Introduction to MIPS Assembly Language Programming (Introduction to MIPS Assembly Language Programming)
Introduction to MIPS Assembly Language Programming
About the Book
Given the effort of writing a book, the first question an author has to answer is “why bother?” The answer to that question is what frames the book, and what I will describe here.
Why was this book written? First because I do not believe that there is any book currently available which meets the needs I had for a text book. The first is that the can be obtained for a minimal price, or can even be downloaded for free at a number of sites on the web. I am very tired of asking students to pay over $100 per book for classes. I personally have been blessed in so many ways in this world, and I have reached a point in my career where I can take the time to produce this text as a small pay back for all I have been given. I hope that this example will help students who use the book to order their priorities as they go through life, to seek a good outside of personal monetary gain.
I realize that this text could very much use a good editing, unless I can find someone willing to donate the time to do so, I think the basic information in the book is well enough organized to make it useful, and well worth the cost of a free download.
The second reason I wrote this book is that I could not find an assembly programming book that met the need I had in teaching assembly programming. I believe that learning assembly programming is important to every Computer Science student because the principals in assembly affect how high level languages and programs in those languages are implemented. I have purposefully structured the topics in this text to illustrate how concepts such as memory organization (static, heap, and stack) affect variable allocation in high level languages. The chapter on program control is intended to make the student aware of structured programming, which is the basis for control structures in all modern high level languages. Even arrays make more sense in a high level language once one understands how they are implemented, and why. This text is intended to be more than a book about assembly language programming, but to extend assembly language into the principals on which the higher level languages are built.
Finally writing a book is the best way to organize my own thoughts. Much of the material in this text existed for years as a jumble in my own mind. Producing slides and programs for class helped clarify the concepts, but it was when I had to provide a larger organization of the ideas that many of them finally gelled for me. Forcing yourself to explain a concept, particularly in the brutal detail of writing it out, is the best way to organize and learn things.
There are other details about this book that need to be mentioned. Because this book is electronic, it can be released in phases. This text should be looked at in the same way as a beta software release. I know there are mistakes, but I have the ability to correct them and rerelease the text. So comments are welcome.
There is a separate set of appendices which should be available by mid-summer, 2015. I will update this forward with the URL address of those appendices once they are posted. If anyone is in real need of those appendices, I will send them in their current, incomplete, format. I can be contacted at ckann(at)gettysburg.edu.
I will also release an answer guide when it is completed, hopefully in the same mid-summer 2015 time frame. To request an answer guide will require a request from a professor or lecturer at a school, and that the requestor be listed on the department web site for that school. Requests for this document can be made to me at the same address as for the appendices.
I hope the readers find this text useful. I hope it is at least worth the price...
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