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This paper presents a teaching method for a possible computer architect by using a simple DCT project for an undergraduate-level computer architecture course. The goal of the project is to let students (two or three students per team) understand the concept of computer hardware and how to design a simple RISC-type 32-bit Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). The project consists of three different tasks: 1) D (Design) - Designing a processor at the abstract level; 2) C (Code) - Writing a simulation program for the ISA; and 3) T (Test) - Running a test program to verify each function of computer hardware. For the first task, students are required to design their own instruction sets, datapath, and control unit. For the second task, they write a simulation program by using a high-level language such as C/C++ or VHDL/Verilog based on the directions provided, and then they run a test program with the simulator to produce the results.

The project has worked well for students since they responded favorably to the project and indicated that they learned the concepts of computer hardware and how to design computer architecture as a professional engineer.

Publication Title

Computers in Education Journal



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