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Creating A Realistic Embedded Systems Design Experience For Computer Engineers

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Conference

2005 Annual Conference

Location

Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Electrical & Computer Engineering Poster Session

Page Count

8

Page Numbers

10.362.1 - 10.362.8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/14632

Download Count

16

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Paper Authors

author page

Michael Morrow

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

Session 1532

Creating a Realistic Embedded Systems Design Experience for Computer Engineers

Michael G. Morrow Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI

Abstract

This paper chronicles the author’s experiences in designing and implementing a capstone computer engineering design course to incorporate state of the art technology. Often, these design courses are forced to one of two extremes - one, using simpler technologies to facili- tate student fabrication and testing, since modern devices in ’student friendly’ packages are becoming less and less available, or two, using complex, state-of-the-art devices but at a high level of abstraction to make them accessible to students. In redesigning our embedded systems design course, we wanted to ensure that our students worked with the state of the art (i.e. current microprocessors, standard interfaces and current technology I/O devices, real-time operating systems, application and device driver software development, and hard- ware description languages), but that they still did actual hardware design and fabrication. We wanted students to have independence in the selection of projects, but had to ensure a uniform level of support. Finally, we had to ensure that this presented our students with a reasonably achievable design effort, and that they would have a good opportunity for success. This somewhat daunting set of goals was in fact achieved through a strategy that incorporated team design, parallel establishment of specialized ’expert teams’, partnership with industry, and the establishment of a hardware/software infrastructure that helped students succeed at these new and unfamiliar tasks. The paper describes the faculty effort required in prepara- tion for and during this course, the particulars of the implementation, and how the course has evolved over several years. The methods, mechanisms, and lessons learned that are described here may be helpful to others contemplating a similar course, or those anticipating a revision to an existing computer engineering design course.

1 Introduction

Typically, computer engineering design courses are forced to use outdated and/or simpler technolo- gies in order to facilitate student fabrication and testing, since modern devices in ’student friendly’ packages are not readily available. We made a radical shift in methodology when redesigning our embedded systems design course. This was done to expose our students to a realistic design en- vironment. In particular, we wanted to ensure that our students worked with more modern tools and concepts while ensuring that they still did actual hardware design and fabrication. These tools and concepts include more complex state of the art microprocessors, standard interfaces and current technology I/O devices, real-time operating systems, application and device driver software development, and hardware description languages. However, we also had to ensure that this presented our students with a reasonably achievable design effort and that they would have a good opportunity for success. This somewhat daunting set of goals was in fact achieved through a

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright c 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Morrow, M. (2005, June), Creating A Realistic Embedded Systems Design Experience For Computer Engineers Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/14632

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