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Development And Integration Of A Digital Control Laboratory With A Digital System Laboratory At Youngstown State University

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Digital System Design

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.452.1 - 11.452.7



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Paper Authors

author page

Ben Shaw Youngstown State University

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Faramarz Mossayebi Youngstown State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

FlexARM1: An ARM Based IP Core for the UP3 Education Kit


Today’s embedded solutions require a rapid product development time to meet strict market demands1. It is essential for system design engineers to verify complex designs in hardware before final implementation. In order for upper level undergraduate students to gain exposure to this verification process, a system level prototyping environment is a necessary tool to provide hands on experience for realizing complex digital systems. System Level Solutions2 and Altera3 offer the UP3 Education Kit as a low cost prototyping platform for system level co hardware/ software development. The UP3 features a powerful Altera Cyclone FPGA4 and an abundance of I/O, peripheral, and memory components allowing for intellectual property (IP) design, prototyping and testing using a hardware descriptive language (HDL).

Modern FPGAs are equipped with features that were not previously available. Today’s FPGAs usually come with phase-locked loops, low-voltage differential signaling, hardware multipliers for DSP, memory, programmable I/O, IP cores, and microprocessor cores5. Because of these features, FPGAs are now a viable choice for the implementation of entire system on a chip, the so-called system-on-a-chip (SoC) concept. HDL design flows using Verilog, VHDL, or SystemC along with today’s advanced logic synthesis tools support the rapid development of these high density programmable SoCs. It is important for students to develop the necessary skills and experience for this emerging technology with the use of available IP cores6, EDA vendor’s logic synthesis tools, and FPGA development boards.

At the heart of every SoC lies a CPU responsible for coordinating the tasks of various components of the system. This paper presents the FlexARM1 processor and its IP design methodology, which could be used as the central core for teaching processor-based systems on FPGAs. This also provides a library of synthesizable VHDL modules for this RISC based CPU, which are currently used in the senior level Computer Architecture course at our institution.

FlexARM1 Design Methodology

The FlexARM1 architecture based on the ARM9 family of commercially available processors developed by ARM7, utilizes the same Harvard architecture and memory mapped I/O concept as the ARM9. The FlexARM1 is a load/store architecture, which implements the following addressing modes from the ARM architecture: data processing immediate shift, data processing register shift, data processing immediate, load/store immediate offset, load/store register offset, and branch and branch with link. All load/store addresses are determined from the register contents and instruction fields only. The FlexARM1 also employs a conditional execution option for each instruction in order to maximize execution throughput. These include fourteen available conditions allowing for the equality and inequality testing of the condition code flags zero, carry, overflow, and negative. The FlexARM1 instruction set is fully compatible with the ARM instruction set. However, time constraints were an issue in implementing every instruction. Some of the more notable instructions not implemented as of

Shaw, B., & Mossayebi, F. (2006, June), Development And Integration Of A Digital Control Laboratory With A Digital System Laboratory At Youngstown State University Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1020

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