EECS 373: Embedded Systems Design & Implementation

(a.k.a. "Design of Microprocessor-Based Systems")



  • 12/19/2015: Extra Credit link posted, due: 12/23/2015.
  • 11/09/2015: Special Topics Presentation assignment posted, due: 11/23/2015.
  • 10/30/2015: Project Ideas posted.
  • 10/28/2015: Interrupt Notes posted.
  • 10/27/2015: Serial Notes posted.
  • 10/27/2015: RC Circuit Review posted.
  • 10/12/2015: HW # 5 posted, due: 10/23/2015. Note: This is the practice midterm as well.
  • 09/28/2015: HW # 4 posted part 1 and part 2, due: 10/5/2015.
  • 09/23/2015: HW # 3 updated, due: 9/28/2015.
  • 09/21/2015: HW # 3 posted, due: 9/28/2015.
  • 09/14/2015: HW # 2 posted, due: 9/21/2015.
  • 09/09/2015: HW # 1 posted, due: 9/14/2015.
  • 09/09/2015: Welcome to EECS 373!

Course Administrivia

  EECS 373, Fall 2015, 4 Units, CN: 10453
Instructional Staff:
  Prabal Dutta (Instructor) → OH: Wed, 4-5pm (4773 BBB)
  Matt Smith (Lab Instructor)
  Pat Pannuto (GSI) → OH: Mon/Wed, 10-11am, EECS Learning Center (1637 BBB)
  John Connolly (IA)
  Seth Goldstein (IA)
  Alex Laberge (IA)
  Miguel Argueta-Leon (Grader)
  Yun Chan Han (Grader)
  1690 BBB
  Mon/Wed: 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
  2334 EECS
  Tue: 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM (CN: 10454)
  Wed: 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM (CN: 10455)
  Thu: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM (CN: 10456)

Course Description

This class is focused on the principles and practices of modern embedded systems design. In class, we will focus on computer architecture beyond the CPU, fundamentals of the hardware/software interface, techniques for sensing and controlling the physical world, and a few other topics. New this term, we will also introduce the Intel Edison IoT platform as an alternate platform for some assignments and projects. In lab, we will focus on the ARM Cortex-M3, Actel FPGAs, and other supporting hardware, to learn how to design, build, and program embedded systems. Labs during the first half of the course will focus on essential topics. The second half of the course will focus on the design and implementation of non-trivial, open-ended project involving both hardware and software. The labs and project will require a substantial amount of time -- this is a lab-intensive class with a heavy workload.

Syllabus (Tentative)

Week Date Topic Lead(s) Labs/Homeworks
1 Sep 9 Introduction (PPT) Dutta Lab # 1 : Hardware Tools
HW # 1 : Comb & Seq Logic Design
ARM System Architecture
2 Sep 14 Arch, Assembly, ABI (PPT) updated Dutta Lab # 2 : Software Tools
HW # 2 : Programming Linked Lists
Sep 16 Assembly, ABI, Toolchains (PPT) cont. Dutta
3 Sep 21 MMIO and Busses (PPT) Dutta Lab # 3 : Memory-Mapped I/O
HW # 3 : ARM Assembly
Sep 23 Memory/Peripheral Bus: AMBA (PPT) Dutta
4 Sep 28 Interrupts (PPT) Dutta Lab # 4 : Interrupts
HW # 4 : Programming w/ Pointers & followup
Sep 30 Interrupts (cont), ARM NVIC (PPT) Dutta
5 Oct 5 Timers (PPT) Dutta Lab # 5 : Clocks, Counters, and Timers
Oct 7 Timers (cont) and Digital I/O Dutta
Peripheral Interfacing
6 Oct 12 Serial buses: UART, SPI, and I2C (PPT) Dutta Lab # 5 : Clocks, Counters, and Timers
HW # 5 : Practice Midterm
Oct 14 Project Overview Smith
7 Oct 19 NO LECTURE: Fall Break   Lab # 6 : Serial Bus Interfacing
Oct 21 ADCs/DACs (PPT) Dutta
8 Oct 26 Catch up and Review Dutta Lab # 6 : Serial Bus Interfacing
Oct 28 Midterm Exam  
9 Nov 2 NO LECTURE: Work on Projects Dutta Lab # 7 : ADC/DAC Data Converters
Nov 4 NO LECTURE: Work on Projects Dutta
10 Nov 9 Embedded Operating Systems (PPT) Dutta Projects
Nov 11 Printed Circuit Board Design (PPT) Dutta
11 Nov 16 NO LECTURE: Work on Presentations   Projects
Nov 18
12 Nov 23 Special Topics Students Projects
Nov 25 NO LECTURE: Work on Projects  
13 Nov 30 Special Topics Students Projects
Dec 2 NO LECTURE: Work on Projects  
14 Dec 7 NO LECTURE: Work on Projects   Projects
Dec 9 NO LECTURE: Work on Projects  
15 Dec 14 Demo & Poster Session
Time: 1:30-3:30 PM (setup at 1:00 PM)
Room: Tishman Hall (BBB Atrium)
Students Projects / Teardown / Parts Return
16 Dec 14
Dec 16
Take-Home Final Exam Time
Out: 6:00 PM, Dec 14
Due: 6:00 PM, Dec 16


