Reference Point for Code Size



  • 1. Being Driven Crazy
    Using Mosaic Forth: I want to input some numbers from a keypad, convert them to an ascii representation and then output them to an alpha-numeric display. OK, I know how to get the input from the keypad and then use a lookup table to change the xy coordinates to actual values that I can then change to a real number (push 1 three times and get 111 and not 3). So how do I convert that byte containing 111 to the ascii easily?
  • 2. OT. Just plain OT
    Bernd Paysan wrote: > Jean-Franis Michaud wrote: > >> On Jul 29, 11:48 am, XXXX@XXXXX.COM (Stephen Pelc) wrote: >>> Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men, for >>> the nastiest of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all. >>> (John Maynard Keynes) >>> >>> Stephen >> This sounds more like a definition of "Government" than that of >> "Capitalism". > > It seems to be common for all people who try to gain power, regardless of > what kind of power - if you believe that those nasty people will somehow > work for the benefit of us all, it's a quite extraordinary believe. It is a tenet of Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations" that individuals with perfect knowledge and freedom to make market decisions shape the economy so that it produces the best overall outcome for everybody.* Keynes turns up the contrast on that notion. Jerry __________________________________ * Sweat shops and other abuses not withstanding, some people still believe this wholeheartedly. -- Engineering is the art of making what you want from things you can get.
  • 3. Caltech Forth Manual
    Hi all. I'm looking for the mythical "Caltech Forth Manual". I found this title in lot of fig-forth related references, but i really dont know what it is. Thank you all for any kind of help!

Reference Point for Code Size

Postby rickman » Wed, 11 Mar 2009 17:38:15 GMT

I have coded the Sieve of Eratosthenes and counted 64 bytes of code.
I know this is not a all encompassing benchmark, but it is a data
point.  Does anyone have numbers I can compare to?  I am looking for
any machine, any tool.


Re: Reference Point for Code Size

Postby Helmar » Wed, 11 Mar 2009 22:29:46 GMT



57 characters + 1 return. I guess it's possible to make it shorter.


Re: Reference Point for Code Size

Postby rickman » Wed, 11 Mar 2009 22:52:42 GMT

Thanks for the reply... I think.  I wasn't talking about source code.
I was talking about executable.  If you are going to quote an
interpreted language, then you need to include the size of the
interpreter, no?

My goal is to compare the size of an executable written in the
assembly language of a MISC type CPU I am working on.  I'd like to get
an idea of the degree of code size optimization I've achieved.  Since
it is targeted to small FPGAs that was a main goal and I would like to
evaluate it.

Any other ideas on reasonable benchmark programs for embedded
processors?  I don't have application code yet, so I can't use that.


Re: Reference Point for Code Size

Postby Helmar » Wed, 11 Mar 2009 23:04:48 GMT

OK, I could see what could be done with a DOS .COM-file. I guess it
can be very small too.

Mhm. Good question. You do not include the size of the processors
microcode (if it has) or so. So probably the generated VM-code of an
interpreter could be the messure? I'm unsure, it's not always possible
to figure this out.

You want to use the sieve as benchmark or for comparing the size of
generated code? I guess it's suitable for both, but in case of a
benchmark it strongly depends what "shortcuts" you do while sieving.


Re: Reference Point for Code Size

Postby Helmar » Thu, 12 Mar 2009 00:42:49 GMT

OK, with DOS and Fasm, 77 Bytes including output routines and other

org 100h
  mov si,buf
  mov cx,1000
  xor ax,ax
  lea di,[si - 1]
  push di
  rep stosb
  mov bx,di
  pop di
  xor ax,ax
  push di
  dec ax
  jns .a
  sub di,si
  mov ax,di
  neg ax
  mov cx,1
  div word [base]
  push dx
  inc cx
  or ax,ax
  jnz .da
  push word -16
  pop dx
  add dl,"0"
  mov ah,2
  int 21h
  loop .db
  mov byte[si-1],1
  sub si,di
  cmp si,bx
  jna .b
  cmp si,bx
  jc sieve
  int 20h
base: dw 10
buf = $+1

I guess it can be made shorter.


Re: Reference Point for Code Size

Postby John Passaniti » Thu, 12 Mar 2009 01:27:48 GMT

Depends on what you're measuring.  In a recent project at work, we used 
Lua and we most certainly did count the cost of the interpreter and 
libraries (about 120k).  But that doesn't tell the whole story-- the 
application is composed of eleven concurrent Lua processes and in our 
case, interpreter and it's libraries are shared.  So if you look at it 
from a process level, you would count the interpreter and libraries 
eleven times.  But if you looked at it from system level, there is only 
one copy of the interpreter and libraries.

This doesn't make sense to me.  I can see starting from some point, 
refining your instruction set, and then comparing that.  But how can you 
meaningfully compare assembly language size without putting some 
parameters on this?  For starters, what is the native machine word size? 
  Do you have hardware multiply and divide?  What kind of address space 
do you have in mind?

