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ECE Grad Student Upgrades System-on-a-Chip Teaching Tool
ECE Grad Student Upgrades System-on-a-Chip Teaching Tool

Tejaswini Angal enjoyed work as a software engineer, but developed a longing for the opportunity to build advanced technologies herself. As a graduate student in Portland State’s Electrical and Computer Engineering program she has taken full advantage of every opportunity to do so.

Angal first became interested in embedded systems while taking ECE 372: Microprocessor Interfacing and Embedded Systems under Professor Roy Kravitz. Under his guidance she developed a series of projects that include a Bluetooth controlled boat and a robot that responds to commands sent by text. After attending a workshop sponsored by the educational division of UK-based Imagination Technologies, Kravitz returned with an even more ambitious project for Angal. She would help to develop a hands-on educational program for other students across the world.

MIPS is a computer architecture commonly used in education to teach basic architecture concepts and how its components are implemented. MIPSfpga is a microprocessor core with cache and memory management unit for educational use. It is a pocket-sized workhorse that can load an entire Linux system on a single chip. This industrial-strength MIPS core is a good complement for embedded systems courses allowing students to readily experiment System on Chip projects.

“The MIPSfpga system-on-a-chip is a fantastic teaching tool,” says Kravtiz. “But because Imagination Technologies has only recently developed some of the educational materials that for the core the material had yet to be vetted by an actual student.”

Over the course of a term, Angal poured over the documentation and optimized it for students. She received college credit and was commended by Imagination Technologies for her work.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to challenge my knowledge of the MIPS architecture while making it accessible to others,” said Angal. “I feel the project has huge potential for educational application with the Internet of Things initiative. It will be very exciting to see what comes from the Imagination Technologies educational community as it grows.”

Students who are interested in contributing to Imagination Technologies MIPSfpga educational program are encouraged to contact roy.kravitz@pdx.edu.