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Puzzle solver accelerators make excellent capstone design projects

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4 Author(s)
Soheil Ghiasi ; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California, Davis, CA, USA 95616 ; Matin Hashemi ; Volodymyr Khibin ; Faisal Khan

We present a computer engineering capstone design project course focused on accelerating intensive computations via integration of application-specific co-processors with digital processor systems. We propose utilization of puzzle solvers as attractive, scalable and simple-to-understand applications to engage students with practicing a number of fundamental concepts in algorithm design, HW-SW co-design, computer architecture, and beyond. While advocating a contest setup for the course, we discuss several well-specified milestones that enable balancing students' creativity and freedom in design choices with ensuring timely progress towards the end goal of the class. We report our observations with the only offering of the class so far, which resulted in successful project completion by all students, and their supportive feedback.

Published in:

Microelectronic Systems Education (MSE), 2011 IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

5-6 June 2011