You probably couldn’t write a decent novel if you’d never read a novel. Learning to do something often involves studying what other people did before you. One problem with trying to learn new technology is finding something simple enough to start your studies.
[InfiniteNOP] wanted to get his feet wet writing CPUs and developed a simple 8-bit architecture that would be a good start for a classroom or self-study. It is a work in progress, so there may be a few bugs in it still to squash, but squashing bugs might be educational too. You can read the documentation in the HACKING file for details on the architecture. Briefly, the instruction’s top four bits encode the operation, while the last four bits select the register operands (there are four registers).
[InfiniteNOP] used the Xilinx tools to simulate and synthesize the CPU, but we thought it might be a good excuse to play with EDAPlayground. You can find a testbench that works with EDAPlayground, although you’ll probably want to update the CPU files to match the latest version.
You won’t want to use a simple processor like this in a real project, but as a learning tool, it is about the right size to be manageable. You can graduate later to more complex designs. If you need a brush up on Verilog, have a look at the video below.