Kopec Explains Software
Computing Concepts Simplified
1 year ago

#114 What is an Instruction Set Architecture?

Why does ARM versus X86 matter?

An instruction set architecture (ISA) is a specification of the instructions that a microprocessor understands as well as the infrastructure necessary to support those instructions including registers and a way to communicate with memory. Each microprocessor that implements an ISA may differ in the specifics of its circuitry. But all of the microprocessors that support the same ISA can execute the same machine code. Therefore machine code is specific to a single ISA and two microprocessors that implement different ISAs are incompatible with one another. Today, the two most common ISA families are X86 and ARM. In this episode we discuss what an ISA is, how they come into play for users and programmers, and the current ISA landscape.

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