June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Electrical and Computer
15.805.1 - 15.805.11
Introducing hybrid design approach at the undergraduate level
Nowadays, embedded developers are designing their applications using a hybrid approach where the configurable components of the design are implemented in software, and the time critical components are implemented in hardware. Most of the universities, on the other hand, are still teaching these two design approaches separately. A typical electrical and computer engineering (ECE) program includes a class on embedded software design using microcontrollers and a class on hardware design using field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). This paper explains a teaching plan to introduce this hybrid design approach at the undergraduate level. The plan was applied successfully in an elective class at the University of Akron. A similar approach is used in a required course for computer engineering students at the Ohio Northern University. This paper presents the teaching plans and experiences from the two course offerings.
In today’s quickly changing world, staying up-to-date is a recipe for success. Currently, embedded design companies are using a hybrid approach to implement configurable and real- time application. In such approach, the embedded developer can achieve configurability and real- time constraints on a single chip. The configurable components of the design are implemented in software, and the time critical components are implemented in hardware. Field programmable gate array (FPGA) providers such as Alter and Xilinx are offering soft cores for configurable processors1,2. Using these soft cores, the developer can select a processor that best fits his application without paying overhead or sacrificing performance. After building his own version of the configurable processor, the developer adds the hardware components of his design as peripheral devices surrounding the processor but on the same chip. The software part of the design runs on the processor itself. This important design concept can be easily introduced at the undergraduate level by using the teaching plan described in this paper.
There is a continuous expansion of the scope of electrical and computer engineering in the technology-oriented world. This requires the curriculum committees to look at a more efficient and effective means of covering these topics within a four-year undergraduate program to ensure that their graduates are well prepared to excel in the industrial/research world. There is a critical need to provide undergraduate electrical and computer engineering (ECE) students with an experience of studying the tradeoffs of hardware and software implementation in embedded systems3-5. A typical electrical and computer engineering (ECE) program includes a class on embedded software design using microcontrollers6 and a class on hardware design using field programmable gate arrays7. In most universities one or both of these courses are required core courses. Hardware/software co-design approaches have been used at other universities targeting undergraduates and graduate students8-16. This paper explains a teaching plan to introduce this hybrid design approach at the undergraduate level that introduces both these topics in a single course. The plan was applied successfully in an elective class at the University of Akron . A similar approach is used in a required course for computer engineering students at the Ohio
Hassan, F., & Vemuru, S. (2010, June), Introducing Hybrid Design Approach At The Undergraduate Level Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16966
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