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Rethinking Embedded Microprocessor Education

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.861.1 - 6.861.6

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Paper Authors

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Wayne Wolf

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

Session #1432

Rethinking Embedded Microprocessor Education Wayne Wolf Department of Electrical Engineering Princeton University


This paper considers the changing role of microprocessor-based systems courses in the curriculum and in practice. Advances in microprocessor and VLSI technology have greatly expanded the role of the microprocessor in a variety of systems applications; they have also caused the complexity of embedded microprocessor sys- tems to increase. The new demands put on microprocessors requires new design techniques. We survey technological trends, discuss their implications for embedded systems education, and dis- cuss our experience with a new embedded systems course at Princ- eton University.

1 Introduction Microprocessors have been embedded in systems for almost thirty years. However, embedded system design is only now being recognized as a separate discipline. Our basic approach to teach- ing students about microprocessor-based systems took form in the early days of microprocessors. However, microprocessor technology and the science of microprocessor-based system design has evolved quite a bit since then. This paper describes our experiments with new approaches to embedded systems education that attempt to meet the challenge posed by advanced microproces- sors, systems, and applications. An earlier paper by myself and Jan Madsen1 described a short course we taught at the Danish Technical University; this paper concentrates on a later course that I taught at Princeton Univer- siyt. The next section surveys the traditional approaches to microprocessor-related courses. Section 3 describes the technological trends that drive changes in embedded system design. Section 4 discusses how those technological trends affect microprocessor system design courses. Section 5 describes the evolution of our microprocessor-based system courses at Princeton.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education

Wolf, W. (2001, June), Rethinking Embedded Microprocessor Education Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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