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Encyclopedia > Floating point unit

A floating point unit (FPU) is a part of a computer system specially designed to carry out operations on floating point numbers. Typical operations are addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square root. Some systems (particularly older, microcode-based architectures) can also perform various "transcendental" functions such as exponential or trigonometric calculations, though in most modern processors these are done with software library routines. A BlueGene supercomputer cabinet. ... A floating-point number is a digital representation for a number in a certain subset of the rational numbers, and is often used to approximate an arbitrary real number on a computer. ... In mathematics, a transcendental number is any complex number that is not algebraic, that is, not the solution of a non-zero polynomial equation with integer (or, equivalently, rational) coefficients. ...


In most modern general purpose computer architectures, one or more FPUs are integrated with the CPU; however many embedded processors, especially older designs, do not have hardware support for floating point operations. A typical vision of a computer architecture as a series of abstraction layers: hardware, firmware, assembler, kernel, operating system and applications (see also Tanenbaum 79). ... CPU redirects here. ... This page is a candidate for speedy deletion, because: it is patent nonsense. ...


In the past, some systems have implemented floating point via a coprocessor rather as an integrated unit; in the microcomputer era, this was generally a single microchip, while in older systems it could be an entire circuit board or a cabinet. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Commodore 64 was one of the most popular microcomputers of its era, and is the best selling home computer of all time. ... Microchip can refer to: Microchip (or simply chip) is used rather loosely in electronics. ... Close-up photo of one side of a motherboard PCB, showing conductive traces, vias and solder points for through-hole components on the opposite side. ...


Not all computer architectures have a hardware FPU. In the absence of an FPU, many FPU functions can be emulated, which saves the added hardware cost of an FPU but is significantly slower. Emulation can be implemented on any of several levels - in the CPU as microcode, as an operating system function, or in user space code. A microprogram is a program consisting of microcode that controls the different parts of a computers central processing unit (CPU). ... An operating system (OS) is a computer program that manages the hardware and software resources of a computer. ... An operating system usually segregates the available system memory into kernel space and user space. ...


In most modern computer architectures, there is some division of floating point operations from integer operations. This division varies significantly by architecture; some, like the Intel x86 have dedicated floating point registers, while some take it as far as independent clocking schemes. The integers are commonly denoted by the above symbol. ... x86 or 80x86 is the generic name of a microprocessor architecture first developed and manufactured by Intel. ... In computer architecture, a processor register is a small amount of very fast computer memory used to speed the execution of computer programs by providing quick access to commonly used values—typically, the values being in the midst of a calculation at a given point in time. ... In synchronous digital electronics, such as most computers, a clock signal is a signal used to coordinate the actions of two or more circuits. ...


Floating point operations are often pipelined. In earlier superscalar architectures without general out-of-order execution, floating point operations were sometimes pipelined separately from integer operations. Today, many CPUs/architectures have more than one FPU, such as the PowerPC 970, and processors based on the Netburst and AMD64 architectures (such as the Pentium 4 and Athlon 64, respectively.) Processor board of a CRAY T3e parallel computer with four superscalar Alpha processors A superscalar CPU architecture implements a form of parallelism called Instruction-level parallelism within a single processor. ... In computer science, out-of-order execution is a paradigm used in most high-speed microprocessors in order to make use of cycles that would otherwise be wasted by a certain type of costly delay. ... PowerPC 970 In computing, the PowerPC 970, PowerPC 970FX, and PowerPC 970MP, also known as PowerPC G5, are 64-bit processors in the PowerPC family from IBM, which was introduced in 2002. ... The Intel NetBurst Microarchitecture, called P68 inside Intel, is the successor to the P6 microarchitecture in the x86 family of CPUs made by Intel. ... AMD64 Logo AMD64 (also x86-64 or x64) is a 64-bit microprocessor architecture and corresponding instruction set designed by Advanced Micro Devices. ... New Intel Pentium 4 with Hyper Threading logo The Pentium 4 is a seventh-generation x86 architecture microprocessor produced by Intel and is their first all-new CPU design, called the NetBurst architecture, since the Pentium Pro of 1995. ... The Athlon 64 is an eighth-generation, AMD64 architecture microprocessor produced by AMD, released on September 23, 2003[1]. It is the third processor to bear the name Athlon, and the immediate successor to the Athlon XP[2]. The second processor (after the Opteron) to implement AMD64 architecture and the...


