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Use of “virtual” (simulated) hardware devices in microprocessor laboratories and tutorials

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2 Author(s)
Smith, M.R. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Calgary Univ., Alta., Canada ; Cheng, M.

It is a common problem in industry that the development of software does not go hand-in-hand with the development of the hardware that the software is intended to control. A similar situation can occur in the undergraduate laboratory. Here a student, having designed the software component of a project, can't gain access to the necessary hardware to prepare for or complete a laboratory because of schedule/security difficulties. Over the past year we have overcome this problem by using “virtual” hardware, where device operation is simulated in software. We have generalized the approach so that the virtual devices can be used in conjunction with microprocessor simulator software and with actual evaluation boards for both RISC and CISC systems. We are in the preliminary development stages of a new HTML Web page approach where we control, rather than just launch, these commercial simulation packages. Such an approach would provide a controlled, interactive, tutorial environment for students taking microprocessor courses. There are further industrial and academic advantages of such an approach which can help to overcome the initial learning curve for the tools. We discuss the basics of developing “virtual” devices for use with the Windows based development environment provided with Software Development Systems 68 K and PowerPC free sample kits. These devices can then be ported to the Motorola M68332EVK and Advanced Micro Devices' SA29200 microprocessor evaluation boards to provide actual hardware experience

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 1996. FIE '96. 26th Annual Conference., Proceedings of  (Volume:3 )

Date of Conference:

6-9 Nov 1996