risc386: Reduced instruction set i386 simulator

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risc386 is a symbolic Intel(R) 386 assembler interpreter which allows infinitely many registers (temporaries). Its purpose is to debug the output of a MiniJava compiler (from Andrew Appel's book, Modern Compiler Implementation in JAVA) before register allocation has been performed.

risc386 supports only a small fragment of i386 instructions. It expects its input to be a list of procedures in .intel_syntax each of which is started by a label and terminated by a return statement.

Control flow is restricted, so, only jumps to procedure-local labels are allowed. Reading from an uninitialized memory location will lead to an exception.

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Versions [RSS] 0.0.20130624, 0.0.20130701, 0.0.20130718, 0.0.20130719, 0.0.20210125, 0.0.20210812, 0.0.20220128, 0.0.20230928
Change log CHANGELOG.md
Dependencies array (>=0.3 && <0.6), base (>=4.6 && <5), containers (>=0.3 && <1), mtl (>=2.2 && <2.4), pretty (>=1.0 && <1.2) [details]
License BSD-3-Clause
Author Andreas Abel with contributions by Robert Grabowski and Ulrich Schoepp
Maintainer Andreas Abel <andreas.abel@ifi.lmu.de>
Category Compilers/Interpreters, Education
Home page https://github.com/andreasabel/risc386
Source repo head: git clone https://github.com/andreasabel/risc386.git
Uploaded by AndreasAbel at 2023-09-28T19:25:16Z
Distributions NixOS:0.0.20230928
Reverse Dependencies 1 direct, 0 indirect [details]
Executables risc386
Downloads 3410 total (23 in the last 30 days)
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Status Docs not available [build log]
Last success reported on 2023-09-28 [all 1 reports]

Readme for risc386-0.0.20230928

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risc386 -- Restricted Instruction Set i386 simulator

(C) 2013, Andreas Abel, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich

The main purpose of this simulator is to test i386 code generated by a compiler before register allocation. Therefore, it supports temporaries, an potentially infinite amount of extra registers t<number>. (Of course, it can also be used to execute symbolic assembler after register allocation.)

The supported instruction set is very restricted but sufficient to write a compiler for MiniJava [Andrew Appel, Modern Compiler Implementation in Java].

I. System requirements:

You need a recent version of GHC and Cabal (e.g. via the Haskell Platform).

II. Installation:

The executable risc386 can be installed with cabal install risc386. Here are more manual instructions starting from the tarball:

  1. Change to a temporary directory.

  2. Unpack the tar ball

    tar xzf risc386-x.y.z.tar.gz
  3. Change to the unpacked directory

    cd risc386-x.y.z
  4. Install using Haskell's packet manager cabal

    cabal install

III. Running the simulator:

risc386 input-file.s

IV. Format of the input file:

The input file must be symbolic assembler in Intel format.

Here is a small example:

            .global Lmain
            .type Lmain, @function
            enter   0, 0
    L0:     push    8
            call    L_halloc
            add     %esp, 4
            mov     t1001, %eax
            push    t1001
            call    LC$value
            add     %esp, 4
            mov     t1002, %eax
            push    t1002
            call    L_println_int
            add     %esp, 4
    L1:     leave

            .global LC$value
            .type LC$value, @function
            #args LOC 0
            enter   0, 0
    L2:     mov     t1004, DWORD PTR [%ebp+8]
            mov     DWORD PTR [t1004+4], 555
            mov     t1003, DWORD PTR [%ebp+8]
            mov     %eax, DWORD PTR [t1003+4]
    L3:     leave

Lexing rules: (If you want to be sure, read the .x file, the lexer specification.)

  • White space is ignored (except as separator for alphanumeric tokens).

  • Lines beginning with a dot . are skipped. These lines are pragmas for the symbolic assembler, which risc386 ignores.

  • Lines beginning with a hash-symbol followed by a space # are comments, which are ignored as well.

  • Lines beginning with a hash followed by a non-space character are risc386 pragmas and not ignored.

    Currently, risc386 only recognizes the pragma #args.

  • Valid tokens are:

    #args LOC REG
    [ ] : , . + - *
    dword ptr                    DWORD PTR
    mov lea                      MOV LEA
    add sub imul                 ADD SUB IMUL
    idiv inc dec neg             IDIV INC DEC NEG
    shl shr sal sar              SHL SHR SAL SAR
    and or xor                   AND OR XOR
    not                          NOT
    cmp                          CMP
    je jne jl jle jge            JE JNE JL JLE JGE
    jmp call ret                 JMP CALL RET
    push pop enter leave         PUSH POP ENTER LEAVE
    nop                          NOP
    eax ebx ecx edx esi edi ebp esp
    %eax %ebx %ecx %edx %esi %edi %ebp %esp
    <number>    (given by reg.ex [0-9]+)
    t<number>   (denoting a temporary register)
    <ident>     (given by reg.ex. [a-zA-Z][a-zA-Z0-9_'$]*)

    Identifiers are used for labels.

Parsing rules: (If you want to know all of them, read the .y file)

  1. The input file must be a sequence of procedures.

    There must be one procedure whose name ends in main. This one is taken as the entry point.

  2. Each procedure starts with a label and ends with a return instruction. Optionally, it can be preceded by a declaration of its arguments

             #args REG %eax, LOC 0, LOC 4

    Lmyproc expects its first argument in register %eax, its second at [%esp+0] and its third at [%esp+4]. The stack addresses are to be taken before the CALL is executed (which will put the return address on the stack and shift the relative location of the arguments by +4).

  3. The body of each procedure is a list of i386 assembler instructions in Intel syntax. The supported instructions are listed above.

    Each instruction my be preceded by a label.

    Conditional and unconditional jumps are only allowed to a label, and only to one defined in the same procedure. Cross-procedure jumps or jumps to a calculated address are not supported.

    CALLs are only defined to a procedure label. risc386 assumes the cdecl calling convention.

  4. Restrictions for individual instructions:

    RET does accept arguments ENTER is only supported in the form ENTER <number>, 0


  • risc386 knows a number of predefined procedures. They expect their arguments on the stack (cdecl calling convention) and return the result in %eax.


    • 1 Argument: number of bytes to allocate on the heap
    • Result : pointer to first allocated byte.


    • 1 Argument: signed 32bit integer value to print
    • Result : nothing


    • 1 Argument: unicode char (32bit) to print
    • Result : nothing


    • 1 Argument: error code
    • Result : nothing, does not return, stops execution

Execution specialties:

  • risc386 supports 4 different types, all of size 32 bits:

    1. Signed integers.

    2. Heap addresses.

      Heap addresses consist of a base address which was obtained by L_halloc plus an offset. The offset must be a multiple of 4.

    3. Stack addresses.

      %esp and %ebp may only be loaded with stack addresses.

    4. Return addresses.

      Get pushed onto the stack by a CALL.

      RET checks that a return address lies on top of the stack before returning. The content of the return address is ignored, RET jumps back to the procedure where the matching CALL was issued.

  • CMP is the only command that sets flags.

  • CALL saves all temporary registers, RET restores them.