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ERIC Number: EJ890179
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
ISSN: ISSN-0018-9359
p88110: A Graphical Simulator for Computer Architecture and Organization Courses
Garcia, M. I.; Rodriguez, S.; Perez, A.; Garcia, A.
IEEE Transactions on Education, v52 n2 p248-256 May 2009
Studying fundamental Computer Architecture and Organization topics requires a significant amount of practical work if students are to acquire a good grasp of the theoretical concepts presented in classroom lectures or textbooks. The use of simulators is commonly adopted in order to reach this objective. However, as most of the available educational simulators focus on specific topics, different laboratory assignments usually require the use of different simulators. This paper presents a graphical and interactive reduced instruction set computer (RISC) processor and memory simulator that allows active learning of some theoretical concepts covered in Computer Architecture and Organization courses. The simulator can be configured to present different processor views, from a simple serial one, without caches or pipelines, to a more realistic one with caches and superscalar execution. This approach allows a set of increasingly complex code-based laboratory assignments to be developed using a single simulator, covering topics ranging from assembly language programming to the analysis of the different kind of cache misses, pipeline hazards or branch prediction hits and misses produced during a program execution. The simulator has been included in a an automatic assessment system that helps the students to complete the assignments and helps teachers to evaluate the correctness of the students' solutions in different environments, such as high-enrollment courses or distance education. Since 1996, both the simulator and the automatic assessment system have been successfully used by more than 5000 students in Computer Architecture and Organization courses at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM), Spain. (Contains 1 table and 10 figures.)
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. 445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ 08854. Tel: 732-981-0060; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Spain