Built-In Arithmetic Functions - Tutorial - Programming the 65816 Including the 6502, 65C02, and 65802 (1986)

Programming the 65816 Including the 6502, 65C02, and 65802 (1986)

Part III. Tutorial

9. Built-In Arithmetic Functions

With this chapter you make your first approach to the heart of the beast: the computer as automated calculator. Although their applications cover a broad range of functions, computers are generally associated first and foremost with their prodigious calculating abilities. Not without reason, for even in character-oriented applications such as word processing, the computer is constantly calculating. At the level of the processor itself, everything from instruction decoding to effective address generation is permeated by arithmetic or arithmetic-like operations. At the software implementation level, the program is constantly calculating horizontal and vertical cursor location, buffer pointer locations, indents, page numbers, and more.

But unlike dedicated machines, such as desk-top or pocket calculators, which are merely calculators, a computer is a flexible and generalized system which can be programmed and reprogrammed to perform an unlimited variety of functions. One of the keys to this ability lies in the computer's ability to implement control structures, such as loops, and to perform comparisons and select an action based on the result. Because this chapter introduces comparison, the elements necessary to demonstrate these features are complete. The other key element, the ability to branch on condition, was presented in the previous chapter. This chapter therefore contains the first examples of these control structures, as they are implemented on the 65x processors.

Armed with the material presented in Chapter 1 about positional notation as it applies to the binary and hexadecimal number systems, as well as the facts concerning two's-complement binary numbers and binary arithmetic, you should possess the background required to study the arithmetic instructions available on the 65x series of processors.

Consistent with the simple design approach of the 65x family, only elementary arithmetic functions are provided, as listed in Table 9.1, leaving the rest to be synthesized in software. There are, for example, no built-in integer multiply or divide. More advanced examples presented in later chapters will show how to synthesize these more complex operations.

Table 9.1. Arithmetic Instructions.

Increment and Decrement

The simplest of the 65x arithmetic instructions are increment and decrement. In the case of the 65x processors, all of the increment and decrement operations add or subtract one to a number. (Some other processors allow you to increment or decrement by one, two, or more.)

There are several reasons for having special instructions to add or subtract one to a number, but the most general explanation says it all: the number one tends to be, by far, the most frequently added number in virtually any computer application. One reason for this is thatindexing is used so frequently to access multi-byte data structures, such as address tables, character strings, multiple-precision numbers, and most forms of record structures. Since the items in a great percentage of such data structures are byte or double-byte wide, the index counter step value (the number of bytes from one array item to the next) is usually one or two. The 65x processors, in particular, have many addressing modes that feature indexing; that is, they use a value in one of the index registers as part of the effective address.

All 65x processors have four instructions to increment and decrement the index registers: INX, INY, DEX, and DEY. They are single-byte implied operand instructions and either add one to, or subtract one from, the X or Y register. They execute quite quickly—in two cycles—because they access no memory and affect only a single register.

All 65x processors also have a set of instructions for incrementing and decrementing memory, the INC and DEC instructions, which operate similarly. They too are unary operations, the operand being the data stored at the effective address specified in the operand field of the instruction. There are several addressing modes available to these two instructions. Note that, unlike the register increment and decrement instructions, the INC and DEC instructions are among the slowest-executing 65x instructions. That is because they are Read-Modify-Write operations: the number to be incremented or decremented must first be fetched from memory; then it is operated upon within the processor; and, finally, the modified value is written back to memory. Compare this with some of the more typical operations, where the result is left in the accumulator. Although read-modify-write instructions require many cycles to execute, each is much more efficient, both byte- and cycle-wise, than the three instructions it replaces—load, modify, and store.

In Chapter 6, you saw how the load operations affected the n and z flags depending on whether the loaded number was negative (that is, had its high bit set), or was zero. The 65x arithmetic functions, including the increment and decrement operations, also set the n and z status flags to reflect the result of the operation.

In Fragment 9.1, one is added to the value in the Y register, $7FFF. The result is $8000, which, since the high-order bit is turned on, may be interpreted as a negative two's-complement number. Therefore the n flag is set.

