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Nowadays pipelining, pipelines and pipeline-scheduling are very important topics in the current computer architecture. All present processors use pipelining to improve their performance; in fact, the usage of the computer resources has important influences on its final performance. So, speaking in general, pipeline and pipeline-scheduling topics are very outstanding in the computer science studies and it is quite important that students can learn these in an easy and reliable way.
PipeSS-UEx provides both, professors and students, a tool that is useful for studying, teaching and learning how pipelines work and how they can be scheduled in an easy and widespread way. PipeSS-UEx features both static and dynamic pipelines.
PipeSS-UEx is a full interactive application that helps the user to master the knowledge about pipeline scheduling by means of a very simple interface and a very descriptive and didactic way. The simulator has a very comprehensive help system. Using this, the students can even study the theoretical concepts of pipelining and pipeline scheduling. Besides, the application is completely flexible in the way of presenting the results. It is possible, for example, to see any of the stages of scheduling, whichever it is. You can either walk through the complete simulation step by step, have a look at all the details and watch concrete steps of the scheduling or just study the final results of the simulation without presenting intermediate results. The students can check hand-solved problems after each completed step to obtain the final result. The ability of comparing the final scheduling results underlines the importance of simulator-supported learning in modern teaching techniques.
Although the simulator could be used for other purposes (research), it was though, and it is being used in Extremadura University, as a didactical application.
PipeSS-UEx has been carefully developed, taking into account the different users that are going to used it. The simulator has been designed so that it is able to run in a wide range of systems, current systems or older systems anyway. That is because students and different users could have any PC in their homes, and although PipeSS-UEx has been optimized to perform under Windows XP, it has been proved in a wide range of machines. Moreover, the PipeSS-UEx installation to the HD takes less than 5 Mbytes.
PipeSS-UEx is an application based on windows, very easy to use and with a well cared final appearance (buttons with descriptive icons, a lot of very clear explanations about the steps to do, complete help system, etc.) that helps users to learn and study pipeline-scheduling. Besides, the simulator controls all possibilities of error that could take place during the performance, and it presents the user many warning and error messages so that the user is informed about any irregular behaviour of the simulator.
As it can be seen in the previous figure, the simulator has a very simple main window. The upper part of the window is occupied by a main menu, and in the rest of the window there are nine buttons, grouped into three rows, according to their category. In the upper row are the system options to insert a new reservation table (RT) -static or dynamic- . In the central row there are options to load a RT in the simulator. This operation can be made by using a file or by synthesis operations. And in the lower row are located the more useful operations of the application (Show the RT loaded in the system; show the hardware diagram of the pipeline obtained from the loaded RT; and show the state diagram obtained in the pipeline-scheduling, which is the most important part of the scheduling, because it represents the occupation of the pipeline for each clock cycle).
But the buttons placed in the main window have not the ability to control the entire functions that can be performed by the simulator. To access all the functions in the simulator you have to use the main menu, which has the following four options:
To get PipeSS-UEx, clic here (zip file which occupies about 3.2 MBytes).