The Elements of Computing Systems: Building a Modern Computer from First Principles

The Elements of Computing Systems: Building a Modern Computer from First Principles

Noam Nisan, Shimon Schocken

Language: English

Pages: 344

ISBN: 0262640686

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In the early days of computer science, the interactions of hardware, software, compilers, and operating system were simple enough to allow students to see an overall picture of how computers worked. With the increasing complexity of computer technology and the resulting specialization of knowledge, such clarity is often lost. Unlike other texts that cover only one aspect of the field, The Elements of Computing Systems gives students an integrated and rigorous picture of applied computer science, as its comes to play in the construction of a simple yet powerful computer system.

Indeed, the best way to understand how computers work is to build one from scratch, and this textbook leads students through twelve chapters and projects that gradually build a basic hardware platform and a modern software hierarchy from the ground up. In the process, the students gain hands-on knowledge of hardware architecture, operating systems, programming languages, compilers, data structures, algorithms, and software engineering. Using this constructive approach, the book exposes a significant body of computer science knowledge and demonstrates how theoretical and applied techniques taught in other courses fit into the overall picture.

Designed to support one- or two-semester courses, the book is based on an abstraction-implementation paradigm; each chapter presents a key hardware or software abstraction, a proposed implementation that makes it concrete, and an actual project. The emerging computer system can be built by following the chapters, although this is only one option, since the projects are self-contained and can be done or skipped in any order. All the computer science knowledge necessary for completing the projects is embedded in the book, the only pre-requisite being a programming experience.The book's web site provides all tools and materials necessary to build all the hardware and software systems described in the text, including two hundred test programs for the twelve projects. The projects and systems can be modified to meet various teaching needs, and all the supplied software is open-source.

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chips and Jack and stack arithmetic and standard libraries VM and Java Runtime Environment Java Virtual Machine (JVM) Jump nested subroutine calling and specification Keyboard input Jack and operating systems and string reading and text handling and visualized chip operations and Labels Last-in-first-out (LIFO) storage model Least significant bits (LSB) Lexical analysis XML and Lexical analysis (LEX) tool Line drawing Linked

a .tst script file that tells the hardware simulator how to test it, along with the correct output file that this script should generate, called .cmp or “compare file.” Your job is to complete the missing implementation parts of the supplied .hdl programs. Contract When loaded into the hardware simulator, your chip design (modified .hdl program), tested on the supplied .tst file, should produce the outputs listed in the supplied .cmp file. If that is not the case, the simulator will let you

significant bit of the addition sum, and the most significant bit carry. Figure 2.2 presents a chip, called half-adder, designed to carry out this operation. Full-Adder Now that we know how to add two bits, figure 2.3 presents a full-adder chip, designed to add three bits. Like the half-adder case, the full-adder chip produces two outputs: the least significant bit of the addition, and the carry bit. Adder Memory and register chips represent integer numbers by n-bit patterns, n being

values, they must be equipped with memory elements that can preserve data over time. These memory elements are built from sequential chips. The implementation of memory elements is an intricate art involving synchronization, clocking, and feedback loops. Conveniently, most of this complexity can be embedded in the operating logic of very low-level sequential gates called flip-flops. Using these flip-flops as elementary building blocks, we will specify and build all the memory devices employed by

of any digital computer. The machine language of the Hack platform is specified in chapter 4, and the computer design itself is discussed and specified in chapter 5. Readers can build this computer as well as all the chips and gates mentioned in the book on their home computers, using the software-based hardware simulator supplied with the book and the Hardware Description Language (HDL) documented in appendix A. All the developed hardware modules can be tested using supplied test scripts,

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