Fragment 9.1.

In a similar example, Fragment 9.2, the Y register is loaded with the highest possible value which can be represented in sixteen bits (all bits turned on).

Fragment 9.2.

If one is added to the unsigned value $FFFF, the result is $10000:

Since there are no longer any extra bits available in the sixteen-bit register, however, the low-order sixteen bits of the number in Y (that is, zero) does not represent the actual result. As you will see later, addition and subtraction instructions use the carry flag to reflect a carry out of the register, indicating that a number larger than can be represented using the current word size (sixteen bits in the above example) has been generated. While increment and decrement instructions do not affect the carry, a zero result in the Y register after an increment (indicated by thez status flag being set) shows that a carry has been generated, even though the carry flag itself does not indicate this.

A classic example of this usage is found in Fragment 9.3, which shows the technique commonly used on the eight-bit 6502 and 65C02 to increment a sixteen-bit value in memory. Note the branch-on-condition instruction, BNE, which was introduced in the previous chapter, is being used to indicate if any overflow from the low byte requires the high byte to be incremented, too. As long as the value stored at the direct page location ABC is non-zero following the increment operation, processing continues at the location SKIP. If ABC is zero as a result of the increment operation, a page boundary has been crossed, and the high order byte of the value must be incremented as well. If the high-order byte were not incremented, the sixteen-bit value would “wrap around" within the low byte.

Fragment 9.3.

Such use of the z flag to detect carry (or borrow) is peculiar to the increment and decrement operations: if you could increment or decrement by values other than one, this technique would not work consistently, since it would be possible to cross the "threshold” (zero) without actually "landing" on it (you might, for example, go from $FFFF to $0001 if the step value was 2).

A zero result following a decrement operation, on the other hand, indicates that the next decrement operation will cause a borrow to be generated. In Fragment 9.4, the Y register is loaded with one, and then one is subtracted from it by the DEY instruction. The result is clearly zero; however, if Y is decremented again, $FFFF will result. If you are treating the number as a signed, two's-complement number, this is just fine, as $FFFF is equivalent to a sixteen-bit, negative one. But if it is an unsigned number, a borrow exists.

Fragment 9.4.

Together with the branch-on-condition instructions introduced in the previous chapter, you can now efficiently implement one of the most commonly used control structures in computer programming, the' program loop.

A rudimentary loop would be a zero-fill loop; that is, a piece of code to fill a range of memory with zeroes. Suppose, as in Listing 9.1, the memory area from $4000 to $5FFF was to be zeroed (for example, to clear hi-res page two graphics memory in the Apple //). By loading an index register with the size of the area to be cleared, the memory can be easily accessed by indexing from an absolute base of $4000.

The two lines at BASE and COUNT assign symbolic names to the starting address and length of the fill area. The REP instruction puts the processor into the long index/long accumulator mode. The long index allows the range of memory being zeroed to be greater than 256 bytes; the long accumulator provides for faster zeroing of memory, by clearing two bytes with a single instruction.

The loop is initialized by loading the X register with the value COUNT, which is the number of bytes to be zeroed. The assembler is instructed to subtract two from the total to allow for the fact that the array starts at zero, rather than one, and for the fact that two bytes are cleared at a time.

Listing 9.1.

The loop itself is then entered for the first time, and the STZ instruction is used to clear the memory location formed by adding the index register to the constant BASE. Next come two decrement instructions; two are needed because the STZ instruction stored a double-byte zero. By starting at the end of the memory range and indexing down, it is possible to use a single register for both address generation and loop control. A simple comparison, checking to see that the index register is still positive, is all that is needed to control the loop.

Another concrete example of a program loop is provided in Listing 9.2, which toggles the built-in speaker in an Apple / / computer with increasing frequency, resulting in a tone of increasing pitch. It features an outer driving loop (TOP), an inner loop that produces a tone of agiven pitch, and an inner-most delay loop. The pitch of the tone can be varied by using different initial values for the loop indices.

