What is a Computer Controlled Railroad?
The Computer Controlled Railroad, or CCR, is an HO scale model railroad that is controlled by a PC using robotic techniques. Currently, classes such as Machine Organization and Operating Systems use the CCR to visualize certain concepts for better understanding such as multi-tasking, racing conditions, or interrupting a process.
So why build a simulator?
Currently, there are only 2 physical CCR layouts for students to test out their methods and algorithms on. Further, the students must go to the physical location of the CCR to use it as well. There are also issues like power loss, trains derailing, and potential physical damage to the CCR itself. With a simulator, there won't be a limit to how many students can use the CCR at once. There will also then be an infinite number of track layouts the students can try (limited only by their own imaginations). Furthermore, students can use it wherever they want to instead of having to go to the physical location of the CCR.