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Worldwide Digital Design Contest: A Decade of Development and Success Developing Students’ Hardware and Software Skills

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

General Technical Session

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1775.1 - 26.1775.15



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Paper Authors


Mihaela Radu SUNY Farmingdale State College

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Dr. Mihaela Radu received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, in 2000 and the M. Eng. degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Before joining the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology at Farmingdale State College in 2012, Dr. Radu was a faculty member of the Applied Electronics Department at The Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Indiana and R@D engineer for The Institute of Scientific Research for Automation and Telecommunications, Bucharest Romania.
Over the past ten years she taught several undergraduate and graduate courses on Electronic Components and Circuits, Digital Design, Design of Fault Tolerant Systems and Testing of Digital Systems. Her current research interest includes Reliability and Fault Tolerance of Electronic Systems, Programmable Logic Devices and new educational methods teaching digital system design and analog electronics, emphasizing “hands-on” experiences and project-based-learning. She has over sixty publications in peer reviewed conference and journals and she was member, PI or CO-PI of several multidisciplinary research grants, sponsored by the European Union, NSF and industry. She is an IEEE member and chair of IEEE WIE, Long Island section.

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Clint S. Cole Digilent, Inc.


Mircea Alexandru Dabacan Technical University of Cluj-Napoca

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1979-1984: five year engineering program at Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Department of Electronics and Telecommunications, Polytechnic Institute in Cluj-Napoca.
1998: PhD in Electronics,Technical University of Cluj-Napoca
Professional Experience:
1984-1986: Design Engineer at IEIA Cluj-Napoca, Romania,
1986-1991: Research Engineer at IPA Cluj-Napoca, Romania,
1991-present: Faculty member at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania (professor since 2004)
Managerial Experience:
2006 - present, General Manager of Digilent RO
International Experience:
1999-2000, Visiting Professor at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA.

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Monica Ignat Bot Digilent

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She graduated from Technical University of Cluj-Napoca Romania, Electronics major, in 2009 and has been with Digilent for 5 years.
She organized five of the European Regionals of the Digital Design Contest in the past years.

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Alex Wong Digilent, Inc.

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Joe Harris Digilent, Inc.

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Worldwide Digital Design Contest: A Decade of Development and SuccessAbstractWith the publication of The Engineer of 2020: Visions of engineering in the New Century, TheNational Academy of Engineering (NAE) Committee on Engineering Education (CEE) aimedto identify the opportunities and challenges for the 21th century, anticipating and shaping thefuture practice of engineering, the characteristics of the engineering workforce and theireducation. To enhance the nation’s economic productivity and improve the quality of lifeworldwide, engineering education in the United States must anticipate and adapt to the dramaticchanges of engineering practice. Engineering schools should attract the best and brighteststudents and be open to new teaching and training approaches.College graduates should be prepared to work in culturally diverse workplaces, work acrossnational borders and understand global challenges.According to published reports, looking at particular skills and attributes needed for engineers,top priorities in terms of future skills will be: practical applications, theoretical understandingand creativity and innovation. Creativity is an essential tool required to flourish within the everchanging contemporary world, so educators have a responsibility to develop students’ creativitycapacity.As the complexity of microelectronic systems is steadily increasing, universities must updatetheir curricula to cope with the increased demands of research and development required inindustry. Continual advances in technology necessitate on-going updates and modifications toexisting digital design teaching methods and computer-based tools, in order to reinforcestudents’ technical and practical knowledge, to better prepare them for the industry’s needs.Trying to address the above mentioned issues, instructors at different universities in Europe,USA and Asia gradually joined forces, organizing regional, national and global Digital DesignContests, open to students enrolled in different majors such as: Electrical and ComputerEngineering, Electronics and Telecommunications, Mechatronics, Computer Science,Engineering Technology Programs, etc. Students enter the competition with original and creativeprojects, following the contest rules, established by representatives from industry and academia.Competitions at all the schools, located in different countries and on different continents havebeen sponsored by________ and_________.This paper focuses on evaluating the results of a decade of development and success organizingDigital Design Contest at the regional, national and worldwide level, with an emphasis onstudents’ perception as an alternative learning experience and “lessons learned”. Trends on thestudent’s selection of computer based platforms, software and CAD tools, project topicpreferences will be presented also. The logistics and challenges of the competitions will beanalyzed, and plans regarding the future of the regional and worldwide competitions will bepresented.

Radu, M., & Cole, C. S., & Dabacan, M. A., & Ignat Bot, M., & Wong, A., & Harris, J. (2015, June), Worldwide Digital Design Contest: A Decade of Development and Success Developing Students’ Hardware and Software Skills Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.25111

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