EZPU – large scale tangible computing

An 8-bit educational breadboard processor. Can we make the basic concepts of computer architecture easier to grasp, by bringing it into the physical world?

Contact: Troels Korreman (DIKU, 3rd year bachelor student); Participants includes: Cami Dalsgaard, DIKU; more are welcome

Something I personally struggled to understand for a long time was what computers are and how they work – I mean, how they really work. In our third semester at DIKU we are somewhat taught this in a rather convoluted way, but it still leaves much to be desired. It would be great if there was some tangible way to see what goes on under the hood of a computer.

The EZPU is a large scale CPU that attempts to do this, by showing through LEDs and displays what it is doing when running a program. It aims to be a teaching tool, a showcase, or possibly an art installation of sorts. It will be based on the computer built in the excellent video series project by Ben Eater. But it will have larger modifications to enhance some abilities of the computer as well as to increase the visual coherence and approachability of the final product. The idea is that one could show the code for a program, then run the program on the EZPU, slowly stepping through each instruction and showing people how the CPU performs it.

Follow the project development at: https://ezpu.wordpress.com/

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