I'm not sure the base premise here is valid, and I can't see how one can 
measure "reasonable."  Give me more details about your processor and 
instruction set and I'm sure I can design benchmarks that can make your 
design look good or bad.

Further, it seems to me that if you're targeting a FPGA, then what is 
likely going to matter more than artificial benchmarks is the ability to 
be flexible with the design.  That is, your processor is parameterizable 
and that you have in mind an extension architecture.

At work, we're currently on a project that uses a MicroBlaze soft 
processor.  When we started, we simply instantiated a fairly simple 
processor.  As we started to dive into our application code, we found 
that we could benefit from a FPU-- so we added it.  Now, we're finding 
that the software routines to do bitblt and compositing with an alpha 
channel are kinda slow.  So we're dropping in some support for that.

In other words, having a soft processor that we can extend means that we 
can bend the processor to the needs of the application.  It's not a 
panacea, but it certainly does change the design process in a way that 
we find rather mirrors Forth's interactive nature.  In Forth, you can 
build up the language to support the needs of your application, tuning 
it as needed.  With soft processors on FPGAs, we can (effectively) do 
the same thing at the hardware level.

If anything, that's where I think the e{*filter*}ment is going in the future 
in embedded systems: being able to instantiate customized hardware.  I 
have no idea what your design goals are with your processor, but it's 
something to consider.

Re: Reference Point for Code Size

Postby John Passaniti » Thu, 12 Mar 2009 01:41:10 GMT

There are always clever hacks one can do.  I remember last year, someone 
in comp.lang.forth used some number theory to optimize a sieve in a 
non-obvious way.  That was more for speed than size, but I'm sure 
someone with too much free time on their hands could have some insight 
that reduces size even more.

But, I don't think that's useful in this case.  Since his goal is to in 
some sense benchmark a processor's instruction set, I would think the 
goal would be not to come up with the smallest or most clever 
implementation, but to fix on a particular algorithm and implement that 
specific algorithm in the same exact way and then compare the size of 
the code generated.

Re: Reference Point for Code Size

Postby Helmar » Thu, 12 Mar 2009 02:20:02 GMT

There are no questions more hurting than questions that are not
answered. He wants the shortest thing to compare. This is interesting

If I remember right and assign this to the right topic, it was not
that "non-obvious" as you might think.

That size reduction games have some real good reasons. You learn the
specific assembly language very well for the first of all.

He did not give an implementation. So I first even was thinking he
talks about source code too. Well.
Btw. I've found 4 more bytes to remove in the DOS-implementation of
the sieve. It's good to fill the brain to do such things, when other
things (unwanted most probably) try to become {*filter*} for your
thinking. I currently wait for something, so I do something to spend
my time. I personally think it takes longer time to figure out why
something in a small program is like it is, than to invent it ;) So
for me it's fun always.


Re: Reference Point for Code Size

Postby John Passaniti » Thu, 12 Mar 2009 03:37:33 GMT

In what sense?  As an intellectual exercise, sure.  But I thought the 
point here was that he wanted to have some kind of meaningful comparison 
of instruction set sizes, not comparing the cleverness of programmers.

Perhaps.  I forget that everyone here is a genius.

Sure, but how does it help compare the size of instruction sets which 
again was what I thought started this thread?

Re: Reference Point for Code Size

Postby Elizabeth D Rather » Thu, 12 Mar 2009 06:12:26 GMT

It's fair to count whatever runtime support is required.  But for 
embedded Forths, it's common to keep the compiler/interpreter etc. in a 
host, and have a minimal run-time requirement in the target.  SwiftX 
targets typically have about 6K of support code, but even that is a 
"representative set of capabilities" and can be pruned if space is an issue.

My embedded systems programming course has a standard course problem 
involving the coding of traffic lights for a particular intersection.  I 
give a prize for the smallest compiled target that runs correctly 
including all support code, and a separate prize for the most readable 
source. They are never the same, because the extreme measures that 
students go through to get the size prize adversely impact readibility; 
the takeaway lesson is that you have tradeoffs, and need to make choices.

Anyway, typical winning sizes are about 800 bytes on a 16-bit target, 
and about 1100 on a 32-bit target, for the total executable package 
(including stripped kernels).

What instruction set are you compiling to?  The one in your target? 
Measurements on existing CPUs are unlikely to be relevant.

You're unlikely to learn much from the Sieve, because it's pretty 
unrepresentative of embedded-type applications.

Suggestion:  Get evaluation versions of cross-compilers from FORTH, Inc. 
and MPE.  They probably come with example applications (I know SwiftX 
does).  Look at those on an architecture as close as possible to the 
architecture you have in mind.  Do dumps and SEEs and look at the code 


Elizabeth D. Rather   (US & Canada)   800-55-FORTH
FORTH Inc.                         +1 310.999.6784
5959 West Century Blvd. Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90045

"Forth-based products and Services for real-time
applications since 1973."

Re: Reference Point for Code Size

Postby g.bergstrom » Thu, 12 Mar 2009 11:08:19 GMT

46 instructions, 134 bytes on an MSP430.
No startup code, just the (almost) original Sieve.


