Computer Laboratory

Course pages 2014–15

ECAD and Architecture Practical Classes

Principal lecturers: Prof Simon Moore, Dr Robert Mullins
Taken by: Part IB

No. of practical classes: 8
Prerequisite course: Digital Electronics
Companion course: Computer Design
This course is a prerequisite for the Part II courses Comparative Architectures and System-on-Chip Design.


The aims of this course are to enable students to apply the concepts learned in the Computer Design course. In particular a web based tutor is used to introduce the SystemVerilog hardware description language, while the remaining practical classes will then allow students to implement the design of components in this language.

Practical Classes

  • Web tutor This first class uses a web based tutor to rapidly teach the SystemVerilog language (this is part of the lecturing component of Computer Design).

  • FPGA design flow These three classes teach FPGA design-flow by constructing small systems.

  • Heterogeneous processor design These three to four classes introduce soft-core processor design culminating in the construction of a parallel heterogeneous embedded system.


  • Gain experience in electronic computer aided design (ECAD) through learning a design-flow for field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).

  • Learn how to interface to peripherals like a touch screen.

  • Learn how to debug hardware and software systems in simulation.

  • Understand how to construct and program a heterogeneous embedded system.

Recommended reading

* Harris, D.M. & Harris, S.L. (2007). Digital design and computer architecture: from gates to processors. Morgan Kaufmann.

Pointers to sources of more specialist information are included on the associated course web page.