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Laboratory For The Introductory Digital Course

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.421.1 - 5.421.10

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Paper Authors

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Otto Fucik

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Michael McKenna

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Bogdan M. Wilamowski

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

Laboratory for the Introductory Digital Course Otto Fucik, Penn State University at Erie Bodgan Wilamowski, University of Wyoming Michael McKenna, University of Wyoming

Abstract This lab entails practical studying and designing of simple logic gates, combinational logic circuits (adders, multiplexers, decoders, etc.), memory elements (flip-flops), and sequential logic circuits (state machines). The student will design, build, and use his/her own logic circuits. Logic designs will be done using computer-aided design (CAD) tools and implemented using complex programmable logic devices (CPLD). In this laboratory, digital logic circuits will be designed and implemented using the Foundation Series Software and the XC95108PC84 CPLD from Xilinx, Inc. In the later part of the course, students are introduced to VHDL hardware descriptive language.

I. Introduction

The digital course is a required course in all electrical and computer engineering curricula [1][2]. Often this course is also required for the computer science majors. Laboratory is always an essential part of this course [3][4]. The content of this course is constantly being modified. Several years ago the concept of the PLD was introduced [3][5]. HDL is now being introduced into the digital design courses [6][7]. The digital design course at the university of Wyoming is offered in the second semester of the sophomore year, for both electrical engineering and computer science majors. Electrical engineers have already completed the circuits course, while computer scientists have no hardware background, but they are already introduced to the concept of binary systems. In the past, several different design tools were used such as B2L, PLDesign, and VeriBest. This software is executed on the Microsoft Windows platform. The Unix base design tools were also considered but the cost was too high and these tools were too complex for the introductory digital course. The primary goal of this course is to excite students about digital design. This course starts basically without any prerequisite (the formal prerequisite is the Calculus class, but no information form calculus is required). At the end of the class students are capable of designing relatively large digital circuits with a design complexity greater than 1000 gates and they are able to implement their own design into a silicon chip. This is possible because of extensive usage of various CAD programs, which are part of the XILINX Foundation Series package. Students leave the course with the satisfaction that they have learned something.

II. Software and Laboratory Equipments

Choice of Software The laboratory is now developed using Xilinx Foundation Series software and a specially developed printed circuit board to program and operate the XC95108PC84 CPLD chip. The Xilinx Foundation Series software has almost all features needed for this introductory digital laboratory, such as:

Fucik, O., & McKenna, M., & Wilamowski, B. M. (2000, June), Laboratory For The Introductory Digital Course Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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