all registers from there is still applicable.
Multitask two tasks in protected mode multitasking without TSS. Assume that all processes are at level zero so no protection issues arise. Be careful to save the complete state of the process.
8. Write the following descriptors.
a. 32 bit, conforming, execute-only code segment at level 2, with base at 6MB and a size of 4MB.
b. 16 bit, non-conforming, readable code segment at level 0, with base at 1MB and a size of 10 bytes.
c. Read only data segment at level 3, with base at 0 and size of 1MB.
d. Interrupt Gate with selector 180h and offset 11223344h.
9. Write physical addresses for the following accesses where CS points to the first descriptor above, DS to the second, ES to the third, EBX contains
00010000h, and ESI contains 00020000h
a. [bx+si]
b. [ebx+esi-2ffffh]
c. [es:ebx-10h]
10. Which of the following will cause exceptions and why. The registers have the same values as the last question.
a. mov eax, [cs:10000h]
b. mov [es:esi:100h], ebx
c. mov ax, [es:ebx]
11. Give short answers.
a. How can a GPF (General protection fault) occur while running the following code push es pop es

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b. How can a GPF occur during the following instruction? Give any two reasons. jmp 10h:100h

c. What will happen if we call interrupt 80h after loading out IDT and before switching to protected mode?
d. What will happen if we call interrupt 80h after switching into protected mode but before making a far jump?
12. Write the following descriptors. Assume values for attributes not specifically mentioned.
a. Write able 32-bit data segment with 1 GB base and 1 GB limit and a privilege level of 2.
b. Readable 16-bit code descriptor with 1 MB base and 1 MB limit and a privilege level of 1.
c. Interrupt gate given that the handler is at 48h:12345678h and a privilege level of 0.
13. Describe the following descriptors. Give their type and the value of all their fields. dd 01234567h, 789abcdeh dd 30405060h, 70809010h dd 00aabb00h, 00ffee00h

14. Make an EXE file, switch into protected mode, rotate an asterisk on the border of the screen, and return to real mode when the border is traversed. Virtual University of Pakistan

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16
Interfacing with High
Level Languages
16.1. CALLING CONVENTIONS
To interface an assembly routine with a high level language program means to be able to call functions back and forth. And to be able to do so requires knowledge of certain behavior of the HLL when calling functions.
This behavior of calling functions is called the calling conventions of the language. Two prevalent calling conventions are the C calling convention and the Pascal calling convention.
What is the naming convention
C prepends an underscore to every function or variable name while Pascal translates the name to all uppercase. C++ has a weird name mangling scheme that is compiler dependent. To avoid it C++ can be forced to use C style naming with extern “C” directive.
How are parameters passed to the routine
In C parameters are pushed in reverse order with the rightmost being pushed first. While in Pascal they are pushed in proper order with the leftmost being pushed first.
Which registers must be preserved
Both standards preserve EBX, ESI, EDI, EBP, ESP, DS, ES, and SS.
Which registers are used as scratch
Both standards do not preserve or guarantee the value of EAX, ECX, EDX,
FS, GS, EFLAGS, and any other registers.
Which register holds the return value
Both C and Pascal return upto 32bit large values in EAX and upto 64bit large values in EDX:EAX.
Who is responsible for removing the parameters
In C the caller removes the parameter while in Pascal the callee removes them. The C scheme has reasons pertaining to its provision for variable number of arguments.
16.2. CALLING C FROM ASSEMBLY
For example we take a function divide declared in C as follows. int divide( int dividend, int divisor );

To call this function from assembly we have to write. push dword [mydivisor]

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push dword [mydividend] call _divide add esp, 8
; EAX holds the answer

Observe the order of parameters according to the C calling conventions and observe that the caller cleared the stack. Now take another example of a function written in C as follows. void swap( int* p1, int* p2 )
{
int temp = *p1;
*p1 = *p2;
*p2 = temp;
}