The curricular prequisites for this class include EECS 270 (Introduction to Logic Design), EECS 280 (Programming and Introductory Data Structures), and EECS 370 (Introduction to Computer Organization). The course bulletin outlines the contents of these courses. In general, students are expected to have a firm grasp on combinational and sequential logic design, be familiar with assembly language programming (for some architecture), be proficient in C programming, and know their way around the elements of a computer. In addition, success in this course will require substantial reading and hacking, and students will need a high degree of patience and determination.


Honor Code. The Engineering Honor Code applies to all assignments and exams.

Learn Concepts Together through Discussion. Verbal collaboration between members of different groups is permitted for the purpose of helping classmates to understand concepts essential to the labs or providing one another with insights into the best way to approach the in-lab assignments.

Do Your Own Work. Individual assignments (e.g., prelabs, homeworks, and exams) are to be performed on your own. Group assignments (e.g., labs, lab reports, and postlabs) are to be performed only by members of the group. Non-verbal collaboration (e.g. drawing sample schematics on paper or the whiteboard, sharing schematics or code) is not allowed. You may not help debug another group's hardware or software without consent from the lab or course instructor. You are also not allowed to possess, look at, use, or in any way derive advantage from the existence of code, lab reports, or other material prepared in prior years.

Attend Your Registered Lab. You are expected to attend the lab section for which you are registered. If you would like to switch lab sections, but the section you want is full, you must find someone in that lab section to swap positions with you. Once you have agreed on a swap, send email to Matt Smith. All section swaps must be completed before the second week of lab.

Prelabs. Prelabs are due in lab during the week the lab is to start. All prelabs must be turned in within the 20 minutes after the offical start of lab (on the half hour) (to allow for tardiness, printing problems, etc.) or you will only get 50% of the credit otherwise earned. Prelabs more than one week late will earn no credit. For any labs which span multiple weeks, the prelab is due during the first week of that lab. Prelabs are to be done individually unless otherwise specified in the lab itself.

Postlabs. Postlabs are due in lab the week after the last week of that lab. They are due 20 minutes after the start of that lab period. Just like prelabs, late labs earn only 50% of the credit otherwise earned and postlabs which are more than one week late get no credit. Postlabs are to be done by the group unless otherwise specified in the lab itself.

In-Labs. In-labs are due by Friday of the last week of the lab in open lab hours (you are welcome to turn it in before this and most students do). One of the lab instructors must sign your in-lab form by that time for the in-lab to be on time. You should hand in the signed (and dated) in-lab form with your postlab. Late in-labs lose 10% of their value per business day (Monday though Friday not including holidays) they are late. You may only work with your lab group (generally one other person) on your in-lab.


Item Weight Description
Labs 25% Seven labs.
Project 25% Group project demonstrating understanding of major topics.
Exams 35% Two exams: Midterm (15%); Final (20%).
Homework 10% Approximately five homework/programming assignments weighted roughly equally.
Presentation 4% Group presentation to class.
Feedback 1% Complete course evaluation and forward acknowledgement to:


  1. Combinational Logic Tutorial
  2. Sequential Logic Tutorial

  3. Toolchain Tutorial

  4. ARMv7 Architecture Reference Manual
  5. ARM Cortex-M3 Technical Reference Manual v2.1
  6. ARM and Thumb-2 Instruction Set Quick Reference Card
  7. ARM Architecture Procedure Call Standard (EABI)
  8. ARM Cortex-M3 Embedded Software Development (AN-179)

  9. Actel SmartFusion MSS User Guide
  10. Actel SmartFusion Analog User Guide
  11. Actel A2F Eval Kit User Guide

  12. CodeSourcery Getting Started
  13. GNU Assembler
  14. GNU Compiler
  15. GNU Linker
  16. Linkers and Loaders
  17. GNU Debugger
  18. GNU Binary Utilities

  19. I2C Bus
  20. FitBit Surge Teardown


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant #0964120. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
This course and lab use hardware and software provided by Microsemi Corporation, including the SmartFusion MCU+FPGA development boards and the Libero Gold and Platinum software development tools.
This course uses hardware and software provided by Intel Corporation, including the Intel Edison IoT Platform, software, documentation, and development tools.