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Computer science professor’s development tops rankings

Friday, February 22, 2013

MARS, a MIPS simulator designed and written by Dr. Kenneth Vollmar, head of the computer science department at Missouri State University, and former department head Dr. Pete Sanderson, is being recognized as the world’s leading MIPS simulator as it reaches its tenth anniversary.

According to Vollmar, MARS is a GUI, Java-based simulator for the MIPS assembly language. MIPS, the computer architecture underlying the simulated assembly language, is widely used in industry and is the basis of the popular textbook “Computer Organization and Design,” which is used at over 400 universities.

“The MARS simulator has been implemented with characteristics that are especially useful to undergraduate computer science students and their instructors,” noted Vollmar. Features include:

  • Control of execution speed, including breakpoints, single step at variable speed via slider bar and backwards execution
  • Spreadsheet (WYSIWYG) modification of values in registers and memory
  • Selection of data value display in decimal or hexadecimal
  • Surfing through memory using buttons to change display to next/previous, stack location, global partition,and the start of the memory segment
  • Interface to allow assembly language control of separate windows, such as block robotic movement, etc.


College of Natural and Applied Sciences
The College of Natural and Applied Sciences incorporates more than 20 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs along with one cooperative program offered through a partnership with Missouri S&T. The academic departments that make up the college include: biology; chemistry; computer science; engineering; geography, geology and planning; hospitality and restaurant administration; mathematics; and physics, astronomy and materials science. Students have the opportunity for intense hands-on research and internships through a number of outreach and research centers and work alongside faculty who are producing cutting-edge research in their fields.

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