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CPLD-Based Design in the Introductory Computer Engineering Course

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Conference Session

Integrating Design in Electrical Engineering Curriculum (1232)

Page Count


Page Numbers

2.117.1 - 2.117.7



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Paper Authors

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David J. Ahlgren Trinity College

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During the last three years the emphasis in ENGR221L--Digital Circuits and Systems, the introductory computer engineering course at Trinity College, has shifted toward the increased use of VHDL and complex programmable logic devices (CPLD's). This evolution has encouraged team projects that employ top-down design and concurrent engineering approaches. Working student designs included a single-chip stepper motor controller, a stimulus-response timer, finite state machines, and several tiny microprocessors. Completed in four weeks, including two or three formal lab sessions, fully operational four-bit microprocessors were designed by student teams each year from 1994-96. These processors each had a sixteen- member instruction set adequate for writing short, but instructive, programs. For example, programs that performed elementary operations on arrays were developed on the 1995 design (CPU221/95), which incorporated immediate, direct, and indexed auto-increment addressing modes.

These successes have shown that students become productive quickly when introduced to a well- integrated tool-set in the first course. Students are able to complete design projects that are not feasible in the available time when attempted using standard chips, and the emphasis in the first course can be shifted away from wiring and troubleshooting toward system-level design.

This paper describes the course and laboratory, presents design projects undertaken in Fall, 1996, and reflects on the results.

Ahlgren, D. J. (1997, June), CPLD-Based Design in the Introductory Computer Engineering Course Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6476

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