Listing 9.2.

Addition and Subtraction: Unsigned Arithmetic

The 65x processors have only two dedicated general purpose arithmetic instructions: add with carry, ADC, and subtract with carry, SBC. Aswill be seen later, it is possible to synthesize all other arithmetic functions using these and other 65x instructions.

As the names of these instructions indicate, the carry flag from the status register is involved with the two operations. The role of the carry flag is to "link” the individual additions and subtractions that make up multiple-precision arithmetic operations. The earlier example of the 6502 sixteen-bit increment was a special case of the multiple-precision arithmetic technique used on the 65x processors, the link provided in that case by the BNE instruction.

Consider the addition of two decimal numbers, 56 and 72. You begin your calculation by adding six to two. If you are working the calculation out on paper, you place the result, eight, in the right-most column, the one's place:

Next you add the ten's column; 5 plus 7 equals 12. The two is placed in the tens place of the sum, and the one is a carry into the 100's place. Normally, since you have plenty of room on your worksheet, you simply pencil in the one to the left of the two, and you have the answer.

The situation within the processor when it adds two numbers is basically similar, but with a few differences. First, the numbers added and subtracted in a 65x processor are normally binary numbers (although there is also a special on-the-fly decimal adjust mode for adding and subtracting numbers in binary-coded decimal format). Just as you began adding, the processor starts in the right-most column, or one's place, and continues adding columns to the left. The augend (the number added to) is always in the accumulator; the location of the addend is specified in the operand field of the instruction. Since a binary digit can only be a zero or a one, the addition of 2 ones results in a zero in the current column and a carry into the next column. This process of addition continues until the highest bit of the accumulator has been added (the highest bit being either bit seven or, alternatively on the 65802/65816, bit fifteen, if the m flag is cleared). But suppose that $82 is added to $AB in the eight-bit accumulator:

If you begin by adding the binary digits from the right and marking the sum in the proper column, and then placing any carry that results at the top of the next column to the left, you will find that a carry results when the ones in column seven are added together. However, since the accumulator is only eight bits wide, there is no place to store this value; the result has “overflowed" the space allocated to it. In this case, the final carry is stored in the carry flag after the operation. If there had been no carry, the carry flag would be reset to zero.

The automatic generation of a carry flag at the end of an addition is complemented by a second feature of this instruction that is executed at the beginning of the instruction: the ADC instruction itself always adds the previously generated one-bit carry flag value with the right-most column of binary digits. Therefore, it is always necessary to explicitly clear the carry flag before adding two numbers together, unless the numbers being added are succeeding words of a multi-word arithmetic operation. By adding in a previous value held in the carry flag, and storing a resulting carry there, it is possible to chain together several limited-precision (each only eight or sixteen bits) arithmetic operations.

First, consider how you would represent an unsigned binary number greater than $FFFF (decimal 65,536)—that is, one that cannot be stored in a single double-byte cell. Suppose the number is $023A8EFl. This would simply be stored in memory in four successive bytes, from low to high order, as follows, beginning at $1000:


- F1


- 8E


- 3A


- 02

Since the number is greater than the largest available word size of the processor (double byte), any arithmetic operations performed on this number will have to be treated as multiple-precision operations, where only one part of a number is added to the corresponding part of another number at a time. As each part is added, the intermediate result is stored; and then the next part is added, and so on, until all of the parts of the number have been added.

Multiple-precision operations always proceed from low-order part to high-order part because the carry is generated from low to high, as seen in our original addition of decimal 56 to 72.

Listing 9.3 is an assembly language example of the addition of multiple-precision numbers $023A8EFl to $0000A2C1. This example begins by setting the accumulator word size to sixteen bits, which lets you process half of the four-byte addition in a single operation. The carry flag is then cleared because there must be no initial carry when an add operation begins. The two bytes stored at BIGNUM and BIGNUM + 1 are loaded into the double-byte accumulator. Note that the DC 14 assembler directive automatically stores the four-byte integer constant value in memory in low-to-high order. The ADC instruction is then executed, adding $8EFl to $A2Cl.

