June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.47.1 - 22.47.12
A Hands-on Approach to Demonstrating Hardware/Software Tradeoffs in an Embedded System Design This paper describes a Computer Engineering Technology lab activity in an Embedded SystemsDesign course used to provide students with an opportunity to substantiate the theory beingpresented in the classroom. The objective of the lab is to quantitatively evaluate both thehardware and software implementation of an image rotation algorithm on a System on aProgrammable Chip (SOPC). In this exercise, students gain experience in embedded Cprogramming, HDL design and custom instruction generation, along with the use of a VGAinterface. In addition to the practical design experiences, students are able to measure theexecution time, as well as compare system resource usage, of both implementations thusillustrating the hardware/software tradeoffs discussed in the lecture portion of the class.As in most engineering technology classes, the emphasis is on hands-on learning. Theoreticalconcepts are presented in class lecture and put to test with weekly lab experiments. In thisparticular course, students analyze real-world embedded system design issues. They are wellfamiliar with today’s consumer products, which have only gotten smaller, faster and consumeless power over the course of their lifetime. This experiment aims to illustrate that gains inspeed, size or power often come at a cost to the other two factors. The quantitative investigationemphasizes, through a cost benefit analysis of a real world hands on experience, the use ofhardware versus software in an embedded system.This lab is an effective teaching tool which is engaging and interesting to the students. They areenthusiastic about analyzing and solving a real-world design issue. Displaying and manipulatingimages on the VGA further peaks their interest as they are able to visibly see the differencebetween the two implementations.
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