June 15, 1997
June 15, 1997
June 18, 1997
2.467.1 - 2.467.6
Using Commercial EDA Software in Computer Engineering
Robert F. Hodson, David C. Doughty Christopher Newport University
Christopher Newport University (CNU) has standardized on the Cadence EDA (Electronic Design Automation) tools for its new Computer Engineering curriculum. This choice was based on our experiences with EDA tools and carries with it both advantages and disadvantages. This paper will discuss many of the issues associated with using commercial tools in the classroom and also describe how we are using the Cadence tools at CNU.
Pros and Cons of Commercial EDA Tools Some of the Pros and Cons of commercial EDA tools are summarized in Table 1.
Pros Cons Real World Exposure Steep Learning Curve Engineering Quality Products Requires High End Workstation Environment Common User Interface for all Tools Requires Systems Administration Support Annual Upgrades Annual Fee Hotline Product Support Available Training Support Table 1: Pros and Cons of Commercial EDA Tools Problems with commercial EDA tools typically fall into two categories; those associated with systems administration and those associated with the learning curve the student encounters. Administrative problems can be solved with appropriate levels of funding. To successfully use commercial tools like the Cadence products, a high-end workstation laboratory with enough seats to support engineering courses is required. Although it is possible to run these Cadence tools on a Sparc II, it is recommended that as least a Sparc 5 is used with 32MB of memory. The laboratory will require systems administration for maintenance and software upgrades. Cadence provides CNU with regular upgrades as part of our annual agreement which costs $5,000/year. Users should plan regular upgrades to keep current with EDA technology, but be careful not to upgrade during the semester in case something goes wrong.
The learning curve problem can be solved by spreading out the use of EDA tools throughout the curriculum. We expose students to schematic capture and simple analog and digital simulations at the sophomore level. Advance use of the tools occurs in junior and senior level courses. This incremental approach reduces student frustrations, but requires professors teaching different courses to cooperate in the use of EDA tools. A benefit of using the tools in multiple courses is the reinforcement the students get. Since the design framework is common for all the tools, exposure to the framework occurs over and over again as students take courses. Students do not have to learn a completely new system for each class, for example the same schematic capture system is used for both the analog and digital design courses.
Hodson, R. F., & Doughty, D. C. (1997, June), Using Commercial Eda Software In Computer Engineering Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. https://peer.asee.org/6870
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