Listing 9.3.

Examine the equivalent binary addition:

The sixteen-bit result found in the accumulator after the ADC is executed is $31B2; however, this is clearly incorrect. The correct answer, $131B2, requires seventeen bits to represent it, so an additional result of the ADC operation in this case is that the carry flag in the status register is set. Meanwhile, since the value in the accumulator consists of the correct low-order sixteen bits, the accumulator is stored at RESULT and RESULT + 1.

With the partial sum of the last operation saved, the high-order sixteen bits of BIGNUM are loaded (from BIGNUM + 2) into the accumulator, followed immediately by the ADC NEXTNUM + 2 instruction, which is not preceded by CLC this time. For all but the first addition of a multiple-precision operation, the carry flag is not cleared; rather, the setting of the carry flag from the previous addition is allowed to be automatically added into the next addition. You will note in the present example that the high-order sixteen bits of NEXTNUM are zero; it almost seems unnecessary to add them. At the same time, remember that there was a carry left over from the first addition; when the ADC NEXTNUM + 2 instruction is executed, this carry is automatically added in; that is, the resulting value in the accumulator is equal to the carry flag (1) plus the original value in the accumulator ($023A) plus the value at the address NEXTNUM + 2 ($0000), or $023B. This is then stored in the high-order bytes of RESULT, which leaves the complete, correct value stored in locations RESULT through RESULT + 3 in low-high order:













Reading from high to low, the sum is $023B31B2.

This type of multiple precision addition is required constantly on the eight-bit 6502 and 65C02 processors in order to manipulate addresses, which are sixteen-bit quantities. Since the 65816 and 65802 provide sixteen-bit arithmetic operations when the m flag is cleared, this burden is greatly reduced. If you wish, however, to manipulate long addresses on the 65816, that is, 24-bit addresses, you will similarly have to resort to multiple precision. Otherwise, it is likely that multiple-precision arithmetic generally will only be required on the 65802 or 65816 in math routines to perform number-crunching on user data, rather than for internal address manipulation.

An interesting footnote to the multiple-precision arithmetic comparison between the 6502 and the 65816 is to observe that since the 6502 only has an eight-bit adder, even those instructions that automatically perform sixteen-bit arithmetic (such as branch calculation and effective address generation) require an additional cycle to perform the addition of the high-order byte of the address. The presence of a sixteen-bit adder within the 65802 and 65816 explains how it is able to shave cycles off certain operations while in native mode, such as branching across page boundaries, where an eight-bit quantity is added to a sixteen-bit value. On the 6502, if a page boundary isn't crossed, the high byte of the sixteen-bit operand is used as-is; if a carry is generated by adding the two low bytes, a second eight-bit add must be performed, requiring an additional machine cycle. On the 65816, the addition is treated as a single operation.

Subtraction on the 65x processors is analogous to addition, with the borrow serving a similar role in handling multiple-precision subtractions. On the 65x processors, the carry flag is also used to store a subtraction's borrow. In the case of the addition operation, a one stored in the carry flag indicates that a carry exists, and the value in the carry flag will be added into the next add operation. The borrow stored in the carry flag is actually an inverted borrow: that is, the carry flag cleared to zero means that there is a borrow, while carry set means that there is none. Thus prior to beginning a subtraction, the carry flag should be set so that no borrow is subtracted by the SBC instruction.

Although you can simply accept this rule at face value, the explanation is interesting. The simplest way to understand the inverted borrow of the 65x series is to realize that, like most computers, a 65x processor has no separate subtraction circuits as such; all it has is an adder, which serves for both addition and subtraction. Obviously, addition of a negative number is the same as subtraction of a positive. To subtract a number, then, the value which is being subtracted is inverted, yielding a one's-complement negative number. This is then added to the other value and, as is usual with addition on the 65x machines, the carry is added in as well.

