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you are still wrong about this | 89 comments | Create New Account
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you are still wrong about this
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 18 2012 @ 01:56 AM EDT
"instruction containing a symbolic reference" should be construed according to the standard computer science meaning that Dr. Mitchell ascribed to it
You're way off base here. Dr. August's interpretation of this phrase was the "standard computer science meaning". I've taken courses in compilers and done work on VMs, and work with assembly language every day. So please trust me when I tell you (for at least the third time now) that an instruction does not "contain" anything but the bytes that it consists of.

It "contains" an opcode, and it "contains" its operand(s)--in this case, a one-byte field index. Nothing else. The instruction might "use" a symbolic reference, and it might "make reference" to a symbol, but it certainly does not contain a symbolic reference. There is no interpretation of those words other than their literal interpretation, which makes any sense.

Dr. Mitchell tried to bend it so that it meant practically the same thing as "instruction NOT containing a symbolic reference".

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Machine code instructions run on a processor
Authored by: Ian Al on Friday, May 18 2012 @ 05:17 AM EDT
I chose that ambiguous title because it seems appropriate.

The patent contains an irrelevant phrase: 'a memory containing intermediate form object code'. It only makes sense to you lot because you are used to intermediate stages in the compilation process. However, you all know that the final 'executable' has to be in the form of machine code instructions that can be directly executed by the processor. Intermediate form object code cannot run on a processor because it is not final form. You may consider that symbolic references in intermediate form object code is a stunning new invention with no prior art: I don't.

Dalvik and Java use virtual processors. Dalvik requires the final executable to be in the form of a numeric value that indexes to the software code that executes the virtual machine instruction. What Java does is irrelevant. Judge Alsup told us so.

The issue is whether Dalvik executes machine code with 'a processor configured to execute said instructions containing one or more symbolic references by determining a numerical reference corresponding to said symbolic reference'. This is nothing to do with a block of machine code instructions searching for the value to which a named variable is set. It is a processor that accepts machine code instructions directly in the form of symbols rather than numeric values.

My example would be an instruction using the mnemonic 'jmp' rather than a numeric value. Dalvik does not do this. All intermediate compilation code that contains machine codes expressed as symbolic references must be further processed into numeric values in an index that points at the machine code instruction execution code. As far as I can tell, that is carried out in the JDK by using the dx tool. This is confirmed by Mr. McFadden when he explains how the existing numerical value pointers in the .dex file being installed into a phone is short cut with a pointer direct to the faster-operating instruction code.

Because the Virtual Machine is more than a virtual processor it has to deal with method calls.

Google: Others can be inferred statically when certain assumptions are made. What's that?

Mr. McFadden: Those are things dexopt can do.

Google: For virtual method calls, replace method index with vtable index. What's that, replacing one index with another index?...

Mr. McFadden: Very similar to what we saw before. Similar operation on method invocation.

Google: For instance field get/put, replacing field index with byte offset, is that the same as TX-735? What is that?

Mr. McFadden: Again, this is that field@CCCC operand, replacing that value with a byte offset into an object.

Google: Again, what's the difference between an index and an offset?

Mr. McFadden: Almost nothing. In this case, the index is into a table; when I say offset, it's usually a byte offset, but it's still pretty much the same thing...

Google: A bit of code here: static linking using dexopt. Explain what this is, starting with line 1953 (rewrite iget/iput).

Mr. McFadden: That's the purpose of this function: rewrite iget/iput. The note is just a reminder of how the instruction is layed out in memory.

Google: Line 1963, what's that?

Mr. McFadden: That's the name of the method, and the arguments it takes.
This is dexopt providing index table shortcuts for method calls. iget/iput seems to be the programming function that resolves the method label and puts the pointer in the index table. This is still static optimisation by dexopt, but it is optimising the method calls and those calls have to have their text labels.

Ian Al
Software Patents: It's the disclosed functions in the patent, stupid!

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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