Educational simulator for the MIPS processor
Neo, Gerald Wei Sheng
Date of Issue2017-04-12
School of Computer Science and Engineering
Advancements in technology have provided the world with countless solutions to everyday problems. Apart from solving issues, technology has also been able to make lives more comfortable to go about. A typical smartphone nowadays carry the processing power of a desktop five years ago. This is all made possible due to growth in VLSI design. Looking at the bigger picture, apart from its software counterpart, computer architecture is an equally important contributor towards the betterment of technology. An instruction set architecture of a computer plays a pivotal role in acting as the interface between its hardware and software. To the date of writing this report, the Computer Science and Computer Engineering course in NTU involves learning about the MIPS32 instruction set architecture and its datapath. Due to the lack of physical apparatus in learning how the datapath functions, there has been many attempts at creating simulators of various instruction set architectures – for example, the QtSpim and MARS. This report will examine some of these simulators and find out their advantages and drawbacks in the domain of pedagogical learning. The report continues with describing the design and implementation of a web application aimed at maximizing interactivity with the user, as the main goal of these applications is to imbue the end-user with knowledge of the MIPS32 instruction set architecture with as much learning ease as possible. The report continues with a discussion of the efficacy of the web application towards learning through a user survey. The results are delved into to better understand the effectiveness of the web application. This information will then be further used as recommendations to improve the existing web application. This report will conclude with the challenges and difficulties encountered during the development of the web application, as well as how some of these difficulties were overcame.
DRNTU::Engineering::Computer science and engineering
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University