Since the add operation automatically adds in the carry, if the carry is set prior to subtraction, this simply converts the inverted value to two's complement form. (Remember, two's complement is formed by inverting a number and adding one; in this case the added one is the carry flag.) If, on the other hand, the carry was clear, this has the effect of subtracting one by creating a two's-complement number which is one greater than if the carry had been present. (Assuming a negative number is being formed, remember that the more negative a number is, the greater its value as an unsigned number, for example, $FFFF = -1, $8000 = -32767.) Thus, if a borrow exists, a value which is more negative by one is created, which is added to the other operand, effectively subtracting a carry.


The comparison operation—is VALUE1 equal to VALUE2, for example—is implemented on the 65x, as on most processors, as an implied subtraction. In order to compare VALUE1 to VALUE2, one of the values is subtracted from the other. Clearly, if the result is zero, then the numbers are equal.

This kind of comparison can be made using the instructions you already know, as Fragment 9.5 illustrates. In this fragment, you can see that the branch to TRUE will be taken, and the INC VAL instruction never executed, because $1234 minus $1234 equals zero. Since the results of subtractions condition the z flag, the BEQ instruction (which literally means "branch if result equal to zero"), in this case, means "branch if the compared values are equal."

Fragment 9.5.

There are two undesirable aspects of this technique, however, if comparison is all that is desired rather than actual subtraction. First, because the 65x subtraction instruction expects the carry flag to be set for single precision subtractions, the SEC instruction must be executed before each comparison using SBC. Second, it is not always desirable to have the original value in the accumulator lost when the result of the subtraction is stored there.

Because comparison is such a common programming operation, there is a separate compare instruction, CMP. Compare subtracts the value specified in the operand field of the instruction from the value in the accumulator without storing the result; the original accumulator value remains intact. Status flags normally affected by a subtraction—z, n, and c—are set to reflect the result of the subtraction just performed. Additionally, the carry flag is automatically set before the instruction is executed, as it should be for a single-precision subtraction. (Unlike the ADCand SBC instructions, CMP does not set the overflow flag, complicating signed comparisons somewhat, a problem which will be covered later in this chapter.)

Given the flags that are set by the CMP instruction, and the set of branch-on-condition instructions, the relations shown in Table 9.2 can be easily tested for. A represents the value in the accumulator, DATA is the value specified in the operand field of the instruction, and Bxx is the branch-on-condition instruction that causes a branch to be taken (to the code labelled TRUE) if the indicated relationship is true after a comparison.

Because the action taken after a comparison by the BCC and BCS is not immediately obvious from their mnemonic names, the recommended assembler syntax standard allows the alternate mnemonics

Table 9.2. Equalities.

BLT, for "branch on less than," and BGE, for "branch if greater or equal," respectively, which generate the identical object code.

Other comparisons can be synthesized using combinations of branch-on-condition instructions. Fragment 9.6 shows how the operation "branch on greater than" can be synthesized.

Fragment 9.6.

Fragment 9.7 shows "branch on less or equal."

Fragment 9.7.

Listing 9.4 features the use of the compare instruction to count the number of elements in a list which are less than, equal to, and greater than a given value. While of little utility by itself, this type of comparison operation is just a few steps away from a simple sort routine. The value the list will be compared against is assumed to be stored in memory locations $88.89, which are given the symbolic name VALUE in the example. The list, called TABLE, uses the DC I directive, which stores each number as a sixteen-bit integer.

Listing 9.4.

Listing 9.4.

After setting the mode to sixteen-bit word/index size, the locations that will hold the number of occurrences of each of the three possible relationships are zeroed. The length of the list is loaded into the Y register. The accumulator is loaded with the comparison value.

The loop itself is entered, with a comparison to the first item in the list; in this and each succeeding case, control is transferred to counter-incrementing code depending on the relationship that exists. Note that equality and less-than are tested first, and greater-than is assumed if control falls through. This is necessary since there is no branch on greater-than (only branch on greater-than-or-equal). Following the incrementing of the selected relation-counter, control passes either via an unconditional branch, or by falling through, to the loop-control code, which decrements Y twice (since double-byte integers are being compared). Control resumes at the top of the loop unless all of the elements have been compared, at which point Y is negative, and the routine ends.

