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Academic Exercise: Digital Logic Simulator

written by Gregory Brown for Mendicant University core skills session #9

I had a lot of fun coming up with the "All Wired Up" PuzzleNode problem that was part of this session's entrance exam. At the time I was writing it, I had thought about building a more generally useful tool for playing around with simulated digital circuits, but then I quickly got too busy to look into it further.

Then, I started playing Minecraft and my interest in circuitry simulations was reignited! The game has a full circuitry system for doing all sorts of fun logical processing based on the most primitive inputs. But Minecraft is much better as a game than as a learning environment, and it can be a very frustrating and tedious environment to try to study circuitry in. I want a tool that doesn't make me afraid of being attacked by zombies while I build my logic gates!

In this exercise, I would like you to build a tool that makes exploring digital circuitry fun and interesting. The summary below provides some suggestions on what things in particular I have in mind, but everyone should be able to come up with their own unique take on the idea without too much overlap.

Exercise Summary

  • You should create a tool that makes exploring and learning about logical circuitry fun and interesting.
  • You can use the "All Wired Up" problem and MineCraft's Redstone circuits as an inspiration, but be sure to have some fresh ideas of your own.
  • You should be able to build modular gates that can be re-used in other circuits.
  • The way you handle input and output visualization is completely up to you
  • Your tool should be easy to work with for someone who wants to explore circuitry but is not necessarily a programmer.
  • It should be possible to assign inputs, evaluate the circuits, and then inspect their outputs.
  • Some sort of friendly debugging process and tools would be nice to have.

Submission Guidelines

If you plan to work on this exercise, you should fork this repository and push code early and often during the course. The course guidelines PDF explains the submission process in detail, but please contact an instructor if you have any questions.