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Computer Architecture Education And Research Involving Reconfigurable Hardware Platform

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Curriculum in Telecommunications Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.303.1 - 15.303.12



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Paper Authors


Muhammad Hasan Texas A&M University

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Muhammad Zafrul Hasan received the B.Sc. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. He received the Master of Electronic Engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands) under a Philips postgraduate scholarship program. He subsequently held several faculty positions in an engineering college and in a university in Malaysia. He obtained the Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology. He was awarded the NJIT Hashimoto Fellowship in the academic year 2005-06. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at TAMU. His research interests include the design, implementation, and testing of dynamically reconfigurable computing systems, performance evaluation of computer architectures, and behavioral synthesis and testing of digital systems.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Computer Architecture Education and Research Involving Reconfigurable Hardware Platform

Abstract Computer Architecture and Organization deals with both software and hardware aspects of computer systems. This is important both for a programmer and a system designer. Due to their wide spread penetration in all fields, it is almost obligatory for students in Electrical, Computer, and Telecommunication engineering programs to master the basics of these two areas. Although a typical microprocessor programming course covers the architecture part of it, organization of systems is not widely addressed. Memory interfacing and expansion techniques, cache memory organization, memory management unit for virtual memory organization, alternative ways of processor design, fast arithmetic circuits are some topics covered under organization. The purpose, concept, and design of these system elements can be covered in a lecture class whereas their hardware implementation can be supported in a laboratory environment. The laboratory exercises would certainly enhance experiential learning of the students. However, choosing a suitable platform to accommodate the laboratory exercises is challenging as it needs to satisfy peculiar needs of different types of designs. Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) provide a flexible hardware platform to accommodate digital systems. FPGAs, such as the ones provided by Xilinx, are quite useful in applications requiring hardware changes to accommodate system behavior. As such, these devices offer the opportunity to implement different computer system components conveniently in hardware using VHDL (Very high speed integrated circuit Hardware Description Language). FPGAs can be easily reconfigured to evaluate alternative design approaches often encountered in computer systems. With such implementation data, more complex models can be formulated and simulated to predict and evaluate system performance. Thus, such a reconfigurable platform also enables architecture and organization research. This paper presents an outline of a course covering concepts and implementation of computer system elements, associated laboratory exercises involving reconfigurable logic, and course related research with simulation results.

Introduction Motivation and rationale: In order to enhance students’ learning in engineering programs, it is important to provide them with engaging laboratory and continuous assessment of learning outcomes 1, 2. Also, providing examples and teaching subject matter through student-centered approaches ensure effective student learning 3. These approaches promote activities valued by industry that encourage active student participation in the learning process 4, 5. Moreover, it is also important for the students to be exposed to the open-ended nature of design problems 6. These facts emphasize strong cohesion between the materials covered in a lecture class and its associated laboratory activities 7. In addition to this, students need to appreciate the practice of design trade-offs among several competing requirements 8. Limitation of traditional courses: Normally a course covering computer architecture and organization uses built hardware as the platform that has little configurability for laboratory exercises 9, 10. Hardware is programmed in either a high level language or processor specific

Hasan, M. (2010, June), Computer Architecture Education And Research Involving Reconfigurable Hardware Platform Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16199

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