Monthly Archives: January 2013

Mum, I’m Building a CPU – The Start

Since last term, a small group of us have been thinking of building a computer CPU as an educational and experimental exercise.  Last week, Andrei, Charlie and I went to see our Digital Circuit Design lecturer, Mike Freeman, to enquire about how we would go about such a project and to get information on what our University (The University of York) would be able to do to help us in the project.

The overall idea is to construct a fully-functioning CPU based on a Harvard architecture (that means, a programable ROM with the instructions that will be executed, and a RAM with the data values).  The overall goal is to have it capable of playing a game similar to Pong, although we are of course aware that first we need to get a little more functionality into ALU!  The challenge is certainly daunting (and probably is going to be incredibly time consuming).

To log our process, we will produce regular episodes to a Video Blog.  This is yet another challenge, with us not knowing a lot about video editing, but we’ve done our research and have the kit (a 600D and iPhone) so hopefully the videos will be getting better from a good initial standard.  Episode 1 was completed today, so I’ve embedded it below for easy viewing pleasure!  Whilst watching, note we didn’t spend the whole day at the weekend building that storage array, we also worked on a 4bit ripple-adder, but that’s for the next episode!