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ECEN 2120

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ECEN 2120

Computers as Components


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Lecture schedule: MWF 3:00-3:50 KOBL 300

Lab schedule: TR ECEE 282

Review slides (pdf) Old Final (pdf) Quiz V, Apr. 23th, 3:00-3:50PM. This quiz covers cache design. (Quiz 5 solutions)

Install MC68000 simulator HOWTO: (instructions)

A good MC68000 simulator: (EASy68K)

Final exam: May 6th 10:30AM-1:00PM. No calculator. You can bring the following instruction summary sheet to the exam (Instruction Set).

Office hours: Wednesday, 1-3pm



Computers appear as components in many different kinds of systems, such as watches, MP3 players, cell phones, digital timers, anti-lock braking systems, and traffic light controllers. The reasons are economic: processors are cheap to manufacture, and much of the complexity of a system can be buried in software. This strategy enhances long-term reliability by reducing the number of individual components and the complexity of their interconnection, and provides flexibility by replacing hard-to-change hardware with easy-to-change software.

Every engineer needs to understand the ways in which computers can be used as system components, and to appreciate their capabilities and limitations. After taking this course, a student should have:

  • An understanding of one machine architecture and its associated assembly language.
  • Familiarity with the use of computers as system components.
  • An ability to cast solutions to problems in terms of a mix of hardware and software.

The course is built around a laboratory in which students use computers to sense and control aspects of their surroundings. Readings present basic information about the computer's architecture and the available pathways for interaction between the computer and its environment. Homework problems focus attention on parts of the designs that may prove tricky in practice, and laboratory sessions provide the opportunity for discussion of these points and practice to master the necessary concepts.

An elementary programming course, or equivalent programming experience, is required before attempting ECEN 2120. Experience with either the C or C++ programming language is useful, but Pascal or FORTRAN is also acceptable. The criteria are that you understand the concepts of programming, are familiar with one imperative programming language, and are able to cast solutions to problems in terms of algorithms.


Instructor Revision 1.67 (2007/08/27 00:15:38)