Branching and Conditions in Assembly Language

Branching and conditions in assembly language are used to control the flow of execution of a program. Branching instructions allow the program to jump to a different part of the program, while conditional statements allow the program to execute different code depending on the value of a condition.

The following assembly language instructions use branching and conditions:

; Jump to the address stored in the register EAX. jmp eax ; If the value of the register EAX is equal to 10, jump to the label `equal`. cmp eax, 10 je equal ; If the value of the register EAX is less than 10, jump to the label `less`. cmp eax, 10 jl less ; Equal label. equal: ... ; Less label. less: ...

The following assembly language instruction uses a conditional statement:

; If the value of the register EAX is equal to 10, then add 1 to the register EAX. cmp eax, 10 je add_one ; If the value of the register EAX is not equal to 10, then do nothing. add_one: inc eax

In this example, the cmp instruction is used to compare the value of the register EAX to the value 10. If the two values are equal, the program will jump to the label add_one. If the two values are not equal, the program will continue executing at the next instruction.

Here's a step-by-step explanation with examples, using x86 assembly as a reference:

Compare Values

Use comparison instructions to set flags based on the relationship between two values.

cmp ax, bx ; Compare the values in ax and bx

Set Flags

Conditional jump instructions rely on flags set by comparison instructions. Common flags include zero (ZF), sign (SF), carry (CF), and overflow (OF).

Choose a Jump Instruction

Select an appropriate conditional jump instruction based on the desired condition.

je label_equal ; Jump if equal (ZF set) jne label_not_equal; Jump if not equal (ZF not set) jl label_less ; Jump if less (SF set) jg label_greater ; Jump if greater (SF not set and ZF not set)
Full Source

Here's an example demonstrating branching and conditions in x86 assembly:

section .data value1 dw 5 value2 dw 7 section .text global _start _start: ; Load values into registers mov ax, [value1] mov bx, [value2] ; Compare values cmp ax, bx ; Jump based on the result of the comparison je equal_values jne not_equal_values jl value1_less jg value1_greater equal_values: ; Code for equal values ; (e.g., print "Equal") ; Jump to exit jmp exit not_equal_values: ; Code for not equal values ; (e.g., print "Not Equal") ; Jump to exit jmp exit value1_less: ; Code for value1 less than value2 ; (e.g., print "Value1 is Less") ; Jump to exit jmp exit value1_greater: ; Code for value1 greater than value2 ; (e.g., print "Value1 is Greater") ; Jump to exit jmp exit exit: ; Exit program mov eax, 1 ; System call number for exit xor ebx, ebx ; Exit code 0 int 0x80 ; Invoke system call

In this example, the program compares value1 and value2 and takes different branches based on the result of the comparison. Adjust the code inside each branch according to your specific requirements.


Branching and conditions are powerful tools that assembly language programmers can use to write efficient and flexible code. By understanding how to use branching and conditions, assembly language programmers can write programs that can perform a wide range of tasks.