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Yes. Rather than allocate a fixed amount of memory for each, this arrangement means each can grow into available memory. When the two meet, there is no memory left.


Often data consist of several contiguous bytes. Each computer manufacturer has its own idea of what to call groupings larger than a byte. The following is used for MIPS chips.

A block of contiguous memory is referred to by the address of its first byte (ie. the byte with the lowest address.) Most MIPS instructions involve a fixed number of bytes.

Often you need a number of bits other than one of the standard amounts. Use the next larger standard amount, and remember to be careful. Attempting to use the very minimum number of bits is more complicated than it is worth and is a rich source of errors in assembly language programming.

A register is a part of the processor that can hold a bit pattern. On the MIPS, a register holds 32 bits. There are many registers in the processor, but only some of them are visible in assembly language. The others are used by the processor in carrying out its operations.

The registers that are visible in assembly language are called general purpose registers and floating point registers. There are 32 general purpose registers. Each general purpose register holds a 32 bit pattern. In assembly language, these registers are named $0, $1, $2, ... , $31. There are 32 floating point registers. These are discussed in a later chapter.

One of the general purpose registers is hard-wired to always contain the value 0x00000000 (all zero bits).


Which register $0, $1, $2, ... , $31 do you suppose always contains all zero bits?