GASIM: the gate array graphical simulator for FPGA architecture learning

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IEEE Revista Iberoamericana de Tecnologias del Aprendizaje, 1932-8540, Vol 14, Num 3, 2019, pag 95 - 105

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Field Programmable Gate Arrays, also called FPGA, are the main contemporary tool for digital systems learning and development. Its benefits are more than evident, but also are its internal complexity. The widespread use of FPGA devices has created a necessity for understanding the inner logic using diagrams or theoretical explanations. This paper presents an innovative approach for FPGA basic architecture learning called GASIM. A conceptually complete model for a simple but general 2-D graphical FPGA has been designed and implemented in such a way that is easy to understand, aesthetically appealing from the student's point of view, and also easy to use by any teacher. The aim of this kind of design is to fill the conceptual gap we have found while teaching FPGA based courses. The final tool is a 2-D modular graphical library for a standalone logic simulator that not only allows teachers and students to program an FPGA model and simulate every aspect of its internal logic complexities but also to construct their own limited, but complete FPGA structure using drag and drop graphical modules and programmable interconnections. Our study provides a technical description of the tool, and our first results in the classroom.

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Field programmable gate arrays, Tools, Logic gates, Routing, Digital circuits, Computer architecture, Two dimensional displays, Devices, Digital systems, Learning, Simulators, Teaching