To call it from assembly we have to write this.
[section .text] extern _swap x: dd 4

y:

dd 7

push dword y push dword x call _swap

; will only retain the specified registers

add esp, 8

Observe how pointers were initialized appropriately. The above function swap was converted into assembly by the gcc compiler as follows.
; swap generated by gcc with no optimizations (converted to Intel syntax) ; 15 instructions AND 13 memory accesses
_swap:
push ebp mov ebp, esp

sub

esp, 4

; space created for temp

mov eax, [ebp+8] mov eax, [eax] mov [ebp-4], eax

; temp = *p1

mov edx, [ebp+8] mov eax, [ebp+12] mov eax, [eax] mov [edx], eax

; *p1 = *p2

mov edx, [ebp+12] mov eax, [ebp-4] mov [edx], eax leave ; *p2 = temp

;;;;; EQUIVALENT TO mov esp, ebp AND pop ebp ;;;;;

ret

If we turn on optimizations the same function is compiled into the following code. Virtual University of Pakistan

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; generated with full optimization by gcc compiler
; 12 instructions AND 11 memory accesses
_swap:
push

ebp

mov

ebp, esp

push

ebx

mov

edx, [ebp+8]

mov

ecx, [ebp+12]

mov

ebx, [edx]

mov

eax, [ecx]

mov

[edx], eax

mov

[ecx], ebx

pop

ebx

pop

ebp

ret

16.3. CALLING ASSEMBLY FROM C
We now write a hand optimized version in assembly. Our version is only 6 instructions and 6 memory accesses.
Example 16.1
001
002
003
004
005
006
007
008

[section .text] global _swap
_swap:
mov ecx,[esp+4]
; copy parameter p1 to ecx mov edx,[esp+8]
; copy parameter p2 to edx mov eax,[ecx] ; copy *p1 into eax xchg eax,[edx] ; exchange eax with *p2 mov [ecx],eax ; copy eax into *p1 ret ; return from this function

We assemble the above program with the following command.

•nasm –f win32 swap.asm
This produces a swap.obj file. The format directive told the assembler that it is to be linked with a 32bit Windows executable. The linking process involves resolving imported symbols of one object files with export symbols of another. In NASM an imported symbol is declared with the extern directive while and exported symbol is declared with the global directive.
We write the following program in C to call this assembly routine. We should have provided the swap.obj file to the C linker otherwise an unresolved external symbol error will come.
Example 16.1
001
002
003
004
005
006
007
008
009
010
011
012
013

#include void swap( int* p1, int* p2 ); int main()
{
int a = 10, b = 20; printf( "a=%d b=%d\n", a, b ); swap(&a, &b ); printf( "a=%d b=%d\n", a, b ); system( "PAUSE" ); return 0;
}

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EXERCISES
1. Write a traverse function in assembly, which takes an array, the number of elements in the array and the address of another function to be called for each member of the array. Call the function from a C program. 2. Make the linked list functions make in Exercise 5.XX available to C programs using the following declarations. struct node { int data; struct node* next;
};
void init( void ); struct node* createlist( void ); void insertafter( struct node*, int ); void deleteafter( struct node* ); void deletelist( struct node* );

3. Add two functions to the above program implemented in C. The function “printnode” should print the data in the passed node using printf, while “countfree” should count the number of free nodes by traversing the free list starting from the node address stored in firstfree. void printnode( struct node* ); void countfree( void );

4. Add the function “printlist” to the above program and implement assembly. This function should traverse the list whose head passed as parameter and for each node containing data (head dummy and doesn’t contain data) calls the C function printnode actually print the contained data.

in is is to void printlist( struct node* );

5. Modify the createlist and deletelist functions in the above program to increment and decrement an integer variable “listcount” declared in
C to maintain a count of linked lists present.