In addition to comparing the accumulator with memory, there are instructions for comparing the values in the two index registers with memory, CPX and CPY. These instructions come in especially handy when it is not convenient or possible to decrement an index to zero—if instead you must increment or decrement it until a particular value is reached. The appropriate compare index register instruction is inserted before the branch-on-condition instruction either loops or breaks out of the loop. Fragment 9.8 shows a loop that continues until the value in X reaches $A0.

Fragment 9.8.

Signed Arithmetic

The examples so far have dealt with unsigned arithmetic—that is, addition and subtraction of binary numbers of the same sign. What about signed numbers?

As you saw in Chapter 1, signed numbers can be represented using two's-complement notation. The two's complement of a number is formed by inverting it (one bits become zeroes, zeroes become ones) and then adding one. For example, a negative one is represented by forming the two's complement of one:

Minus one is therefore equivalent to a hexadecimal $FFFF. But as far as the processor is concerned, the unsigned value $FFFF (65,535 decimal) and the signed value minus-one are equivalent. They both amount to the same stream of bits stored in a register. It's the interpretation of them given by the programmer which is significant—an interpretation that must be consistently applied across each of the steps that perform a multi-step function.

Consider all of the possible signed and unsigned numbers that can be represented using a sixteen-bit register. The two's complement of $0002 is $FFFE—as the positive numbers increase, the two's-complement (negative) numbers decrease (in the unsigned sense). Increasing the positive value to $7FFF (%0111 1111 1111 1111), the two's complement is $8001 (%1000 0000 0000 0001); except for $8000, all of the possible values have been used to represent the respective positive and negative numbers between $0001 and $7FFF.

Since their point of intersection, $8000, determines the maximum range of a signed number, the high-order bit (bit fifteen) will always be one if the number is negative, and zero if the number is positive. Thus the range of possible binary values (%0000 0000 0000 0000 through %1111 1111 1111 1111, or $0000 ... $FFFF), using two's-complement form, is divided evenly between representations of positive numbers, and representations of the corresponding range of negative numbers. Since $8000 is also negative, there seems to be one more possible negative number than positive; for the purposes here, however, zero is considered positive.

The high-order bit is therefore referred to as the sign bit. On the 6502, with its eight-bit word size (or the 65816 in an eight-bit register mode), bit seven is the sign bit. With sixteen-bit registers, bit fifteen is the sign bit. The n or negative flag in the status register reflects whether or not the high-order bit of a given register is set or clear after execution of operations which affect that register, allowing easy determination of the sign of a signed number by using either the BPL (branch on plus) or BMI (branch if minus) instructions introduced in the last chapter.

Using the high-order bit as the sign bit sacrifices the carry flag's normal (unsigned) function. If the high-order bit is used to represent the sign, then the addition or subtraction of the sign bits (plus a possible carry out of the next-to-highest bit) results in a sign bit that may be invalid and that will erroneously affect the carry flag.

To deal with this situation, the status register provides another flag bit, the v or overflow flag, which is set or reset as the result of the ADC and SBC operations. The overflow bit indicates whether a signed result is too large (or too small) to be represented in the precision available, just as the carry flag does for unsigned arithmetic.

Since the high-order bit is used to store the sign, the penultimate bit (the next-highest bit) is the high-order bit as far as magnitude representation is concerned. If you knew if there was a carry out of this bit, it would obviously be helpful in determining overflow or underflow.

However, the overflow flag is not simply the carry out of bit six (if m = 1 for eight-bit mode) or bit fourteen (if m = 0 for sixteen-bit mode). Signed generation of the v flag is not as straightforward as unsigned generation of the carry flag. It is not automatically true that if there is a carry out of the penultimate bits that overflow has occurred, because it could also mean that the sign has changed. This is because of the circular or wraparound nature of two's-complement representation.

