Awarded

C Programming

Deadline: Sunday 21st October

*Assignment Overview*

The overall aim of your assignment is to build a software based

implementation of a Central Processing Unit (CPU). Such an implementation

should be capable of simulating the execution of machine code

instructions. The

implementation should be written in the ‘C’, programming language but you

are free to use ‘C++’ if you are more comfortable with the latter. However,

in both cases you should use the GNU tool-chain to build the program. CPUs

can clearly be very complex devices, hence you will not be expected to

build a fully compliant implementation. However the more complete the

implementation, the higher the final grade will be. The CPU to be simulated

will be a loosely based on the standard ARM architecture. You will be

provided with a datasheet which will specify the nature of the device (e.g.

register count, status register format etc. and the instruction set to be

supported). In order for the simulation to work your program will also have

to provide some virtual peripheral devices. e.g. Some virtual RAM will be

required.

The project has been broken down into four requirements described as

follows.

*Requirement 1 – Program Design (30% max) -(23/10/12).*

The first requirement will be to undertake some initial design work for the

product. This will require the development of a written design document,

which may also include block diagrams, that defines the overall

architecture of the system you intend to build. This should be a maximum of

*three pages *in length. The purpose of this work is to ensure you have a

clear understanding of the major tasks to be performed by your simulation

program. For example you may break down a solution along the following

lines –

Device Initialisation

Instruction fetching

Instruction decoding

Instruction execution

Under each of these headings you could describe the major tasks to be

performed for that stage. You may also need to consider how the

current‘state’ of the CPU (and possibly the memory content) is to be shown.

e.g. following the execution of each instruction you may decide to show the

contents of the main registers and anything else that has been changed as a

result of the last instruction.

One key aspect you will have to consider is how the instructions will be

defined and read by your simulator. The op-codes should be stored in your

virtual RAM (or ROM if you decide to include such a feature). However these

codes need to get into the virtual machine somehow. Initially you may want

to consider hard-coding some simple instructions for testing purposes.

Later you may decide to load the instructions from a file.

*Requirement 2 – (30%-59%)*

The second requirement of the assignment is the implementation of the basic

CPU simulator. This should result in the development of a computer program

which has the ability to fetch, decode and execute several of the main

instructions within the provided instruction set. Including basic ALU type

instructions (e.g. ADD, SUB), Some Program Counter (PC) related

instructions (e.g. branching) and memory access instructions (LDR and STR).

*Requirement 3 – (60%-69%)*

The third requirement will be to extend requirement two so that it

simulates a full implementation of the provided instruction set. You should

take care to ensure that the instructions not only undertake their

operation correctly, but they also carry out appropriate side effects, such

as the setting of status register flags.

To get to the higher bracket of the available marks you should also include

the ability to count elapsed time during the simulation. To implement this

feature you will need to use the instruction timing information provided in

the datasheet and keep a running total of total time elapsed.

*Requirement 4 – (70%+)*

Skills: PHP, Software Architecture

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