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Floating Point Coprocessors The designer of any microprocessor would like to extend its instruction set almost infinitely but is limited by the quantity of silicon available not to mention the problems of testability and complexity Consequently a real microprocessor represents a compromise between what is desirable and what is acceptable to the majority of the chips users For example the 68020 microprocessor is not optimized for calculations that require a large volume of scientific ie floating point calculations One method to significantly enhance the performance of such a microprocessor is to add a coprocessor To increase the power of a microprocessor it does not suffice to add a few more instructions to the instruction set but it involves adding an auxiliary processor that works in parallel to the MPU Micro Processing Unit A system involving concurrently operating processors can be very complex since there need to be dedicated communication paths between the processors as well as software to divide the tasks among them A practical multiprocessing system should be as simple as possible and require a minimum overhead in terms of both hardware and software There are various techniques of arranging a coprocessor alongside a microprocessor One technique is to provide the coprocessor with an instruction interpreter and program counter Each instruction fetched from memory is examined by both the MPU and the coprocessor If it is a MPU instruction the MPU executes it otherwise the coprocessor executes it It can be seen that this solution is feasible but by no means simple as it would be difficult to keep the MPU and coprocessor in step Another technique is to equip the microprocessor with a special bus to communicate with the external coprocessor Whenever the microprocessor encounters an operation that requires the intervention of the coprocessor the special bus provides a dedicated high-speed communication between the MPU and the coprocessor Once again this solution is not simple There are more methods of connecting two or
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