Stephen A. Edwards Columbia University Crown
CSEE 4840
Embedded System Design
Spring 2016

General Information

Class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:40 - 3:55 PM in 717 Hamilton.

Mudd 1235 is the lab, which is filled with Linux workstations and FPGA boards. Registered students will receive accounts on these machines and 24-hour badge access to this room.

Do the labs in pairs. Project groups should be three students or more.


Name Email Office hours Location
Prof. Stephen A. Edwards By appt. 462 CSB or 1235 Mudd
David Arthur Thursday 10:30 - 12:30 1235 Mudd
Jaykar Nayeck Wednesday 1:00 - 3:00 1235 Mudd
Adam Incera Thursday 12:30 - 2:30 1235 Mudd


Prerequisites: ELEN E3910 or COMS W3843 or the equivalent. Embedded system architecture and programming. I/O, analog and digital interfacing, and peripherals. Weekly laboratory sessions and term project on design of a microprocessor-based embedded system including at least one custom peripheral. Knowledge of C programming and digital logic required. Lab required.

The goal of this class is to introduce you to issues in hardware/software interfacing, practical microprocessor-based system design issues such as bus protocols and device drivers, and practical digital hardware design using modern logic synthesis tools. You will put all of this to use in the lab where you will be given the opportunity to implement, using a combination of C and the SystemVerilog hardware description langauge, a small embedded system.

This is a lab course done in two parts. During the first part of the class, each student will implement the same "canned" designs designed by the instructor and be given substantial guidance. These are meant as an opportunity for you to learn the development tools and basic concepts. In the second part of the class, you will divide up into teams and each will design and implement a comparable project of their own with guidance from the instructor and TAs.

This course is a capstone in which students will integrate their knowledge of digital logic, programming, and system design to produce a real system. It is intended to complement ELEN 4340, Computer Hardware Design. 4840 focuses more on system-design issues and include a large section on hardware/software integration. Students in 4840 will use gates, processors, peripherals, software, and operating systems as building blocks.


CSEE 3827, Fundamentals of Computer Systems or the equivalent. You must understand digital logic design. Prior experience with hardware description languages, FPGAs, or embedded processors is not required.

COMS 3157, Advanced Programming or the equivalent. Specifically, C programming experience. While 4840 will teach you advanced aspects of embedded C programming, you need to come in with significant C experience.

COMS W4823, Advanced Digital Logic Design. While not a formal prerequisite, you are strongly encouraged to take it. In it, you will learn advanced logic design and HDL coding, both of which are crucial to success in 4840.


Date Lecture Notes Due
Tue Jan 19 Introduction: Embedded Systems
Thu Jan 21 SystemVerilog
Tue Jan 26 "
Thu Jan 28 Memory
Tue Feb 2 Video
Thu Feb 4 Line drawing example
a file
Tue Feb 9 Networking, USB, and Threads
Thu Feb 11 Lab 1 pdf .tar.gz
Tue Feb 16 Hardware/Software Interfaces
Thu Feb 18 The Avalon Bus
Tue Feb 23 Device Drivers
Thu Feb 25 Qsys and IP Core Integration
Lab 2 pdf .tar.gz
Tue Mar 1 Sprite Graphics
Thu Mar 3 Processors, FPGAs, and ASICs
Tue Mar 8 Debugging
Thu Mar 10 Audio Waveforms
Lab 3 pdf .tar.gz .tar.gz
Mar 14-18 Spring Break
Tue Mar 22
Thu Mar 24 Design
Tue Mar 29
Thu Mar 31 Milestone 1
Tue Apr 5
Thu Apr 7
Tue Apr 12 Milestone 2
Thu Apr 14
Tue Apr 19
Thu Apr 21
Tue Apr 26 Milestone 3
Tue Apr 28
May 12 Final Project Presentations

The Project

You'll perform a design-it-yourself project in the second half of the class. There are five deliverables for the project:

  1. A short project proposal describing in broad terms what you plan to build and how you plan to build it
  2. A detailed project design describing in detail the architecture of your project, both hardware and software. This should include block diagrams, memory maps, lists of registers: everything someone else would need to understand your design. You should have done some preliminary implementation work by this point to validate your design.
    Your design document should also a plan of what you intend to complete by each of the three milestones.
  3. Three milestones that you set for yourself: think of 25%, 50%, and 75% completion
  4. A presentation on your project to the class
  5. A final project report

Project groups should be three students or more.

The Project Report

This is a critical part of the project and will be a substantial fraction of the grade.

