High-Performance Computer Architecture and Algorithm Simulator


Computer Science

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This simulation tool allows the user to explore different computer architectures with hardware support at any or all of five levels of parallelism, from intrainstruction (pipeline) through distributed n-tier client/server systems. The tool supports the simulation of various user-configurable architectures and interconnection networks, running a user-configurable and variable workload. This allows the student and the instructor to observe how performance changes through the five levels of parallelism with changes in either the architecture or workload. The successful use of the simulation tool in a variety of undergraduate courses at the author's institution is presented, along with examples, and a set of experiments. The simulator is a Java applet, which can be used from a Web browser, allowing anyone with an Internet connection access to the tool, without concern about student licensing requirements. The simulator is hosted at the author's institution with funding provided by a recent grant. Its design as an applet also allows improvements and enhancements to the software to be implemented and instantly made available to all users of the product.