Digital System Design – Crash the Course!

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Zain Navabi, PhD


Dr. Navabi

50 years ago, digital design was done only at a transistor level, but it’s becoming more and more abstract. Transistors change to gates, gates change to functional units like multipliers, adders, subtractors, and those change to upper-level complex components. As engineers design these, they must keep in mind how they will describe, test, and implement them.

WPI’s Zain Navabi, PhD, is an Electrical & Computer Engineer who specializes in digital system design. He offers a four-course suite on this subject as an option in our online ECE graduate programs. His suite focuses on the four main elements of modern design:

  1. SystemVerilog Hardware Description Language
  2. Digital system testing and testable design
  3. Embedded system design
  4. SL system level design

The courses are all based on Hardware Description Language and use EDA (Electronic Design Automation). Here’s a little taste of what the suite explores:

Course 1: Modeling and Synthesis of Digital Systems Using Verilog
Once you create a SystemVerilog module, you must define your floating point multiplier and describe the module in synthesizable Verilog. The module can then be synthesized into an FPGA. In this course, you will learn how to verify, synthesize and simulate this FPGA.

Course 2: Digital Systems Testing and Testable Design
Once a complete system is designed and successfully synthesized, if the cost of testing it is more than the cost of fabricating it, it’s very unlikely the module will get made. Learn how to include certain components and processing elements within the build of the structure to enable testing data to be extracted from the chip after it is fabricated.

Course 3: Embedded Core Architectures and Core-Based Design
With a processor, floating point multiplier, a filter, and a memory core in place, an engineer can use a predefined bus structure or communications structure to wire all the components together. Learn all about this technique, known as embedded design.

Course 4: Methodologies for System Level Design and Modeling
In System Level Design, engineers design components using high-level abstract functionalities. Instead of using prepackaged bus structures for sending data, engineers write functions that communicate with data themselves. This level of design is concerned primarily with those transactions, and will include language system C, and SC Modules, as well as DSE or Design Space Exploration.

Altogether, these courses prepare you in all areas of modern digital system design, and for a career in the digital-design world. You can learn more about our online ECE programs here.

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