RISC : Java Glossary


RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer). A computer than uses a simplified instruction set that can be implemented without microcode. In contrast CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computer) uses an instruction set that closely mirrors some high level language. The Pentium computers are the main remaining CISC architecture. It is quite antiquated as an architecture, designed originally for assembler coding rather than high level compilation. It was designed back when registers were very expensive. It has far too few registers for a modern CPU (Central Processing Unit) chip. The other emerging CISC instruction set is the Java JVM (Java Virtual Machine). The main advantage of CISC is very compact machine code. Java class files are often several orders of magnitude smaller than other representations. See this biased but informative essay on the advantages of RISC.

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