Consider Fragment 9.9. Decimal values with sign prefixes are used for emphasis (and convenience) as the immediate operands in the source program; their hexadecimal values appear in the left-hand column which interlists the generated object code (opcode first, low byte, high byte). You can see that -10 is equivalent to $FFF6 hexadecimal, while 20 is hexadecimal $0014. Examine this addition operation in binary:

Fragment 9.9.

Two things should become clear: that the magnitude of the result (10 decimal) is such that it will easily fit within the number of bits available for its representation, and that there is a carry out of bit fourteen:

In this case, the overflow flag is not set, because the carry out of the penultimate bit indicates wraparound rather than overflow (or underflow). Whenever the two operands are of different signs, a carry out of the next-to-highest bit indicates wraparound; the addition of a positive and a negative number (or vice versa) can never result in a number too large (try it), but it may result in wraparound.

Conversely, overflow exists in the addition of two negative numbers if no carry results from the addition of the next-to-highest (penultimate) bits. If two negative numbers are added without overflow, they will always wrap around, resulting in a carry out of the next-to-highest bit. When wraparound has occurred, the sign bit is set due to the carry out of the penultimate bit. In the case of two negative numbers being added (which always produces a negative result), this setting of the sign bit results in the correct sign. In the case of the addition of two positive numbers, wraparound never occurs, so a carry out of the penultimate bit always means that the overflow flag will be set.

These rules likewise apply for subtraction; however, you must consider that subtraction is really an addition with the sign of the addend inverted, and apply them in this sense.

In order for the processor to determine the correct overflow flag value, it exclusive-or's the carry out of the penultimate bit with the carry out of the high-order bit (the value that winds up in the carry flag), and sets or resets the overflow according to the result. By taking the exclusive-or of these two values, the overflow flag is set according to the rules above.

Consider the possible results:

If both values are positive, the carry will be clear; if there is no penultimate carry, the overflow flag, too, will be clear, because 0 XOR 0 equals 0; the value in the sign bit is zero, which is correct because a positive number plus a positive number always equals a positive number. On the other hand, if there is a penultimate carry, the sign bit will change. While there is still no final carry, overflow is set. The final carry (clear) xor penultimate carry (set) equals one. Whenever overflow is set, the sign bit of the result has the wrong value.

If the signs are different, and there is a penultimate carry (which means wraparound in this case), there will be a final carry. But when this is exclusive-or'd with the penultimate carry, it is canceled out, resulting in overflow being cleared. If, though, there were no penultimate carry, there would be no final carry; again, 0 XOR 0 = 0, or overflow clear. If the sign bit is cleared by the addition of a penultimate carry and the single negative sign bit, since wraparound in this case implies the transition from a negative to a positive number, the sign (clear) is correct. If there was no wraparound, the result is negative, and the sign bit is also correct (set).

•Finally, if both signs are negative, there will always be a carry out of the sign bit. A carry out of the penultimate bit means wraparound (with a correctly negative result), so carry (set) XOR penultimate carry (set) equals zero and the overflow flag is clear. If, however, there is no carry, overflow (or rather, underflow) has occurred, and the overflow is set because carry XOR no carry equals one.

The net result of this analysis is that, with the exception of overflow detection, signed arithmetic is performed in the same way as unsigned arithmetic. Multiple-precision signed arithmetic is also done in the same way as unsigned multiple-precision arithmetic; the sign of the two numbers is only significant when the high-order word is added.

When overflow is detected, it can be handled in three ways: treated as an error, and reported; ignored; or responded to by attempting to extend the precision of the result. Although this latter case is not generally practical, you must remember that, in this case, the value in the sign bit will have been inverted. Having determined the correct sign, the precision may be expanded using sign extension, if there is an extra byte of storage available and your arithmetic routines can work with a higher-precision variable. The method for extending the sign of a number involves the bit manipulation instructions described in the next chapter; an example of it is found there.

