Professor Don Thomas gives keynote at MSE-2015


May 27, 2015

ECE Professor Don Thomas gave the opening keynote at the 2015 International Conference on Microelectronic Systems Education (MSE) held in Pittsburgh, PA on May 20-21. MSE is dedicated to furthering undergraduate and graduate education in designing and building innovative microelectronic systems. Thomas' address, Moving Digital System Design Courses into the Modern Era, Again!, focused on how electrical engineering education has changed over the years and what new changes should be. 

After 50+ years of digital system design being a course topic in Electrical Engineering Departments, the complexity of basic digital systems has risen greatly. Many so-called fundamental topics have fallen by the wayside as being irrelevant to mainstream design, and keeping courses current has always been a balancing act of evolving fundamental topics and available curricular time. Current digital system design uses language-based design methodologies for FPGAs and ASICs. These methodologies enable the design of larger, more exciting systems and almost instant feedback (with FPGAs or simulation) as to whether the designs work. But new fundamentals are needed to enable the efficient design of these systems. We will focus on how validation engineering has come to account for more than 50% of the industrial design flow and how it can be introduced into digital system design courses. We will discuss SystemVerilog as a teaching platform since it directly integrates both design and validation methodologies. Our experiences in introducing it into Sophomore, Junior, and Senior level logic design courses will be discussed. 

Related People:

Donald Thomas