ON SIMULATING AN ARM PROCESSOR FOR TEACHING COMPUTER STRUCTURE
University of Almería (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 11-13 November, 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Traditionally, the final part of the subject Structure and Computers Technology at the University of Almería introduced students the architecture and assembly of MIPS processors. However, students perceived this architecture antiquated and with little relevance in current Computer Science. For this reason, the program of this subject has been updated to replace that part with ARM processors, which are of great interest nowadays. This work explains how this architecture has been included in the mentioned subject during the academic year 2018/19. A basic ARM processor has been designed for this purpose. Its name is ARM-Simple and aims to simplify learning for first-year students. For its implementation and simulation, the software package Digital has been used. It is an open-source circuit simulator which provides an interesting set of features that simplify the design, construction, analysis, and validation of different components. Several activities have been proposed for students. They are presented and divided into iterations so that students build the processor incrementally by adding a new component at each iteration. At the last iteration, students are provided with a high-level code. Students are then first required to convert it into assembly code and finally asked to transform it into machine code that can be executed by the processor built.
Keywords: Education, Computer science.