WIMP51 processor: Envisioning and recreating the platform for implementing student design projects


The Digital Systems Design course, at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), aims to introduce Electrical and Computer Engineering majors to embedded systems design using microcontrollers. The internal conceptual working of the chosen microcontroller family is explained, using the instruction set, over the course of a semester. In order to introduce students to typical computer organization and architecture design techniques, the Weekend Instructional Microprocessor (WIMP51), which is rudimentary in design and has a small instruction set, is also covered. The original WIMP51 was created using synthesizable VHDL. Students taking the prerequisite Introduction to Computer Engineering course are not required to learn, and are rarely introduced to, VHDL at that level depending on the instructor's choice. In order to provide a platform for students to better visualize, understand and learn the internal organization and architecture of the WIMP51 processor, a student oriented experiential learning based project was implemented to redesign WIMP51, using the original inspiration (a similar but different implementation) in Quartus II design software using schematic capture of digital circuits via Block Diagram Files (BDF). This paper discusses, in depth, the recreation of the WIMP51 processor and describes the designed features to help students obtain a deeper understanding of the internal working of the processor.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding



Publication Date


Journal Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings