Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

The University of Texas at Austin

EE 306, Fall 2017
Programming Assignment 2
Due: November 5th, 11:59 pm
Yale N. Patt, Instructor
TAs:Stephen Pruett, Siavash Zangeneh, Aniket Deshmukh, Zachary Susskind, Meiling Tang, Jiahan Liu

You must do every programming assignment by yourself. You are permitted to get help ONLY from the TAs and Dr. Patt. When you have completed the program, and tested it sufficiently so that you are comfortable that it works on any input, submit it for grading according to the submission instructions at the end of this handout.

Programming Assignment 2: Find the zeros of a polynomial.

Background: The zeros of a polynomial f(x) are the values of x for which f(x) = 0. In an interval (xlow, xhigh), a monotonic function f(x) has a zero in that interval if either of the following two things are true:

a. f(xlow) is postive and f(xhigh) is negative, or
b. f(xlow) is negative and f(xhigh) is positive.

In the first case, we say the function f(x) is monotonically non-increasing in the interval because in the interval, f(x) never increases in going from xlow to xhigh. Figure 1 is an example of a monotonically non-increasing function in the interval.

In the second case, we say the function f(x) is monotonically non-decreasing, because in the interval, f(x) never decreases in going from xlow to xhigh.

Example Polynomial Picture
Figure 1

Your Job: Given an interval (xlow, xhigh), a function f(x) that is monotonic in that interval, and either f(xlow) is positive and f(xhigh) is negative or f(xlow) is negative and f(xhigh) is positive, write an LC-3 assembly language program that uses binary search to find the zero of f(x) in the interval (xlow, xhigh), and store that value of x in x4000.

Input to your program will be found in a table in memory, starting at x4001:

Address Content
x4001 xlow
x4002 xhigh
x4003 degree of the polynomial, say n
x4004 to x4004 + n polynomial coefficients

(Updated on 11/04/17)

All values in the table are 2's complement integers.

For example, if f(x) is the polynomial Ax^3 + Bx^2 + Cx + D, the table will take the form:

Content of memory locations x4000-x4007
Address Content
x4000 output: x-position of zero
x4001 left bound
x4002 right bound
x4003 degree: 3
x4004 A
x4005 B
x4006 C
x4007 D

To evaluate the polynomial, you will need to write a subroutine that computes the value of f(x). This must be written as a subroutine. The starting address of the subroutine should be location x5000. The main program should put the value of x into R0 BEFORE calling the subroutine. The subroutine will take the value in R0 and the coefficients stored in memory and compute the value f(x). The subroutine will place f(x) in R4 before returning to the main program. All other registers (other than R7) should remain unchanged. Your subroutine should work exactly as described. We should be able to replace your subroutine with one that we have written and your program should still function normally. The subroutine should be called as few times as possible, part of your grade will be based on this. Please see the binary search section for details.

Sample input and output
Polynomial Interval Output
f(x) = 2x + 6 (-100,100) -3
f(x) = 4x - 8 (-100,100) 2
f(x) = x2 - 4x (2,100) 4
f(x) = x2 - 4x (-100,2) 0
f(x) = 4x2 - 12x - 16 (2,50) 4
f(x) = x3 - 15x2 + 75x - 117 (-20,20) 3
(interval bounds fixed on 10/26/17)

Binary Search: In our program a user specifies an interval of the function that is monotonic. If f(xlow) is positive and f(xhigh) is negative, then we know that a zero of the polynomial must exist between the two bounds. We can search for the zero by using a binary search. In a binary search, we start by dividing the interval into two halves as shown in Figure 1. We can test the polynomial evaluated at the mid-point of the interval (f(xmiddle)) to see if it is positive, negative or zero. If it is zero, then we are done. If the value is not zero, then we can narrow our search to the interval between xmiddle and the appropriate bound such that the new interval will still contain the zero. In the case of the Figure 1, we can narrow our search to the interval (xlow, xmiddle) because we know that this interval contains the zero. We can discard the interval (xmiddle, xhigh) because we know that it does not contain the zero. This process can be repeated until the zero is found. Question: Why does this algorithm lead to the fewest number of calls (on average) to the f(x) subroutine?

You may assume:

  • xlow is always smaller than xhigh.
  • f(x) can always be expressed with 16 bits.
  • All intervals will contain a zero.
  • If f(x) = 0, then x is an integer.
  • f(xlow) and f(xhigh) are not zeros.
  • x1 + x2 can always be expressed with 16 bits for all values of x1 and x2 in the interval
  • (Assumptions updated on 11/01/17)


  • Hint 1: Horner's rule states that Ax^3 + Bx^2 + Cx + D = ( (Ax + B)x + C)x + D. How can our subroutine use this to compute f(x)?
  • Hint 2: You may find it useful to write a multiply subroutine and a divide by 2 subroutine.
  • Hint 3: When (xhigh + xlow)/2 is not an integer, we will need to round the value to a nearby integer. Is this a problem?
  • (Hints updated on 11/04/17)

    Submission Instructions: The main program and the subroutine should be submitted as two separate files. The main program should be called search.asm and the subroutine should be called function.asm. You MUST name your files EXACTLY as specified. Failure to do so will result in a loss of points on the assignment. The two .asm files should be submitted to Canvas by the deadline.