Floating Point in x86 Assembly

CS 301 Lecture, Dr. Lawlor

Intel's current main floating point unit is called SSE.  This includes:
Here's a typical use:
movss xmm0,[a] ; load one float from memory
addss xmm0,xmm0 ; add to itself (double it)
movss [a],xmm0 ; store back to memory

mov rdi,a; address of our float
mov rsi,1; number of floats to print
sub rsp,8 ; align stack for farray_print
extern farray_print
call farray_print
add rsp,8 ; Clean up stack

ret ; Done with function

section .data
a: dd 1.234

(Try this in NetRun now!)

The full list of single-float instructions is below.  There are also double precision instructions, and some very interesting parallel instructions (we'll talk about these next week).

sub, mul, div all work the same way
max works the same way
Square root (sqrt), reciprocal (rcp), and reciprocal-square-root (rsqrt) all work the same way
Copy DWORD sized data to and from memory. 
Convert cvtss2si

Convert to ("2", get it?) Single Integer (si, stored in register like eax).  "cvtt" versions do truncation (round toward zero, like C++ default); "cvt" versions round to nearest.
Compare to flags
Sets CPU flags like normal x86 "cmp" instruction, but from SSE registers.  Use with "jb", "jbe", "je", "jae", or "ja" for normal comparisons (but not jl, jle, jg, or jge, for some reason).  Sets "pf", the parity flag, if either input is a NaN.

Here's an example of cvtss2si to convert to integer:
movss xmm3,[pi]; load up constant
addss xmm3,xmm3 ; add pi to itself
cvtss2si eax,xmm3 ; round to integer
section .data
pi: dd 3.14159265358979 ; constant

(Try this in NetRun now!)

Here we're using ucomiss to compare two floats:
movss xmm3,[a]
ucomiss xmm3,[b]
jbe wejumped
mov eax, 1

mov eax,3

a: dd 1.23
b: dd 1.27

(Try this in NetRun now!)

Today, SSE is the typical way to do floating point work.  Some older compilers might still use the FPU (to work with very old pre-SSE hardware, like a Pentium 1), and the very latest cutting edge machines (Sandy or Ivy Bridge) can use AVX, but this is the mainstream typical version you should probably use for your homeworks.