In some cases, FPUs may be specialized, and divided between simpler floating point operations (mainly addition and multiplication) and more complicated operations, like division. In some cases, only the simple operations may be implemented in hardware, while the more complex operations could be emulated.


In some current architectures, the FPU functionality is combined with units to perform SIMD computation; examples of this are the AMD64 and SSE architectures.-1... SSE (Streaming SIMD Extensions, originally called ISSE, Internet Streaming SIMD Extensions) is a SIMD (Single Instruction, Multiple Data) instruction set designed by Intel and introduced in 1999 in their Pentium III series processors as a reply to AMDs 3DNow! (which had debuted a year earlier). ...


Add-on FPUs

Main article: Coprocessor

In the 1980s, it was common in IBM PC/compatible microcomputers for the FPU to be entirely separate from the CPU, and typically sold as an optional add-on. It would only be purchased if needed to speed up or enable math-intensive programs. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The 1980s refers to the years of 1980 to 1989. ... IBM PC (IBM 5150) with keyboard and green screen monochrome monitor (IBM 5151), running MS-DOS 5. ... Apple IIc Generally, a microcomputer is a computer with a microprocessor (µP) as its CPU. Another general characteristic of these computers is that they occupy physically small amounts of space. ... CPU redirects here. ...


The IBM PC, XT, and most compatibles based on the 8088 or 8086 had a socket for the optional 8087 coprocessor. The AT and 80286-based systems were generally socketed for the 80287, and 80386/80386SX based machines for the 80387 and 80387SX respectively, although early ones were socketed for the 80287, since the 80387 did not exist yet. IBM PC (IBM 5150) with keyboard and green screen monochrome monitor (IBM 5151), running MS-DOS 5. ... The IBM Personal Computer XT (IBM 5160), often shortened to the PC XT or simply XT, was IBMs successor to the original IBM PC. It was released on March 8, 1983, and was one of the first computers to come standard with a hard drive. ... The Intel 8088 is an Intel microprocessor based on the 8086, with 16-bit registers and an 8-bit external data bus. ... The 8086 is a 16-bit microprocessor chip designed by Intel in 1978, which gave rise to the x86 architecture. ... The 8087 was the first math coprocessor designed by Intel and it was built to be paired with the Intel 8088 and 8086 microprocessors. ... The IBM Personal Computer/AT (IBM 5170), more commonly known as the IBM AT and also sometimes called the PC AT or PC/AT, was IBMs second-generation PC, designed around the Intel 80286 microprocessor running at 6 MHz and released in 1984. ... The Intel 80286 is an x86-family 16-bit microprocessor that was introduced by Intel on February 1, 1982. ... The Intel 80287 (287) was the math coprocessor for the Intel 80286 series of microprocessors. ... The Intel 80386 is a microprocessor which was used as the central processing unit (CPU) of many personal computers from 1986 until 1994 and later. ... The Intel 80386 is a microprocessor which was used as the central processing unit (CPU) of many personal computers from 1986 until 1994 and later. ... The Intel 80387 (387) was the math coprocessor for the Intel 80386 series of microprocessors. ... The Intel 80387 (387) was the math coprocessor for the Intel 80386 series of microprocessors, and the first Intel coprocessor to implement the IEEE 754 standard in every detail. ... The Intel 80287 (287) was the math coprocessor for the Intel 80286 series of microprocessors. ... The Intel 80387 (387) was the math coprocessor for the Intel 80386 series of microprocessors. ...


Starting with the 80486, in x86 chips the floating point unit was integrated with the CPU, something true for almost all later x86-architecture processors. One notable exception is the 80486SX; it was also unusual in that no actual coprocessor was available -- the 80487 was a full CPU with an integrated FPU; when installed, the original 80486SX would be disabled. Intel i486 DX2- top view The Intel i486 (also called 486 or 80486) is a range of Intel CISC microprocessors which is part of the Intel x86 family of processors. ... The Intel i486 (also called 486 or 80486) is a range of 32-bit scalar Intel CISC microprocessors which is part of the Intel x86 family of processors. ... The Intel 80487, or 487 (i487), was the math coprocessor for the Intel 486SX chips. ...