Include the following sections:

  1. An overview of your project: a revised version of your project proposal.
  2. The detailed project design documents: a revised version of the project design.
  3. A section listing who did what and what lessons you learned and advice for future projects
  4. Complete listings of every file you wrote for the project. Include C source, SystemVerilog source, and things such as .mhs files. Don't include any file that was generated automatically.

Include all of this in a single .pdf file (don't print it out).

Also create a .tar.gz file (see the online documentation for the `tar' program to see how to create such a file. Briefly, create a file called `myfile' with the names of all the files you want to include in the archive and run tar zcf project.tar.gz `cat myfiles` to create the archive.) that just includes the files necessary to build your project, such as I did for the labs.


Bombermen: Two-player Bomberman Gmame (AI)
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation ArchiveFiles
Hanyi Du, Murui Li, Wantong Li, and Yichun Deng
Boxing: Game (SE)
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport Powerpoint FilePresentation ArchiveFiles
Jiaqi Gua
CU-Racing: Game (JN)
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation ArchiveFiles
Chandan Kanungo, Raghavendra Sirigeri Hanumesh, Robert Kettlewell, and Shikhar Kwatra
Cellular: Cellular Automata Simulator (AI)star
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation ArchiveFiles
James Olsen, Jeffrey Tao, Priscilla Wang, Robert Viramontes, and Serena Shah-Simpson
Chip8: Game Language Emulator (SE)star
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation ArchiveFiles
Ashley Kling, David Watkins, Gabrielle Taylor, and Levi Oliver
Crops: Tower Defense Game (SE)
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation ArchiveFiles
Ao Li, Chenli Yuan, Dingyu Yao, and Liang Zhang
DGEsc: Dungeon Escape Game (AI)
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation ArchiveFiles
Shengjia Zhang, Xiaoqing Yong, Yi Wu, and Yuxin Yang
FOREX: High-speed foreign exchange trading (DA)star
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation ArchiveFiles
Graham Gobieski, Kevin Kwan, Shang Liu, and Ziyi Zhu
FPGgram: Image rendering (JN)
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation
Diana Valverde-Paniagua and Tonye Brown
Gestures: Gesture Recognition (JN)
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation ArchiveFiles
Avinash Nair, Jerry Barona, and Manushree Gangwar
JARVIS: Adaptive Noise Cancellation (JN)
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation ArchiveFiles
Ashwin Karthik Tamilselvan, Gikku Stephen Geephilip, Richa Glenn Netto, and Rishikanth Chandrasekaran
JPEG: JPEG Compression Engine (DA)
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation ArchiveFiles
Nan Zhao, Song Wang, Xinyi Chang, and Yuxiang Chen
Jumpers: Plaform game (AI)
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation ArchiveFiles
Bernardo De Almeida Abreu, Henrique Pizzol Grando, Lucas Ikenaga Barros, and Tomas Mantelato
Switch-ON: Network Switch Demonstrator (DA)star
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation ArchiveFiles
Ayush Jain, Donovan Chan, and Shivam Choudhary
Tetris: Game (DA)
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation ArchiveFiles
Benjie Tong, Weipeng Dang, Yanbo Zou, and Yiran Tao
Whac-a-mole: Game (SE)
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation ArchiveFiles
Aditya Bagri, Astha Agrawal, Georgios Charitos, and Jai Sharma
nes-pacs: NES Emulator (SE)
pdfProposal pdfDesign pdfReport pdfPresentation ArchiveFiles
Akira Baruah, Chaiwen Chou, Philip Schiffrin, and Sean Liu

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Other References

Recommended Texts

Mark Zwolinski.
Digital System Design with SystemVerilog.
Prentice-Hall, 2010.

SystemVerilog is relatively new, so there are not too many books out there for it. This is one of the better ones. It focuses on the sythesizable subset of the language and also discusses test benches. Examples, etc., are available from the Author's web site..

Cover of Digital System Design with SystemVerilog

James K. Peckol.
Embedded Systems: A Contemporary Design Tool.
Wiley, 2008.

Many embedded system books are too idiosyncratic or incomplete for my taste, but this one does a nice job covering everything from digital circuit design to interprocess communication in real-time operating systems. It only discusses the Verilog language and only in an appendix.

Cover of Embedded Systems: A Contemporary Design Tool


Class Policies

Grading 30% Labs
10% Milestone 1
15% Milestone 2
20% Milestone 3
25% Final Report and presentation
Late Policy Zero credit for anything handed in after it is due without explicit approval of the instructor.
Collaboration Policy Work in pairs on the labs. You may consult others, but do not copy files or data. You may collaborate with anybody on the project, but must cite sources if you use code.

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