June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.1102.1 - 10.1102.9
Selection of Processor, Language, and Labs in Introductory Microprocessor/Microcontroller Courses Harold L. Broberg, Elizabeth Thompson Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Abstract: The hardware and software used in introductory microprocessor/microcontroller courses in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) and in electrical and computer engineering technology (ECET) curricula is of general interest to faculty in these disciplines. Information on processors, languages, and laboratories used in teaching fifteen ECE and eleven ECET courses was collected using university/college syllabi and other material available via the Internet. The choices made are presented in tables and similarities and differences between and among the two disciplines are discussed. The result is a comparison of the material taught in introductory embedded processor courses.
Introduction: An introduction to microprocessors (uP’s), microcontrollers (uC’s), or embedded computing is an essential part of ECE, ECET and other similar curricula. Four, eight, and sixteen bit embedded processors are ubiquitous in modern life and the billions used annually far exceeds the number of 32/64 bit general purpose processors used in desktop and portable computers. Embedded computing devices are built into essential devices such as automotive airbags, appliances, cell phones, and security systems. They are also included in widely used items such as remote controls, handheld tools, PDA’s, motor controls, computer peripherals, and educational and entertainment devices. While their importance is well established, selection of the device(s) to be taught in introductory university courses is problematic because of the plethora of available choices. For instance, the most used embedded controllers are 8-bit devices; however, these often control peripherals or are connected to higher capacity processors in networks. As the capability of an embedded processor increases, the amount of available memory increases and higher level languages are used more often for programming. Thus, the selection of a processor is linked to selection of the programming language used in teaching the fundamentals of embedded computing. Introductory courses may teach assembly language for the particular processor or a high level language, such as “C”, which is generally available, with libraries, for most uP/uC’s. The many types of hardware available for interfacing with embedded processors, such as sensors, displays, keypads, and interface busses also make selection of laboratory exercises for an introductory course challenging.
With this in mind, information was sought concerning introductory courses in microprocessors, microcontrollers, or embedded computing. Internet sites containing sufficient information were found for fifteen introductory engineering courses and eleven introductory engineering technology courses. This survey, while not comprehensive,
Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2005, American Society for Engineering Education
Thompson, E., & Broberg, H. (2005, June), Selection Of Embedded Processor, Language, And Interfacing Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/15135
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