Abstract—Design and implementation of a soft-core MIPS processor using field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology will be addressed in this paper. Teaching processor architecture and design is considered the key element of the student learning in the undergraduate Computer Engineering program; as such, this project was developed to enrich students’ experience in this field. This paper presents a practical introduction to soft-core processor design through the use of step-by-step integrating of the processor’s components. Students implemented their processors using Xilinx ISE design tools and downloaded their designs to Xilinx ML 501 FPGA boards, which used Xilinx Virtex 5 chips. A designed and developed soft-core processor provided students with a starting point for applying their designed processors in follow-up courses such as Embedded Systems and Senior Design Project. Students’ assessment of the soft-core processor design was analyzed, which indicated that they are confident in confronting the next step of constructing advanced processor architecture.
Index Terms—MIPS processor, field-programmable gate array (FPGA), Xilinx design tools, VHDL.
A. Elkateeb is with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Michigan, Dearborn, USA (e-mail: email@example.com).
Cite: Ali Elkateeb, "A Processor Design Course Project: Creating Soft-Core MIPS Processor Using Step-by-Step Components’ Integration Approach," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 1, no. 5, pp. 432-440, 2011.