A few months ago, a tweet by [Ken Shirriff] asking about simple digital simulators caught my attention. The topic came up again in May when a repair video by [CuriousMarc] featured one such simulator called Logisim-evolution. It made me want to take a fresh look on what’s out there and which features set the different simulators apart.
So today, let’s take a quick survey of a few such simulators that I found. I’m focusing on plain logic simulators, analyzing ones and zeros using Boolean logic. They are not doing SPICE-like analog analysis of transistor logic gates, but they’re still quite handy for proofing out designs.
Logicsim from 1983 is the oldest one on our list, developed by Wun Chin Kau and Douglas Jones in support of computer science lab classes at the University of Iowa Computer Science department. It is a text-based simulator, open source for personal and research use, and written in Pascal. As recent as 2008, one user was able to compile it using FreePascal.
Next is TKGate, developed as a project by undergraduates in 1987 at the Carnegie Mellon University. It is written in C and Tcl, last updated in 2016, and maintained by Jeffery Hansen here on Sourceforge. Of all the simulato ..