Intel’s Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) continues to evolve to improve functionality, performance and the user experience. Featured below are planned extensions to the ISA that are new as well as those being planned for enhancements in future generations of processors. By publishing these extensions early, Intel helps ensure that the software ecosystem has time to innovate and come to market with enhanced and new products when the processors are launched.
- Intel® Architecture Instruction Set Extensions Programming Reference (PDF) covers new instructions slated for future Intel processors.
- Details of the current architecture and programming environment of the Intel® 64 and IA-32 architectures can be found in the Intel®64 and IA-32 Architectures Software Developer Manuals.
Tools & Downloads
- Intel® Software Development Emulator (Intel® SDE)
This version includes support for:
- Intel® AVX-512, Intel® Secure Hash Algorithms Extensions and Intel® Memory Protection Extensions (Intel® MPX) instructions being introduced in future generation Intel processors
- Intel® Architecture Code Analyzer
The Intel® Architecture Code Analyzer helps you conduct quick analysis for Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions before processors with these instructions are actually available.
Product Overview | Download
- Intel® C++ Compiler
The Intel® C++ Compiler is available for download from the Intel® Registration Center for all licensed customers. Evaluation versions of Intel® Software Development Products are also available for free download.
- Intel Intrinsics Guide
The Intel Intrinsics Guide is an interactive reference tool for Intel intrinsic instructions, which are C style functions that provide access to many Intel instructions – including Intel® Streaming SIMD Extensions (Intel® SSE), Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX), and more – without the need to write assembly code.
Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX)
The need for greater computing performance continues to grow across industry segments. To support rising demand and evolving usage models, we continue our history of innovation with the Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX) in products today.
Intel® AVX is a new-256 bit instruction set extension to Intel® SSE and is designed for applications that are Floating Point (FP) intensive. It was released early 2011 as part of the Intel® microarchitecture code name Sandy Bridge processor family and is present in platforms ranging from notebooks to servers. Intel AVX improves performance due to wider vectors, new extensible syntax, and rich functionality. This results in better management of data and general purpose applications like image, audio/video processing, scientific simulations, financial analytics and 3D modeling and analysis.
Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (Intel® AVX-512)
In the future, some new products will feature a significant leap to 512-bit SIMD support. Programs can pack eight double precision and sixteen single precision floating numbers within the 512-bit vectors, as well as eight 64-bit and sixteen 32-bit integers. This enables processing of twice the number of data elements that IntelAVX/AVX2 can process with a single instruction and four times the capabilities of Intel SSE.
Intel AVX-512 instructions are important because they open up higher performance capabilities for the most demanding computational tasks. Intel AVX-512 instructions offer the highest degree of compiler support by including an unprecedented level of richness in the design of the instruction capabilities.
Intel AVX-512 features include 32 vector registers each 512-bit wide and eight dedicated mask registers. Intel AVX-512 is a flexible instruction set that includes support for broadcast, embedded masking to enable predication, embedded floating point rounding control, embedded floating-point fault suppression, scatter instructions, high speed math instructions, and compact representation of large displacement values.
Intel AVX-512 offers a level of compatibility with Intel AVX which is stronger than prior transitions to new widths for SIMD operations. Unlike Intel SSE and Intel AVX which cannot be mixed without performance penalties, the mixing of Intel AVX and Intel AVX-512 instructions is supported without penalty. Intel AVX registers YMM0–YMM15 map into Intel AVX-512 registers ZMM0–ZMM15 (in x86-64 mode), very much like Intel SSE registers map into Intel AVX registers. Therefore, in processors with Intel AVX-512 support, Intel AVX and Intel AVX2 instructions operate on the lower 128 or 256 bits of the first 16 ZMM registers.
More information about the details about Intel AVX-512 instructions can be found in the blog "AVX-512 Instructions". The instructions are documented in the Intel® Architecture Instruction Set Extensions Programming Reference (see the "Overview" tab on this page).
Intel® Software Guard Extensions (Intel® SGX)
Intel Vision Statement
Computing workloads today are increasing in complexity, with hundreds of software modules delivered by different teams scattered across the world. Isolation of workloads on open platforms has been an ongoing effort, beginning with protected mode architecture to create a privilege separation between operating systems and applications. Recent malware attacks however have demonstrated the ability to penetrate into highly privileged modes and gain control over all the software on a platform.
Intel® Software Guard Extensions (Intel® SGX) is a name for Intel Architecture extensions designed to increase the security of software through an “inverse sandbox” mechanism. In this approach, rather than attempting to identify and isolate all the malware on the platform, legitimate software can be sealed inside an enclave and protected from attack by the malware, irrespective of the privilege level of the latter. This would complement the ongoing efforts in securing the platform from malware intrusion, similar to how we install safes in our homes to protect valuables even while introducing more sophisticated locking and alarm systems to prevent and catch intruders.
Getting Started (common to all ISA)
- Intel® Architecture Instruction Set Extensions Programming Reference covers new instructions slated for future Intel processors (PDF).
- Intel® Software Guard Extensions (Intel® SGX) Programming Reference covers additional security instructions for future Intel processors (PDF).
Tools & Downloads
- No change to existing content
- White Paper: Innovative Instructions and Software Model for Isolated Execution
- White Paper: Innovative Instructions for Trusted Solutions
- White Paper: Innovative Technology for Attestation and Sealing
Intel® Memory Protection Extensions (Intel® MPX)
Computer systems face malicious attacks of increasing sophistication, and one of the more commonly observed forms is to cause or exploit buffer overruns (or overflows) in software applications.
Intel® Memory Protection Extensions (Intel® MPX) is a name for Intel Architecture extensions designed to increase robustness of software. Intel MPX will provide hardware features that can be used in conjunction with compiler changes to check that memory references intended at compile time do not become unsafe at runtime. Two of the most important goals of Intel MPX are to provide this capability at low overhead for newly compiled code, and to provide compatibility mechanisms with legacy software components. Intel MPX will be available in a future Intel® processor.
Intel® Secure Hash Algorithm Extensions (Intel® SHA Extensions)
The Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA) is one of the most commonly employed cryptographic algorithms. Primary usages of SHA include data integrity, message authentication, digital signatures, and data de-duplication. As the pervasive use of security solutions continues to grow, SHA can be seen in more applications now than ever. The Intel® SHA Extensions are designed to improve the performance of these compute intensive algorithms on Intel® architecture-based processors.
The Intel® SHA Extensions are a family of seven Intel® Streaming SIMD Extensions (Intel® SSE)-based instructions that are used together to accelerate the performance of processing SHA-1 and SHA-256 on Intel architecture-based processors. Given the growing importance of SHA in our everyday computing devices, the new instructions are designed to provide a needed boost of performance to hashing a single buffer of data. The performance benefits will not only help improve responsiveness and lower power consumption for a given application, they may enable developers to adopt SHA in new applications to protect data while delivering to their user experience goals. The instructions are defined in a way that simplifies their mapping into the algorithm processing flow of most software libraries, thus enabling easier development.