cpe229_lec11 - CPE 229 Course Notes Lecture 11 Copyright...

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CPE 229 Course Notes: Lecture 11 Copyright: 2005 Bryan Mealy Moving Towards a Basic Computer The first part of this set of notes is generally what I like to start the middle third of CPE 229 with. But for some reason, I fell behind in the lectures and needed to introduce the topics of microoperations and RTL a bit sooner than usual. In the end, this is altogether not too bad of an approach because with you newly gained RTL mastery, you’re now able to describe and understand more complex digital circuits. And this is good because the middle third of this course is nothing more than staring at a more complex digital circuit. The circuit we’ll be staring at is called a computer. Before you get too excited about this concept, remember that a computer is nothing more than a device that sequentially executes a set of instructions (or as most people know it, runs a program). We’ll be looking at the basic building blocks of a computer; we’ll sort of design one, although it will be a rather simple one. When we talk about computer design, we won’t be designing one of those boxes sitting on your desk or being carried around in the black bag slung over your shoulder; the bad news is that those computers are more complex than we want to deal with. The good news is that, generally speaking, all computers do what they do in a similar manner. Even the more complex ones do the same simple stuff but in complex ways in order to increase the throughput (how much the computer does) of the device. The stuff you’ll learn in CPE 229 is certainly a first step towards designing a computer such as the one on your desk (arguably a small step however). The Digital Design Hierarchy We’re moving towards being able to design a computer. You’ve come a fairly long way down the digital path to get to this point and here is a reminder of some of the more important milestones along the way. It all started with CPE 129 (or CPE 219 if you’ve been around awhile). Depending on what your major is, it ends in different places. Computer design represents what could be considered the next step in the natural progression of your “digital education”. Here is a brief reminder of the progression: CPE 129 started with number systems with a strong emphasis on binary number systems and various methods to represent information in binary form (binary coded decimal, 2’s complement, signed and unsigned numbers, etc). Although this was not digital design, we’ll be using many of these concepts directly because we have a sincere interest in the ways computers store and interpret bit patterns. Next were the basics of digital design: AND, OR, NOT functions and gates. This quickly got into the design of basic combinatorial circuits with much emphasis on reducing Boolean equations before circuit implementation. The circuits that were implemented at this point were generally pointless but they provided an enjoyable academic exercise.
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