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AMD patents chip design…

...and dabbles with Unix

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Patents Boffins working away in the AMD labs have just patented a couple of interesting pieces of technology. The first, which is a superscalar microprocessor including a high speed alignment unit, describes a way of transferring a fixed number of instructions from the instruction cache to each of a plurality of decode units. The full abstract on the patent, which is number 5,991,869, says: "A superscalar microprocessor having an instruction alignment unit, an instruction cache, a plurality of decode units and a predecode unit is provided. The instruction alignment unit transfers a fixed number of instructions from the instruction cache to each of the plurality of decode units. "The instructions are selected from a quantity of bytes according to a predecode tag generated by the predecode unit. The predecode tag includes start-byte bits that indicate which bytes within the quantity of bytes are the first byte of an instruction. The instruction alignment unit independently scans a plurality of groups of instruction bytes, selecting start bytes and a plurality of contiguous bytes for each of a plurality of issue positions. "Initially, the instruction alignment unit selects a group of issue positions for each of the plurality of groups of instructions. The instruction alignment unit then shifts and merges the independently produced issue positions to produce a final set of issue positions for transfer to the plurality of decode units." The second interesting US patent is number 5,991,860. The abstract for this patent says it is: "A method for increasing the size of a root file system on a computer system operating under control of a UNIX type operating system. The computer system includes a first storage device. "The first storage device includes a root partition. The root partition includes a root file system. The method includes booting the computer system to a single user mode, increasing the size of the root partition and the root file system without reinstalling the UNIX type operating system, and rebooting the computer system." ®

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