Visual 6811: A simulator of the Motorola 68HC11 microprocessor architecture

Manuel Nieto, University of Texas at El Paso


Many of the concepts described in a computer architecture course are abstract and may be difficult to understand without knowledge of the basic foundations of computer architecture. A visual aid can greatly reduce both the time needed by an instructor to explain concepts and the time required for students to understand concepts. Accordingly, this thesis presents the design, development, and implementation of Visual 6811, a simulator to aid in the teaching and learning of the basic foundations of computer architecture. The overall goals of Visual 6811 are to enable instructors to demonstrate concepts visually and to provide students with a hands-on experience that strengthens their knowledge of computer architecture. Visual 6811 is comprised of two subsystems: a graphical user interface (GUI) and an emulator library, which together provide the functionality to simulate and debug Motorola 68HC11 assembler language programs. While the emulator library is the product of modifying an existing library, the GUI is a new design implemented to interface with the emulator library. The existing library was evaluated with respect to its specifications (the 68HC11 ISA), errors were identified, documented, and corrected, and the library was redesigned to meet the new system requirements. As indicated by the Concepts of Operations document, included in the thesis, software engineering principles were used throughout the development of Visual 6811 to produce a system that can be easily tested, maintained, and upgraded. Also included in the thesis is an analysis of student surveys, which indicates that the goals for which Visual 6811 was developed were met.*^ *This dissertation is a compound document (contains both a paper copy and a CD as part of the dissertation). The CD requires the following system requirements: Microsoft Office.^

Subject Area

Engineering, Electronics and Electrical|Computer Science

Recommended Citation

Nieto, Manuel, "Visual 6811: A simulator of the Motorola 68HC11 microprocessor architecture" (2003). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAIEP10795.