Re: Reference Point for Code Size

Postby rickman » Thu, 12 Mar 2009 13:19:19 GMT

Thanks for the reply.  This is the sort of thing I was looking for.
No startup or printout code, just the raw code to do the computation
which is how this CPU will be used.  The algorithm I used was the one
from J. Gilbreath, Byte Magazine, 9/81.  This algorithm assumes the
multiples of two do not need to be searched.  Was your code in forth,
C or other?  Is this the algorithm you used or did it search the
entire field?

Here is the code I manually converted to pseudo Forth assembly
language for my machine.  My code calls FILL, but otherwise is just
machine code.  I guess I should count the bytes for FILL.  I think
that is less than 10 bytes of code.


: DO-PRIME ( -- n )
   0 SIZE 0 DO
      I FLAGS + C@ IF
         I 2* 3 + DUP I +  BEGIN
            DUP SIZE < WHILE
               DUP FLAGS + 0 SWAP C! OVER +
         REPEAT  2DROP  1+

: $SIEVE$ ( -- )
   BEGIN [$  DO-PRIME  SIZE $] UNTIL ." Eratosthenes sieve "
   .  ." Primes" ;

Re: Reference Point for Code Size

Postby rickman » Thu, 12 Mar 2009 13:41:46 GMT

Yes, I guess that is true.  Even though I designed my instruction set,
there are still things I learn by writing code.  I will also say that
the instruction set is not fixed.  I am trying to figure out the best
balance between speed, code size and implementation size in the FPGA.
Initially I picked an instruction set and optimized things like the
coding for the machine code to minimize the decode.  But I see now I
need to do more benchmarking before I should start optimizing the
machine code and the HDL.

Just now I posted the code in Forth above.  I just figured everyone
would have this code since it seems to be the "classic" example to use
in a sieve benchmark in Forth.

I also enjoy this.  I don't yet have a real application for this CPU,
but I may need to convert an HDL design to use a CPU in order to save
gates.  Most of the logic is very slow with stages running at 8 kHz, 1
kHz and 100 Hz.  I can do it all in software with hardware interfaces
to the outside.  But the 8 kHz stage might be done in hardware still
so that it can be speeded up to 80+ kHz for a similar application with
a higher data rate.

Re: Reference Point for Code Size

Postby rickman » Thu, 12 Mar 2009 14:22:24 GMT

n Mar 10, 12:27 pm, John Passaniti < XXXX@XXXXX.COM > wrote:

I'm not sure I understand. Why do I care about the word size? My
machine is currently 16 bits... actually 18 bits to take advantage of
the true size of block rams in FPGAs. There is no direct support for
divide, but one of the things I am considering is how or whether to
include support for multiply. At this point I am trading off the cost
of a hardware multiply (around 300 LUTs) vs the time required to
program a bit serial multiply (a lot less now that I have researched
the multiply function significantly) vs the cost in instruction space,
execution time and hardware of adding multiply support. I've got an
ADDMULT instruction that costs very little in hardware, but reduces
the number of instructions to calculate one bit of the multiplier from
seven to five. The total for a signed multiply is then about 110
clock cycles. It could be faster, but it would require new data

Reasonable means not stuff that requires an OS or is so large that it
won't fit in the 6 kB of code space available in the FPGA. The
processor is 16 bits with two stacks (similar to B. Paysan's CPU,
IIRC) and the instruction set is designed to efficiently implement
Forth. We'll see how that one measures up.

I'm not looking for "designed" benchmarks. I would like to see code
that uses the CPU in ways it is likely to be used in the application
which is not yet designed. Yeah, that's pretty vague. So in summary,
I'm looking for anything that seems realistic and is small enough to
hand code.

No, I don't have a need for an "extensible" instruction set. I want
to come up with one that is a good compromise of the various
parameters and then leave it alone. I also want to end up with a tool
for programming it in Forth.

That sounds great, but the uBlaze is already far too large for my
app. The "extentions" I might add will be done externally to the CPU
as hardware blocks, not as instructions.

I just want something I can code with an emphasis on keeping the code
size small since that is the main limitation in many of the parts I


Re: Reference Point for Code Size

Postby Albert van der Horst » Thu, 12 Mar 2009 19:06:51 GMT

In article < XXXX@XXXXX.COM >,

There was an example on the VAX. You read it, and then suddenly
the code was over, leaving you wondering "where did it happen?".
It was extremely short. It had something to do with a single
instruction for flipping a bit in an array.

Now this latter could have something todo with a decision to
put an instruction in microcode, that would help to do precisely
this kind of benchmarks. So no, I don't think you can draw much
conclusions from this.

If you choose one benchmark, then you must choose very carefully.
Elizabeth Rathers' one, traffic lights, seem vastly superior.
Better still are the language shoot-outs, with an array of
Remarkable about  these shout-out's is that most of the time,
some benchmarks are not implemented for a particular language
because it is too much trouble. This, if anything, shows
that no language is good for everything.

Groetjes Albert.

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