FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ECE UNDERGRAD EMBEDDED CURRICULUM (18-348, 18-349 and 18-549)
- What is the difference between 18-348 and 18-349?
18-348 will focus on 8-bit microcontrollers while 18-349 will focus on
16/32/64-bit high-end embedded processors. The current version of
18-349 will be using the ARM processor (that you find in your
videogames, cell-phones, etc.) for the labs in the course. The course
content in 18-349 will also expose students to real-time concepts.
- What will the 18-349 labs involve?
18-349 will involve
a sequence of labs exercises, with the high point being students
building a realistic, real-time operating system running on an
embedded processor. The remaining labs will involve
interrupt-handling, concurrency, device drivers, handling I/O, flash
memory. and building a Whack-A-Mole game to explore some of these
- When will the three courses be offered?
18-348 will be
offered by Prof. Koopman every Fall, starting Fall 2006. 18-349 will
be offered by me every Fall, starting Fall 2007. 18-349 will not be
offered in Fall 2006 since I plan to spend time reworking 18-549,
which will be offered by me starting Spring 2007.
- Would I ever want to take both 18-348 and 18-349?
8-bit microcontrollers and 16/32/64-bit high-end embedded processors
have their place in the field of embedded systems. The 8-bit
microcontrollers find their use in thermostats, elevators, etc. The
16/32/64-bit high-end processors find their use in portable gaming
devices, PDAs, cell-phones, etc. So, students interested in both ends
of the embedded-system spectrum are likely to find it worthwhile to
take both courses.
- Can I get into 18-549 through either 18-348 or 18-349?
Yes. Either 18-348 or 18-349 can serve as a pre-requisite for 18-549.
- Is 18-549 going to change in content, as a result?
newly redesigned Spring 2007 version of 18-549 will involve a hands-on
project using real hardware. Students are expected to come in with
either 18-348 or 18-349. The capstone project will involve the use of
either 8-bit microcontrollers or 16/32/64-bit embedded processors (or
both), based on your familiarity and previous experience with the
specific embedded platform. Students will be allowed to propose
capstone projects of interest to them, in the form of teams. Thus, the
project will not necessarily be identical across all teams. The
entire semester will then be spent on the project, with lecture
content to help out with the project, as needed.
- Will 15-410 still be an alternative pre-requisite for
For the Spring 2007 offering of 18-549, we will still
allow 15-410 as a pre-requisite. For future versions of 18-549
(starting Spring 2008), only one of the two (18-348 or 18-349) will be
allowed as a pre-requisite. 15-410 will no longer be a pre-requisite
for 18-549, as of Spring 2008.