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17
Comparison with Other
Processors
We emphasized that assembly language has to be learned once and every processor can be programmed by that person. To give a flavour of two different widely popular processors we introduce the Motorolla 68K series and the Sun SPARC processors. The Motorolla 68K processors are very popular in high performance embedded applications while the Sun SPARC processors are popular in very high end enterprise servers. We will compare them with the Intel x86 series which is known for its success in the desktop market. 17.1. MOTOROLLA 68K PROCESSORS
Motorolla 68K processors are very similar to Intel x86 series in their architecture and instruction set. The both are of the same era and added various features at the same time. The instructions are very similar however the difference in architecture evident from a programmer’s point of view must be understood.
68K processors have 16 23bit general purpose registers named from A0-A7 and D0-D7. A0-A7 can hold addresses in indirect memory accesses. These can also be used as software stack pointers. Stack in 68K is not as rigit a structure as it is in x86. There is a 32bit program counter (PC) that holds the address of currently executing instruction. The 8bit condition code register
(CCR) holds the X (Extend) N (Negative) Z (Zero) V (Overflow) C (Carry) flags.
X is set to C for extended operations (addition, subtraction, or shifting).
Motrolla processors allow bit addressing, that is a specific bit in a byte or a bit field, i.e. a number of bits can be directly accessed. This is a very useful feature especially in control applications. Other data types include byte, word, long word, and quad word. A special MOVE16 instruction also accepts a 16byte block.
68K allows indirect memory access using any A register. A special memory access allows post increment or predecrement as part of memory access.
These forms are written as (An), (An)+, and –(An). Other forms allow addressing with another regiser as index and with constant displacement.
Using one of the A registers as the stack pointer and using the post increment and pre decrement forms of addressing, stack is implemented.
Immediates can also be given as arguments and are preceded with a hash sign (#). Addressing is indicated with parenthesis instead of brackets.
68K has no segmentation; it however has a paged memory model. It used the big endian format in contrast to the little endian used by the Intel processors. It has varying instruction lengths from 1-11 words. It has a decrementing stack just like the Intel one. The format of instructions is
“operation source, destination” which is different from the Intel order of operands. Some instructions from various instruction groups are given below. Data Movement
EXG D0, D2
MOVE.B (A1), (A2)

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MOVEA (2222).L, A4
MOVEQ #12, D7
Arithmetic
ADD D7, (A4)
CLR (A3)

(set to zero)

CMP (A2), D1
ASL, ASR, LSL, LSR, ROR, ROL, ROXL, ROXR (shift operations)
Program Control
BRA label
JMP (A3)
BSR label

(CALL)

JSR (A2)

(indirect call)

RTD #4
Conditional Branch

(RET N)

BCC

(branch if carry clear)

BLS

(branch if Lower or Same)

BLT

(branch if Less Than)

BEQ

(branch if Equal)

BVC

(branch if Overflow clear)

17.2. SUN SPARC PROCESSOR
The Sun SPARC is a very popular processing belonging to the RISC
(reduced instruction set computer) family of processors. RISC processors originally named because of the very few rudimentary instructions they provided, are now providing almost as many instruction as CISC (complex instruction set computer). However some properties like a fixed instruction size and single clock execution for most instructions are there.
SPARC stands for Scalable Processor ARChitecture. SPARC is a 64bit processor. It byte order is user settable and even on a per program basis. So one program may be using little endian byte order and another may be using big endian at the same time. Data types include byte, Halfword, Word (32bit), and Double Word (64bits) and Quadword. It has a fixed 32bit instruction size. It has a concept of ASI (Address Space Identifier); an 8bit number that works similar to a segment.
There are 8 global registers and 8 alternate global registers. One of them is active at a time and accessible as g0-g7. Apart from that it has 8 in registers
(i0-i7), 8 local registers (l0-l7), and 8 out registers (o0-o7). All registers are
64bit in size. The global registers can also be called r0-r7, in registers as r8r15, local registers as r16-r23, and out registers as r24-r31.
SPARC introduces a concept of register window. One window is 24 registers and the active window is pointed to by a special register called
Current Window Pointer (CWP). The actual number of registers in the processor is in hundreds not restricted by the architecture definition. Two instruction SAVE and RESTORE move this register window forward and backward by 16 registers. Therefore one SAVE instruction makes the out register the in registers and brings in new local and out registers. A
RESTORE instruction makes the in registers out registers and restores the old local and in registers. This way parameters passing and returning can be totally done in registers and there is no need to save and restore registers inside subroutines.
The register o6 is conventionally used as the stack pointer. Return address is stored in o7 by the CALL instruction. The register g0 (r0) is always 0 so loading 0 in a register is made easy. SPARC is a totally register based architecture, or it is called a load-store architecture where memory access is only allowed in data movement instruction. Rest of the operations must be done on registers.

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SPARC instructions have two sources and a distinct destination. This allows more flexibility in writing programs. Some examples of instructions of this processor follow.
Data Movement
LDSB [rn], rn

(load signed byte)

LDUW [rn], rn

(load unsigned word)

STH [rn], rn
Arithmetic

(store half word)

source1 = rn source2 = rn or simm13 dest = rn
ADD r2, r3, r4
SUB r2, 4000, r5
SLL, SRA, SRL

(shifting)

AND, OR, XOR
Program Control

(logical)

CALL

(direct call)

JMPL

(register indirect)

RET
SAVE
RESTORE
BA label

(Branch Always)

BE label

(branch if equal)

