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Elective Courses: Software Engineering

Embedded Systems

Embedded Systems


A huge number of computers are employed off the desktop. Cell phones, TVs, stereos, cars, even toaster ovens contain processors and the software necessary to drive them. Often the hardware and software environment has different requirements and constraints from typical desktop computing. This course will provide an overview of the important HW/SW issues for embedded systems.


First 2 years core classes (OS, algor, computer architecture,)


Hardware Environment

    • Computation: Microcontrollers/processors/DSPs: (3 weeks)

Highlight important differences between desktop processors: Power consumption, cost, time deterministic, code density, word size.

    • Storage: Memory Devices (1 week)


    • Communication: Interfacing (2 weeks)

Standard buses(PCI,VME), serial links, A/D&D/A, infrared

Software Environment

    • Real-Time (2 weeks)

Soft/Hard Deadlines, RT kernels, Critical Sections

    • Code/Data Density (2week)

Tricks to reduce code and data size. Data size-precision-accuracy, Small algorithms vs fast algorithms.

    • Safety Critical/Redundancy (2 week)
    • Power Management (2 weeks)

Energy Reduction in SW. OS issues: managing power resources.

    • Image/Speech/Video Processing (4 weeks)

Intro. to signal processing. Low-level image processing. Compression/decompression, filtering, enhancing, recognition

Suggested Texts

Handouts, class notes.


PC used for all assignments. Free or donated software, simulators, tools.


Assessment of Embedded Systems


How to Evaluate

How to Measure

Understand Embedded HW environment

Project (individual): example: Develop SW for home security system (simulated).

Project Success

Learn RT SW engineering, Media processing

Project (group): example: Develop SW for hand-held videophone (simulated).

Demonstration & Questions, Project Success, Written Report

Others: safety, protocols, power, density