Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Robotics Research Center
American Society for Engineering Education
We present our experiences using multiple soft processor cores on an FPGA to study advanced computer architecture at the undergraduate level. Our system instantiates multiple processor cores on a single FPGA device using the Altera Nios® II soft processor and associated CAD tools. With an easy to use development environment and powerful tools to quickly generate designs, an FPGA platform provides the necessary flexibility to quickly produce a working system. Students are able to easily modify and adapt their designs for a specific application. We demonstrate that multiprocessor systems can be developed, implemented and studied by undergraduate students due to the availability and accessibility of design tools and FPGA development boards. Further, these systems enhance the learning of multiprocessors and aptly compliment advanced computer architecture courses covering topics to include shared memory, synchronization, sequential consistency, and memory coherency.
Korpela, Christopher and McTasney, Robert, "An FPGA Multiprocessor System for Undergraduate Study" (2009). West Point Research Papers. 19.