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Project and Lab Stuff

Most of the course evaluation is based on a project that you will do using the Xilinx tools and the XUP board. Learning to use the tools quickly is important so that you can have enough time to do the project. The key is to learn enough of the tools to do what you need to do.

Teams of Three

Labs and projects are to be done with teams of three unless special arrangements are made with the instructor. You must make a commitment as a group by the second week so that the projects may begin. It is unfair to the others in the team if you drop out part way.

Discussion Board

You are encouraged to use the discussion board when you have questions about the tools or some other issue. In this way, everyone can see what issues are arising and the same question will not have to be answered multiple times. The responses will also be archived somehow, though Blackboard seems incapable of doing this.

The TAs will be monitoring the discussion board for activity and respond when they can.

Please do not email the TAs directly unless it is for something specific to you.

As mentioned under Grading, there are Community bonus marks for participating on the discussion board.

Signing Out the Boards and Software Distribution

Each group will be able to sign out a board and keep it for the term. You must bring your own board to the lab if you need to do a demo.

Instructions to get a board and the form to get the install key are on this form which must be returned by the date specified in the timeline below.


For the lab component of your mark you will be required to:
  1. Do some required modules to learn the tools
  2. Demonstrate that you can build a particular design
  3. Demonstrate that you can use ModelSim

Required Modules
Work through modules m01 through m07 available at the Tutorials link on the EDK page as a way to get familiar with the tools. These modules will only give you a very basic introduction and some guidance as to where to look for more information.

There will be three lab periods where you can get help with the lab modules during the lab period. The first lab will be an introductory lab to help you get started. There will not be any grading done during these lab periods. The TAs are there to help so use that time effectively.

You will need to work on these modules outside of the lab periods. The tools can take a long time to do a compile so you won't be able to finish everything during lab hours and you'll spend a lot of time waiting anyways. Plan on having something else to do in parallel.

Lab Test Requirements

During the lab test period you will be assigned a specific time slot where you will be graded on the lab test design and a ModelSim simulation. You must become comfortable with ModelSim very quickly as you should be doing lots of simulation so this is your incentive to learn.

The requirements are given here. This will be the 10% of your final grade assigned to the lab test.


You will need to work on some aspects of the project before completing the modules since the proposal will be due before you need to complete the required modules.

Project Proposal and Weekly Progress
The proposal and weekly milestone requirements can be seen here.

The basic guideline is that your project should incorporate at least one MicroBlaze processor running a part of your application and a hardware block of your own design. The remainder of the project can use and software or hardware IP that you find useful.

Block Diagrams

You will need a block diagram of your system. The example shown here is good. The diagram should show all datapath connections. Note that any software IP should be indicated within the processor blocks running that software.

Project Demos and Reports
This describes the format of the project demos and what you will need to put into the two reports you will submit.

Timeline 2011

The relevant documents are linked in the Activity descriptions.

Week No. Completion by end of Grades Activity
1 Jan 5-7   First week of classes, no labs
2 Jan 12 lab   Submit Board and Tool Request form
2 Jan 12 lab   Sign out boards before lab
3 Jan 17 lecture   Draft proposal due at start of lecture
3 Jan 19 lab   Project proposal feedback
4 Jan 26 lab 10% Submit formal project proposal. It will need a good block diagram. The first milestone in the proposal will be checked on Feb. 9. The milestone can be modified up until the Feb. 2 lab.
5 Feb 2 lab 10% Grading of your lab test
6 Feb 9 lab   Show Milestone 1 - Start milestone demos and weekly progress reports (25% total)
R Feb 21-25   Reading week
12 Mar 29-31   ECE Design Fair
13 Apr 4 lecture 17.5% Individual report due at start of lecture
13 Apr 4 lecture 17.5% Group report due at start of lecture
13 Apr 6 lab 20% Project final demos

next up previous
Next: ECE532S Past Projects Up: ECE532S Digital Systems Design Home Previous: ECE532S Grading
Paul Chow 2011-03-27