Spim-Cache: A Pedagogical Tool for Teaching Cache Memories Through Code-Based Exercises
|Research Area:||Computer Architecture||Year:||2007|
|Type of Publication:||Article||Keywords:||Spim-cache;cache memories;code-based exercises;computer architecture courses;computer organization courses;pedagogical tool;undergraduate courses;cache storage;computer aided instruction;computer science education;educational courses;|
|Journal:||Education, IEEE Transactions on||Volume:||50|
Cache memories represent a core topic in all computer organization and architecture courses offered at universities around the world. As a consequence, educational proposals and textbooks address important efforts to this topic. A valuable pedagogical help when studying cache memories is to perform exercises based on simple algorithms, which allow the identification of cache accesses, for instance, a program accessing the elements of an array. These exercises, referred to as code-based exercises, have a good acceptance among instructors of computer organization courses. Nevertheless, no tool (e.g., simulator) has been developed to be used in undergraduate courses working with this kind of exercises; therefore, students perform such exercises by means of the classic paper and pencil methodology. To fill this gap, this paper proposes a new pedagogical tool, namely Spim-cache. A laboratory example is also presented for illustrative purposes.