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Use of a CPLD in an Introductory Logic Circuits Course

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Computer Hardware and Simulation

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1288.1 - 23.1288.14



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Paper Authors

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Krista M Hill University of Hartford


Ying Yu University of Hartford

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Dr. Ying Yu received the B.Eng. degree from Fudan University in Shanghai, China, in 2000. She received the M.Eng. degree and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Brown University in 2003 and 2007, respectively. Since 2008, she has been teaching as an assistant professor of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Hartford. Her current research interests includes audio and speech signal processing, bowel sound detection, speaker identification and verification, and teaching with new educational methods, which includes peer instruction, personal response systems, video games, and state-of-the-art CAD tools.

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Use of a CPLD in an Introductory Logic Circuits CourseAbstractWe recently successfully adopted a programmable logic devices (PLD) in our introductorylogic circuits course at [University Name]. While we have long used PLDs in advancedcourses, their widespread acceptance demands that such devices be introduced earlier in theelectrical and computer engineering curriculum. We selected the complex programmable logicdevice (CPLD) for our introductory course, as this is a modern device involving CAD tools,and also is amenable to hands-on activities. Our students use a CPLD module, which is aCPLD mounted on an adapter, along with a classic breadboard. We found that as such, theCPLD is identifiable to students, and that with modest wiring they can construct demonstrativecircuits that they feel are satisfying and engaging.This paper outlines our more recent experience, further developing our use of the CPLD in ourintroductory logic circuits course. Our course follows the traditional lecture and laboratoryformat. Following our prior experience, we integrated CPLD topics and simulation softwaredeeper into the course. New lecture material was developed, along with entirely newhomework content, making use of the CAD tools. New laboratory content was also developed,to make use of these principles.In prior semesters, propagation delay and the more analog side of logic circuits were presentedin the context of TTL devices. We have since developed material to introduce these sametopics in the context of our CPLD module. We have students investigate CPLD propagationdelay on two different occasions, early in the course and later on near the end of the course.First, to avoid the complexities of the CAD software, in lab our students use a CPLD modulepreconfigured with simple gates, along with a breadboard and wires, to construct a simple logiccircuit. As such, to consider the delay of a gate, students only need to know the pin to pin delayof the CPLD. Later in the course, the device timing model provides a means for students tobetter understand propagation delay within the device and how a design is actuallyimplemented in a CPLD.Medium scale integration (MSI) devices such as decoders, multiplexers, and counters areimportant topics. TTL MSI devices each integrate into a single chip, the functionality providedby networks of small-scale integration (SSI) parts, such as gates and flip-flops. As with TTLMSI device integration, our CAD tools support a technique called hierarchy, in which studentsintegrate lower level functionality, into their own MSI like symbols, that they can use in theirown schematics.Given the potentially wide reaching impact on the curriculum, we are taking this change toprogrammable logic devices in our introductory logic circuits course, in steps. For our priorexperience, few changes were made to the actual course content. For our recent experience, wedeveloped entirely new lecture and course content, our tutorial material was expanded, and weused student feedback to assess our results. In addition We are most concerned that ourstudents have meaningful experiences in the laboratory and lecture components of the course.In this paper we also present our future plans.

Hill, K. M., & Yu, Y. (2013, June), Use of a CPLD in an Introductory Logic Circuits Course Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22673

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