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Cornell University FPGA Class Projects for 2008

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the ok-dad-now-about-that-money-I-asked-for dept.

Education 112

Matt writes "The new crop of Cornell University ECE 5760 projects are now online. Some really cool projects, as well as the previous two years' worth of projects." Since it's mid-December, many other schools, too, have either just let out or are about to; can you point to any other online collections of cool technical projects?

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Oh, wow (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108079)

"The new crop of Cornell University ECE 5760 projects are now online...

That's it? Those projects are weak, look at the tetris game. Even an Atari 2600 could do better than that.

I, on the other hand, have just coded a realistic graphical simulation of an ATM machine in Java. Beat that, suckers!

Re:Oh, wow (3, Interesting)

Ubitsa_teh_1337 (1006277) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108107)

They're class projects, they're not supposed to be as awesome as something you'd do in your own time. My project for a similar class at my uni was to build a simple PIC-based LEGO controller, it was nothing special but lots of fun to play with of course, which is the most important thing :)

Re:Oh, wow (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108211)

Yeah, but this is Cornell. Shitty programs from Cornell are more news worthy than shitty programs from other places because the shitty programs from Cornell have a brand name label.

Re:Oh, wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108327)

+10 insightful

Re:Oh, wow (3, Informative)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108215)

Not all of them are trivial Tristan Rocheleau's lock-in amplifier project is not something I'd expect to see from an undergrad.

Re:Oh, wow (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109325)

I think you're missing the point. Intellectual decline! Falling standards! The Chinese are coming! They will make us into soup!

Buy guns and make nukes in your basement*.

* Cornell undergrads might want to try something less technically challenging like a mentos / diet coke binary weapon.

Re:Oh, wow (1)

kelnos (564113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109551)

Technically, ECE5760 is a grad-level course, actually. In practice, though, many undergrads end up taking 500- and occasionally 600-level courses (er, I guess they're 5000- and 6000-level courses now... I wonder when/why they renumbered them).

Re:Oh, wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109601)

They renumbered them as of this semester because the old course numbers were too logical and easy to remember. Err... well, they probably had another reason; that's just my best guess.

Re:Oh, wow (1)

mach7 (1431175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111707)

Yes, 5760 is a grad level course, and this semester there was only one undergraduate taking it. As for the renumbering, it's just filthy politics. The course enrollment system was changed. The new system (PeopleSoft) was chosen because the founder has donated a lot of money to Cornell (there is a building named after him). Unfortunately, the fancy new system sucks, and couldn't handle courses unless they had four digits. So most classes were renumbered by just adding a 0 to the end of the original number. In true Cornell fashion, the students practically rioted over the change. And also in true Cornell fashion, it made no difference.

Re:Oh, wow (1)

spirit of reason (989882) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111987)

Graduate-level? Why? I would congratulate the students on nice projects if this were their first hardware course, but they seem too simple for graduate students.

At Cal, we have an undergraduate course with a project of similar complexity for a given timeframe (CS 150). The only reason for the length is to become acclimated to FPGA design.

Once you get past the basics, you can do interesting projects. This semester, six undergraduates (including myself) worked on some much larger projects--a SPARC CPU, a GPU with vertex and pixel shaders (with very old-looking pipeline), and a FPU. These began from only a basic library of components (registers, shift registers, etc) and had well-developed test harnesses.

Sadly, our CPU didn't get finished in the ten weeks we had (exception handling working in simulation but not on board, some unimplemented operations like multiply-step, and a really lame branch prediction unit that predicted not taken). But we plan on continuing. ^_^

Re:Oh, wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26116969)

The difference is that these projects were done by groups of 1 or 2 students and only in 4 weeks. The students are also very busy with projects, homework, test, and obligations from other upper level classes.

Re:Oh, wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108453)

I, on the other hand, have just coded a realistic graphical simulation of an ATM machine in Java.

Don't forget your PIN number.

Haven't seen a good Gay Niggers From Outer Space.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108737)

troll in a while. Come on, GNAA. You guys are napping on the job!

Re:Oh, wow (2, Insightful)

wasmoke (1055116) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108835)

Yes, I'm sure you're very proud of your coding, but programming just isn't on the same level as ECE. The whole process is much more involved. Most people don't realize how different hardware design is from software design. Granted, Verilog may be used for much of the project, but even that is much more complicated than Java. This is coming from a former ECE major, so trust me, I'm not just spouting some bullshit trying to sound smart.

Oddly enough, I watched those guys making the Tetris game while I was doing my ALU lab.

Re:Oh, wow (4, Insightful)

kelnos (564113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109535)

Hear, hear. As a guy with an ECE degree who now writes software for a living, I constantly marvel at how different the two disciplines are, and how most "software engineering" strikes me as... not really engineering.

While it's true that it's possible to mathematically prove many pieces of software to be correct (heh, or to mathematically prove them incorrect, as would be the case with most software out there), it's pretty rarely done. To be fair, it's incredibly difficult with most non-trivial programs, of course.

But there's something incredibly satisfying and elegant about having a hardware design that you can prove is correct.

