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Design of a processor to support the teaching of computer systems

Teaching computer systems, including computer architecture, assembly language programming and operating system implementation, is a challenging occupation. At the University of Waikato this is made doubly true because we require all computer science and information systems students study this material at second year. The challenges of teaching difficult material to a wide range of students have driven us to find ways of making the material more accessible. The corner stone of our strategy for delivering this material is the design and implementation of a custom CPU that meets the needs of teaching. This paper describes our motivation and these needs. We present the CPU and board design and describe the implementation of the CPU in an FPGA. The paper also includes some reflections on the use of a real CPU rather than a simulation environment. We conclude with a discussion of how the CPU can be used for advanced classes in computer architecture and a description of the current status of the project.
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Pearson, M.W., Armstong, D. & McGregor, T. (2002). Design of a processor to support the teaching of computer systems. In Proceedings of the First IEEE International Workshop on Electronic Design, Test and Applications (DELTA '02), Christchurch, New Zealand, 21-31 January 2002. Washington, DC, USA: IEEE.
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