Software defined radios, which provide a programmable solution for implementing the physical layer processing of multiple communication standards, are widely recognized as one of the most important new technologies for wireless communication systems. Emerging communication standards, however, require tremendous processing capabilities to perform high-bandwidth physical-layer processing in real time. In this paper, we present instruction set extensions for several important communication algorithms including convolutional encoding, Viterbi decoding, turbo decoding, and Reed-Solomon encoding and decoding. The performance benefits of these extensions are evaluated using a supercomputer class vectorizing compiler and the Sandblaster low-power multithreaded processor for software defined radio. The proposed instruction set extensions provide significant performance improvements, while maintaining a high degree of programmability.
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