Differentiate between instruction pipeline and an arithmetic pipeline.

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Arithmetic Pipeline

Arithmetic pipelines are usually found in most of the computers. They are used for floating point operations, multiplication of fixed point numbers etc. For example: The input to the Floating Point Adder pipeline is:

X = A*2^a
Y = B*2^b

Here A and B are mantissas (significant digit of floating point numbers), while a and b are exponents.

The floating point addition and subtraction is done in 4 parts:

  1. Compare the exponents.
  2. Align the mantissas.
  3. Add or subtract mantissas
  4. Produce the result.

Registers are used for storing the intermediate results between the above operations.

Instruction Pipeline

In this a stream of instructions can be executed by overlapping fetchdecode and execute phases of an instruction cycle. This type of technique is used to increase the throughput of the computer system.

An instruction pipeline reads instruction from the memory while previous instructions are being executed in other segments of the pipeline. Thus we can execute multiple instructions simultaneously. The pipeline will be more efficient if the instruction cycle is divided into segments of equal duration.

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