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Introducing Information Technology Students to Cyber-Physical Systems Using a Lab Experience

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Conference

2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Embedded Systems and Mobile Computing

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Page Count

10

Page Numbers

23.818.1 - 23.818.10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/19832

Download Count

23

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Paper Authors

biography

Richard G. Helps Brigham Young University

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Richard Helps is an associate professor in the Information Technology Program at BYU. He has research interests in embedded systems, human-computer interaction and curriculum design. He is a member off ASEE, IEEE, IEEE-CS, ACM-SIGITE and an ABET PEV for Information Technology.

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Scott Pack

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Abstract

Cyber-­‐Physical  Systems  (CPS),  or  embedded  computers,  is  not  traditionally  emphasized  in  Information  Technology  (IT)  majors.  However  the  continuous  evolution  of  these  systems  is  including  more  and  more  topics  that  are  of  fundamental  interest  to  IT  majors.  Some  key  areas  include  networking,  security  and  human-­‐computer  interaction.  They  are  also  evolving  into  large,  heterogeneous  distributed  systems  requiring  significant  integrative  design  skills  to  implement  successfully;  another  area  of  interest  to  IT  designers.  In  addition  to  including  multiple  aspects  of  interest  to  IT,  CPS  is  rapidly  growing  to  take  ever-­‐larger  portions  of  the  overall  computing  market.        A  new  lab  experience  has  been  designed  for  first-­‐year  IT  students  to  introduce  them  to  CPS  concepts,  with  an  emphasis  on  IT  aspects  of  the  field.  Two  ideas  were  addressed  by  the  lab  experience.  Firstly  that  CPS  systems  have  significant  difference  from  conventional  computer  systems  and  secondly  that  there  are  important  design  issues  relating  these  systems  to  core  IT  topics.  Lists  of  CPS  concepts  were  developed  and  a  subset  of  the  concepts  were  included  in  a  lab  experience  for  the  students.  The  lab  experience  uses  a  microcontroller  system  that  interacts  with  the  real  world  using  analog  and  digital  sensors  and  then  presents  information  through  a  web-­‐page.  The  simple  web  page  is  hosted  by  a  web-­‐server  on  the  microcontroller,  which  illustrates  both  the  capability  and  the  limitations  of  a  typical  CPS  system.  The  lab  demonstration  also  includes  interaction  with  a  tablet  over  Wi-­‐Fi  and  thus  illustrates  a  clear  linkage  of  the  simple  system  to  the  whole  Internet,  with  all  that  such  a  linkage  implies  for  IT  design.  Thus  the  students  experience  several  aspects  of  CPS  and  are  encouraged  to  develop  cognitive  relationships  between  CPS  and  IT.  Details  of  the  lab  design  are  included  in  the  paper.      Pre-­‐  and  post-­‐assessment  tests  were  carried  out  to  evaluate  the  degree  of  student  understanding  of  both  the  lab  concepts  and  their  relationship  between  IT  and  CPS.    Proposals  and  justification  for  including  CPS  as  part  of  an  IT  curriculum  are  presented.  

Helps, R. G., & Pack, S. (2013, June), Introducing Information Technology Students to Cyber-Physical Systems Using a Lab Experience Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19832

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