An Interactive Remote Laboratory on Basic Computer Architecture Using Altera DE2 Board

Athanasios Kalantzopoulos, Emmanouil Galetakis, Christos Katsenos, Evangelos Zigouris

Abstract


This paper proposes an interactive RL (Remote Laboratory) on basic computer architecture. The students through this RL are able to understand basic theoretical concepts by observing the step by step operation of two 8-bit CPUs (Central Processing Units). The simple architectures of these CPUs which are also presented in this paper are ideal for introductory courses on computer architecture. The hardware implementations of two ?Computers (micro-computers) based on the above CPUs were achieved using the FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) based Altera DE2 board. The implemented systems around these two ?Computers allow both local and remote control of the corresponding CPUs. The students using the proposed RL, select the desired ?Computer which is automatically downloaded to the FPGA. They are also able to program the selected ?Computer in assembly language and to observe the step by step execution of the downloaded program. This procedure is achieved using the virtual push buttons and toggle switches of the RL GUI (Graphical User Interface) which is accessible by a common web browser. The values of the registers, internal buses and the DE2 LEDs are also displayed in the GUI during the program execution. Through this process, the students become familiar not only with the assembly language programming but they also understand in depth the internal micro-operations of the implemented CPUs.

Keywords


Computer architecture; Field programmable gate array (FPGA); Remote laboratory (RL)

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International Journal of Online and Biomedical Engineering (iJOE) – eISSN: 2626-8493
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