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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Assembling code for machines with span-dependent instructions

Many modern computers contain instructions whose lengths depend on the distance from a given instance of such an instruction to the operand of that instruction. This paper considers the problem of minimizing the lengths of programs for such machines. An efficient solution is presented for the case in which the operand of every such “span-dependent” instruction is either a label or an assembly-time expression of a certain restricted form. If this restriction is relaxed by allowing these operands to be more general assembly-time expressions, then the problem is shown to be NP-complete.

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