In addition to the Intel x87 series, several other companies manufactured co-processors for the x86 series. These included Cyrix which marketed its FasMath series as higher performance but fully x87 compatible, and Weitek which offered a high-performance but not fully x87 compatible series of coprocessors. Cyrix corporate logo Cyrix was a CPU manufacturer that began in 1988 as a specialist supplier of high-performance math co-processors for 286 and 386 systems. ... Weitek Corporation was a former chip-design company that originally concentrated on floating point units for a number of commercial CPU designs. ...


In addition to the Intel architectures, FPUs as coprocessors were available for the Motorola 680x0 line. These FPUS, the 68881 and 68882, were common in 68020/68030-based workstations like the Sun 3 series. They were also commonly added to higher-end models of Apple Macintosh and Commodore Amiga series, but unlike IBM PC-compatible systems, sockets for adding the coprocessor were not as common in lower end systems. With the 68040, Motorola integrated the FPU and CPU, but like the x86 series, a lower cost 68LC040 without an integrated FPU was also available. Motorola (NYSE: MOT) is an American international communications company based in Schaumburg, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. ... The Motorola 680x0, 0x0, m68k, or 68k family of CISC microprocessor CPU chips were 32_bit from the start, and were the primary competition for the Intel x86 family of chips. ... The Motorola 68881 was a floating-point coprocessor chip that was utilized in some computer systems that used the 68020 or 68030 CPU. The addition of the 68881 chip added substantial cost to the computer, but added a floating point unit that could rapidly perform floating point math calculations. ... The Motorola 68881 was a floating-point coprocessor chip that was utilized in some computer systems that used the 68020 or 68030 CPU. The addition of the 68881 chip added substantial cost to the computer, but added a floating point unit that could rapidly perform floating point math calculations. ... The Motorola 68020 is a microprocessor from Motorola. ... Motorola 68030 Processor from a Macintosh IIsi The Motorola 68030 is a 32-bit microprocessor in Motorolas 68000 family. ... Sun SPARCstation 1+, 25mhz RISC processor from early 1990s A workstation, such as a Unix workstation, RISC workstation or engineering workstation, is a high-end technical computing desktop microcomputer designed primarily to be used by one person at a time, but can also be accessed remotely by other users when... Sun-3 was the name given to a series of UNIX computer workstations and servers produced by Sun Microsystems, launched in 1985. ... The first Macintosh computer, introduced in 1984, upgraded to a 512K Fat Mac. The Macintosh or Mac, is a line of personal computers designed, developed, manufactured, and marketed by Apple Computer. ... Amiga is the name of a range of home/personal computers using the Motorola 68000 processor family, whose development started in 1982. ... The Motorola 68040 is a microprocessor from Motorola. ... The 68LC040 is a low cost version of the Motorola 68040 microprocessor with no FPU. This makes it less expensive and draw less power. ...


See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Floating Point Unit - Wikipedia (165 words)
Typical operations are floating point arithmetic (such as addition and multiplication), but some systems may be capable of performing exponential or trigonometric calculations as well (such as square roots or cosines).
In some computer architectures, floating point operations are handled completely separate from integer operations, with dedicated floating point registers and independent clocking schemes.
Floating point addition and multiplication operations are typically pipelined, but more complicated operations, like division, may not be, and some systems may even have a dedicated floating point divider circuit.
Floating point unit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (693 words)
In the past, some systems have implemented floating point via a coprocessor rather as an integrated unit; in the microcomputer era, this was generally a single microchip, while in older systems it could be an entire circuit board or a cabinet.
In the 1980s, it was common in IBM PC/compatible microcomputers for the FPU to be entirely separate from the CPU, and typically sold as an optional add-on.
Starting with the 80486, in x86 chips the floating point unit was integrated with the CPU, something true for almost all later x86-architecture processors.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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