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An Effective Project-Based Embedded System Design Teaching Method

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Laboratory Development in ECE I

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.160.1 - 23.160.9



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Paper Authors


Karl L Wang Department of Engineering Harvey Mudd College 301 Platt Boulevard Clarement, CA 91711 909-607-9136

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Dr. Karl Wang is the Laspa Professor of Electrical Engineering Practice of in the Department of Engineering at Harvey Mudd College. He is teaching Introduction to Engineering Systems, Digital Electronics and Computer Engineering, Microprocessor-based Systems: Design and Applications, and Embedded System Designs, Introduction to CMOS VLSI Design, and Engineering Clinics. His previous experience include working in the industry for more than 30 years on memories, microprocessor, and multimedia SOCs product designs at Texas Instruments, Motorola, Hitachi, and ARM. He was the VP of Research and Development at Silicon Motion Inc. in Multimedia Products before began teaching. He has published 22 technical papers and holds 19 US patents and a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T.

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Clint S Cole Digilent, Inc.

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Tinghui Wang Digilent Inc

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Joe Harris Digilent, Inc.

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A Highly Effective Project-Based Embedded System Design Teaching Method AbstractIn this paper we present the development of a project-based embedded system design coursetaught at the senior undergraduate level. The students use a new embedded system developmentboard with dual-core media processors embedded in a FPGA and an embedded development kitto design projects. This platform was chosen because it enables the students to design moresophisticated embedded systems, e.g. video image processing, that requires high performancemultimedia data processing capability, customized digital logic designs, and a rich set ofperipherals including HDMI, DDR3, SD, USB, JTAG debug ports, etc. (see system developmentboard block diagram on page 2). The students learn the embedded system design throughinteresting projects that have practical applications in real systems. In addition, the students gaindesign experience with a leading industry embedded system design technology to meet industryneeds for entry-level professionals.This paper will present a project-based embedded system design teaching method that iseffective for student learning. We found that students can learn better when they have hands-onexperience with embedded system designs. The course curriculum begins with a series of labsthat are designed to teach the students the basics of microprocessor architecture, system-on-a-chip (SOC) design, and embedded system development kit. Then the students are encouraged tolearn on their own by participation in design teams to complete a final project. In addition to theprojects, seminars are given on microprocessor architectures, programming methods, SOCdesigns, and image processing algorithms to give students the knowledge base to design theirown projects. We will illustrate this project-based teaching method by using examples from thestudent projects.This paper will also describe the cooperation between academia and industry partners. Theindustry partners provided invaluable assistance through donations and technical assistance toenable a faster bring up of the new embedded system development platform. We alsoparticipated in a development board user group where news, documents, projects, support, andpartner information are available and shared by all participants. Therefore, this paper is co-authored by authors from both academia and industry.We submit this paper with the hope of sharing our experience with a highly effective project-based teaching method for an embedded system design course. Such course is normally nottaught to students until they are in graduate studies or when they enter industry as professionals;but we have found that using this project-based teaching method, we can teach it to the seniorundergraduate students and so that they are better prepared as entry-level professionals. Weappreciate your consideration of this paper for publication and presentation at the 2013 ASEE. 12

Wang, K. L., & Cole, C. S., & Wang, T., & Harris, J. (2013, June), An Effective Project-Based Embedded System Design Teaching Method Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19174

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