Computer Science
Computer Science
bullet From tableside to curbside, Gourmet Dining expands food choices | More

bullet The next building boom: Construction keeps pace with growing university | More

bullet Y'all come!: A weekend to celebrate the Rowan family | More

bullet Rowan and Special Olympics help people Get FIT | More

bullet Got Rowan pride? Homecoming contest looking to identify Glassboro family with the most Prof pride | More

Technical Report Number TR2010-1

Title
Leveraging Hardware Description Lanugages and Spiral Learning in an Introductory Computer Architecture Course


Authors
John Robinson, Ganesh Baliga
Department of Computer Science
Rowan College of New Jersey
Glassboro, NJ 08028

Abstract
This paper describes our experience with using hardware description languages (HDLs such as VHDL) in the sophomore level Computer Architecture course for Computer Science (CS) majors. In our approach, we leverage the studentsí understanding of Object Oriented Programming (OOP) to introduce programmatic specifications of computer components such as multiplexors, adders etc. Students will be exposed to HDLs yet again in more advanced hardware courses such as Digital Design, Computer Architecture and Embedded Systems Programming. In this manner, we plan to harvest the benefits of spiral learning, whose effectiveness in pedagogy is well accepted. The proliferation of Fully Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and modern development environments makes it feasible for CS majors to experience the creation of functioning hardware using specifications coded in VHDL. We expect our approach will result in improved learning outcomes for CS majors in the hardware field.