BCC label

(branch if carry clear)

BLE label

(branch if less or equal)

BVS label

(branch if overflow set)

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...Structure and Functions of a Computer "Hardware: the parts of a computer that can be kicked." ~ Jeff Pesis After completing this chapter, you will be able to: 1. Explain the importance of computer literacy. 2. Define the term computer. 3. Identify the components of a computer. 4. Compare the uses of various types of: input devices, output devices, and storage devices. 5. Describe categories of computers and their uses. Structure and Functions of a Computer 1 1.0 Introduction A computer is an electronic machine designed for the storage and processing of data. The machinery is called hardware, and this highly sophisticated equipment needs equally sophisticated programs (called software) to become a working computer system. Modern society has come to depend very heavily on the use of computer systems. Banks, businesses, government departments, industries, shops, people at home and school all rely on computer to play a vital role in their daily activities. These activities are centered on information. In business, the computer system has been used a lot and replaced filing cabinets as means of storing information, and clerical workers as a means of processing it. By storing and processing information on a computer system, these businesses can function more quickly and efficiently, because information can be found and collated much faster. Discovery Learning: A computer was also called a data processor. Why? 1.1 Major Parts and Functions A Computer is an......

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...CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 1.1 Introduction Modern civilization has become so complicated and sophisticated that to survive one has to be competitive. This compels people to keep themselves informed of all types of happening in the society. And this in turn entails the need for an infrastructure of information. This is the point where information technology or IT becomes most important, as it is the infrastructure that allows us to get information accurately and in time. Before we define information technology, it is important to understand the notion of Data, Information, Technology, and Knowledge. In everyday conversation, people use the terms data and information interchangeably. However, some computer professional make a distinction between the two terms. Data It is the words, numbers, letters, symbol, sound, video and graphics that describe people, events, things and ideas. It is raw facts about people, objects, and events that have little or no meaning. It is the raw material used to create useful information. It becomes information when you use it as the basis for initiating some action or for making a decision. Information It is defined as the words, numbers, letters, symbol, sound, video and graphics used as the basis for human action or decisions. It is data that have been processed and presented in a form suitable for human interpretation, often with the purpose of revealing trends or patterns that can be used in decision-making. It is data...

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...Computer The word'computer ' is an old word that has changed its meaning several times in the last few centuries.The Techencyclopedia(2003) defines computer as " a general purpose machine that processes data according to a set of instructions that are stored internally either temorarily or permanently" Computer history The trem history means past events.It indicates the gradual development of computers.Here we will discuss how this extraordinary machine has reached of it's apex. In the begining............................... The history of computers starts out about 2000 years ago, at the birth of the 'abacus' a wooden rack holding two horizontal wires with breads strung on them.Just like our present computer,abacus also considered a digit as a singal or codeo and processed the calculation. Blasie Pascal ists usually credited to building the first digital computer in 1942.It added numbers to help his father.In 1671,Gottofried Wilhelm Von Leibniz invented a computer that was built in 1694.It could add,and, after changing somethings around,multiply. Charles Babbage: A serious of very intersting developement in computer was started in Cambridge,England,by Charles Babbage, a mathmatics proffessor.In 1982,Babbge realized that many lng calculations,espically those need to make mathematical tabes ,were really a series of predictable actions that were constantly repated.From this he suspected that it......

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...The computers process information's that come in all shapes and sizes from any fields so accurately that, some people may call these "Informatics"— The Science of Informal ion Processing, i.e. the methods of recording, manipulating and retrieving information's. It may be from a mathematical equation to a company's work-force necessary to produce a payroll or from meteorological department to forecast tomorrow's weather or from space research to project a new space craft. The following characteristics that make the computers very popular for its multifarious uses may give the befitting reply. Speed First, the computers are regarded as high speed calculators. They can process voluminous data within a fraction of second which no human being could do earlier. If we want tomorrow's forecast today, meteorologists can use the computers for necessary calculations and analyses. The units of speed of a computer are the microsecond, the nano (10)-9 second and even the picot second. Storage As human brain can store the knowledge in memory and can able to recall it, the Central Processing Unit (CPU) of a computer can do the same job without any failure. But the internal memory of CPU is only large enough to retain a certain amount of information. So, to store each and every information inside the computer, an Auxiliary or Secondary Storage Device is being attached outside the memory of the CPU. Accuracy The computers are much popular due to their high speed along with......

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