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ENoCS: An Interactive Educational Network-on-Chip Simulator

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Software & Web-based Education

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors

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Paul William Viglucci Binghamton University


Aaron P. Carpenter Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Professor Carpenter is an Assistant Professor at the Wentworth Institute of Technology. In 2012, he completed his PhD at the University of Rochester, focusing on the performance and energy of the on-chip interconnect.

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On-chip networking concepts, which are central to multicore microprocessor design, are often taught using textbooks and the standard lecture model, as it is difficult to provide interactive learning opportunities and hands-on assignments. Available on-chip network simulators typically focus on research-level accuracy and are not suitable for novices or students. Meanwhile, with each new chip generation, the importance of the on-chip interconnect grows. Career opportunities in computer architecture will increasingly rely on an understanding of the chip's communication substrate. The lack of interactive, approachable tools thus leaves students with a gap in their computer architecture education in an increasingly multicore industry.

In this paper, we present ENoCS, the Educational Network-on-Chip Simulator, which allows users of all levels of expertise to explore the on-chip network environment and see the inner workings of the on-chip communication substrate and all of its components. ENoCS contains multiple topologies and network options, as well as multiple traffic patterns for testing. ENoCS also shows microarchitectural details, including router structure, packet breakdown, and routing tables. We also present methods for incorporating ENoCS into an existing computer architecture course curriculum and an evaluation of its effectiveness in a small senior/graduate-level course. Students in the evaluated course who used the tool showed an increased competency in the concepts, as well as interest in using the tool further. While the sample size was small, it demonstrates the promise of using the ENoCS tool in the classroom. The simulator is available on-line for public use at

Viglucci, P. W., & Carpenter, A. P. (2016, June), ENoCS: An Interactive Educational Network-on-Chip Simulator Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26720

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