System-on-Chip (SoC) Design Education Kits
The revolution in mobile computing has been driven by the low power and integrated performance available in modern System-on-Chip (SoC) designs. As a result, understanding and practicing SoC Design is a crucial part of the curriculum in any Electrical and Electronic Engineering or Computer Science department.
To assist academics in teaching this complex but vital subject, the ARM University Program has created System-on-Chip (SoC) Design Lab-in-a-Box kits (or Education Kits). Using FPGAs as prototyping platforms, the kits take students through a typical process from creating high level functional specifications to design, implementation and testing on real FPGA hardware using standard hardware description and software programming languages.
Central to this kit is a full set of teaching materials including power point slides, lab manuals with solutions to professors, quizzes with answers and more, which can be readily used in a typical 10-14 week course. The teaching materials cover both fundamentals and practical knowledge. State-of-the-art hardware platforms are harnessed in the labs to support the course’s learning outcomes. The full kit includes a number of seed hardware kits donated by partners, software licenses from ARM and a complete set of teaching materials comprising lecture notes and hands-on experiments with solutions—all available to professors worldwide (subject to a qualification process).
- The course aims to produce students who are capable of developing ARM-based SoCs from high level functional specifications to design, implementation and testing on real FPGA hardware using standard hardware description and software programming languages.
- Knowledge and understanding of:
- ARM processor architectures and ARM-based SoCs
- Capture the design of ARM-based SoCs in a standard hardware description language
- Low-level software design for ARM-based SoCs and high-level application development
- Ability to use and choose between different techniques for digital system design and capture;
- Ability to evaluate implementation results (e.g. speed, area, power) and correlate them with the corresponding high level design and capture;
- Ability to use a commercial tools to develop ARM-based SoCs
- Basics hardware description language (Verilog or VHDL)
- Basic C and assembly programing
The courseware consists of a number of modules sufficient to run a typical term course on SoC design with lecture notes in PPT format, homework with solutions, demonstration code, lab exercises with solution, and programming projects with solutions. Above all, the materials have been created with learning outcomes in mind – inspiring deep learning by combining fun and interactive exercises with foundational theoretical principles.
There are two types of this education kits currently available:
- The basic SoC Lab-in-a-Box (or Education Kit) is based on the ultra-low power ARM Cortex-M0 soft core. It teaches how to design and implement hardware peripherals in Verilog and connect them to the Cortex-M0 processor using the ARM AHB bus. The software development uses ARM Keil MDK development tool and the resulting ARM-based SoC is finally demonstrated with a computer game application.
Basic SoC Table of Contents
- The advanced SoC Lab-in-a-Box (or Education Kit) teaches advanced SoC design using platform FPGAs with ARM Cortex-A9 cores and reconfigurable hardware with an AXI based interconnect. Using ARM’s professional edition of the DS-5 tool, the accompanying teaching materials show students how to build and debug applications involving an ARM processor and hardware accelerators. At the end of this course, the integrated system is demonstrated with a real-time image processing application, showcasing software and hardware co-design and the capability of such heterogeneous computing platforms.
Advanced SoC Table of Contents
This kit is available on a variety of low cost, high performance and low power hardware platforms from the vast ARM eco-system. To access samples of our teaching materials or to make a full donation request please click on the donation request below.