35152 - Hardware-software design of embedded systems M

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The main goal of the class is to provide an overview on the methods for designing, validating and verifying complex embedded electronic systems. The importance of software components in virtually all electronic systems will be emphasized. Thus, special focus will be given to hardware-software co-design methods and tools. The most common Hw-Sw co-design approaches used in industry (telecom, automotive, industrial automation) will be surveyed in details. At the end of the course students have a good insight of embedded systems, their technologies and a deep understanding of Hw-Sw co-design aspects.

Course contents

Part 1 – System-on-chip (SoC) hardware design – fundamental concepts exemplified on reconfigurable SoCs (Xilinx Zynq)

  • Hardware design Languages (HDLs) and their use to specify and implement combinational and sequential circuits. The main concepts are exemplified though the use of the SystemVerilog HDL
  • Hardware design flow and tools – Synthesis, simulation, verification. The main concepts are illustrated with examples using commercial electronic design automation (EDA) tools
  • IP-based design – building a design from pre-designed components.
Part 2 – Microcontroller systems design – Hardware and Software
  • Microcontroller architecture based on the ARM Cortex M family. Microcontroller peripherals. Microcontroller programming for maximum Energy efficiency
  • Analog and Digital sensor interfaces, MEMS sensors – Smart sensors – Wireless sensor Networks. System power management
Part 3 – Parallel Architecture and Parallel programming for advanced embedded systems
  • Multicore architectures and their use in energy efficient embedded Systems with examples from consumer and industrial market segments based on the ARMv8 instruction set (Cortex A family).
  • Programming shared memory multicore systems using the OpenMP programming model – with practical examples based on multicore development boards (e.g. Tega's Jetson)


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Teaching methods

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Assessment methods

Written exam and Oral exam

Oral Exam

Project activity and oral discussion

Teaching tools

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Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Luca Benini