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A configurable, virtual microprocessor system for instructional use in real-time, real-world studies

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2 Author(s)

A system that allows students to simulate an validate a process plant of their own design, associate I/O channels to the individual components of it, and write a control or sequencer program to control the plant operation using any given assembler is described. Instructors can add a control section to the system that will produce random faults, power failures, and input/output errors in a simulation. With this capability, instructors can test a student's design for completeness, error handling, and fail-safe operation. Some self-correcting faults simulate a repair; the control program restarts as and when appropriate, while other conditions must close the plant down. In the graphics mode of operation the plant design appears as a cartoon with fluid levels altering, pumps switching on and off, and so on, according to the control effected by the student program. The system also displays a trace of the execution and I/O status of the program under execution. If no process design is included, the system can be used to run simple assembler programs on a stand-alone basis. The system was written in response to a need for a teaching tool usable in graduate-level real-time, real-world computing courses.<>

Published in:

Micro, IEEE  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 1 )