Signed Comparisons

The principle of signed comparisons is similar to that of unsigned comparisons: the relation of one operand to another is determined by subtracting one from the other. However, the 65x CMP instruction, unlike SBC, does not affect the v flag, so does not reflect signed overflow/underflow. Therefore, signed comparisons must be performed using the SBC instruction. This means that the carry flag must be set prior to the comparison (subtraction), and that the original value in the accumulator will be replaced by the difference. Although the value of the difference is not relevant to the comparison operation, the sign is. If the sign of the result (now in the accumulator) is positive (as determined according to rules outlined above for proper determination of the sign of the result of a signed operation), then the value in memory is less than the original value in the accumulator; if the sign is negative, it is greater. If, though, the result of the subtraction is zero, then the values were equal, so this should be checked for first.

The code for signed comparisons is similar to that for signed subtraction. Since a correct result need not be completely formed, however, overflow can be tolerated since the goal of the subtraction is not to generate a result that can be represented in a given precision, but only to determine the relationship of one value to another. Overflow must still be taken into account in correctly determining the sign. The value of the sign bit (the high-order bit) will be the correct sign of the result unless overflow has occurred. In that case, it is the inverted sign.

Listing 9.5 does a signed comparison of the number stored in VAL1 with the number stored in VAL2, and sets RELATION to minus one, zero, or one, depending on whether VAL1 < VAL2, VAL1 = VAL2 or VAL1 > VAL2, respectively:

Listing 9.5.

Decimal Mode

All of the examples in this chapter have dealt with binary numbers. In certain applications, however, such as numeric I/O programming, where conversion between ASCII and binary representation of decimal strings is inconvenient, and business applications, in which conversion of binary fractions to decimal fractions results in approximation errors, it is convenient to represent numbers in decimal form and, if possible, perform arithmetic operations on them directly in this form.

Like most processors, the 65x series provides a way to handle decimal representations of numbers. Unlike most processors, it does this by providing a special decimal mode that causes the processor to use decimal arithmetic for ADC, SBC, and CMP operations, with automatic "on the fly" decimal adjustment. Most other microprocessors, on the other hand, do all arithmetic the same, requiring a second "decimal adjust" operation to convert back to decimal form the binary result of arithmetic performed on decimal numbers. As you remember from Chapter 1, binary-coded-decimal (BCD) digits are represented in four bits as binary values from zero to nine. Although values from $A to $F (ten to fifteen) may also be represented in four bits, these bit patterns are illegal in decimal mode. So when $03 is added to $09, the result is $12, not $0C as in binary mode.

Each four-bit field in a BCD number is a binary representation of a single decimal digit, the rightmost being the one's place, the second the ten's, and so on. Thus, the eight-bit accumulator can represent numbers in the range 0 through 99 decimal, and the sixteen-bit accumulator can represent numbers in the range 0 through 9999. Larger decimal numbers can be represented in multiple-precision, using memory variables to store the partial results and the carry flag to link the component fields of the number together, just as multiple-precision binary numbers are.

Decimal mode is set via execution of the SED instruction (or a SEP instruction with bit three set). This sets the d or decimal flag in the status register, causing all future additions and subtractions to be performed in decimal mode until the flag is cleared.

The default mode of the 65x processors is the binary mode with the decimal flag clear. It is important to remember that the decimal flag may accidentally be set by a wild branch, and on the NMOS 6502, it is not cleared on reset. The 65C02, 65802, and 65816 do clear the decimal flag on reset, so this is of slightly less concern. Arithmetic operations intended to be executed in binary mode, such as address calculations, can produce totally unpredictable results if they are accidentally executed in decimal mode.

Finally, although the carry flag is set correctly in the decimal mode allowing unsigned multiple-precision operations, the overflow flag is not, making signed decimal arithmetic, while possible, difficult. You must create your own sign representation and logic for handling arithmetic based on the signs of the operands. Borrowing from the binary two's-complement representation, you could represent negative numbers as those (unsigned) values which, when added to a positive number result in zero if overflow is ignored. For example, 99 would equal -1, since 1 plus 99 equals 100, or zero within a two-digit precision. 98 would be -2, and so on. The different nature of decimal representation, however, does not lend itself to signed operation quite as conveniently as does the binary two's-complement form.