Now, of course, many other things can horribly break that design (yay for analog effects, process deficiencies and defects, etc.), but that's a far cry from "well, it compiles, so it'll probably work." But that's reality for ya.

Wasted CPU Cycles (0, Troll)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108083)

Tetris, Jezzball? Why don't they have their students doing something useful like creating open source FPGA or GPU tomographic reconstruction or crystallographic phasing?

Re:Wasted CPU Cycles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108127)

Uh, because that might be a little hard for someone's first go at FPGA programming? (Or perhaps you are being sarcastic. It's hard to tell around here.)

Re:Wasted CPU Cycles (0, Flamebait)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108145)

why is someone's "first go" at FPGA programming "news for nerds" (stuff that matters) unless it's shit-your-pants awesome?

Re:Wasted CPU Cycles (4, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108241)

It's interesting, and fun, that their projects are online, and it's meant to be a forum for other people to post links to other schools projects and discuss them. If you feel this is below your expectations of "news for nerds" then might I suggest going elsewhere? I personally think some of the stuff is pretty neat.

Re:Wasted CPU Cycles (1)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109645)

Why don't they have their students doing something useful like creating open source FPGA or GPU tomographic reconstruction or crystallographic phasing?

Uh, because that might be a little hard for someone's first go at FPGA programming?

I wouldn't think so. Don't get fooled by the big words--I forget that they are big to other people. In both examples, it will boil down to implementing a FFT [wikipedia.org] and some management of data structures. As a bonus, the world would get some much needed technology for structural biology that would speed up calculations a couple of orders of magnitude. Trust me, if they can write tetris, they can program the core routines of tomographic reconstruction. That's why I picked those examples.

As an aside, people need to actually think about the posts they moderate.

Re:Wasted CPU Cycles (1)

Mister_Stoopid (1222674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26114615)

If it's so easy and is "much needed technology" why hasn't someone done this already? Programming FPGAs really isn't that hard...

Re:Wasted CPU Cycles (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108167)

Or the FPGA implementation of a bouncing breasts simulator.

Re:Wasted CPU Cycles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108267)

So, just who trepanned you and took a dump in your skull this morning?

Re:Wasted CPU Cycles (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108341)

For those that don't know, trepanation is a medical procedure (of dubious value) where a hole is drilled in the skull to relieve pressure, although in this case, someone may have defecated in the opening instead. It's not clear if this is an insult (implying "shit for brains", so to speak), if the poster is concerned about illegal, unlicensed, and unsanitary medical procedures taking place, or if the poster is seeking someone to perform this procedure.

Re:Wasted CPU Cycles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108457)

For those that don't know, trepanation is a medical procedure (of dubious value) where a hole is drilled in the skull

That would have worked if you hadn't stopped me.

Re:Wasted CPU Cycles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26110491)

You have just described the ritual of posting to /.

Incredibly good class (3, Interesting)

Rozine (1345911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108163)

I took the microcontroller equivalent of this class at Cornell when I was there. (I couldn't fit 576 into my schedule, unfortunately.) I have to say, that despite the weeks of all nighters we put into the projects, Bruce Land's class was the best I've ever had, and it did more to keep my interest in ECE and computers than all of the other CS and ECE classes I took. I literally got sick from working on the project too much, but it was so fun that it was worth it. If you ever want to try your hand at microcontrollers or FPGA's, and don't have much of a background in them, I recommend trying this out. The equipment you need is fairly cheap, the labs are fun, and the knowledge is priceless. There's a lot of toil in the workplace, but remembering this class (and working on similar things on the side) keeps my interest in electronics and programming ticking.

Re:Incredibly good class (1)

rcb1974 (654474) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108379)

I also took this course at Cornell from Land. The things I learned in his class were incredibly valuable. It was a lot of work but very fun.

Re:Incredibly good class (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26119793)

I didn't take 576, but I did take 476 from Land. I still consider it the best class I've ever taken in school, undergraduate or graduate.

Re:Incredibly good class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109573)

Do they offer these classes online at Cornell? I've been looking for a class to learn more advance stuff.

Re:Incredibly good class (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109911)

It's too bad we don't get to do these types of projects in the "real world".

I did more fun stuff in my 5 years of college than I've done in the 10 years since then. The only good news is that now my pay is better (negative $28/hour in college versus positive $50/hour at work).

Re:Incredibly good class (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110215)

There's nothing except your own priorities from stopping you doing fun stuff as a hobby at home! I'm sure you could pick up a cheap FPGA board if that's your interest, and it's easy to do software development using free tools under both Linux and Windows.

Most jobs come with a trade off of interesting work (more rare) and good pay/commute/environment/etc. A reasonable compromise is to take the good pay/etc (gotta pay the bills), then do the fun/interesting stuff at home. You never know - you may be able to make it pay one day too.

Re:Incredibly good class (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110979)

Maybe this is why my former adviser suggested I go into teaching at the college level. He said when he quit industry and became a professor his pay was cut 40%, but he found his new job much more enjoyable.

Re:Incredibly good class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26115855)

I took a couple of neurobiology courses with Bruce about 20 years ago - I was an EE/neurobiology major. Awesome guy, great teacher.

It's great to see Bruce's good works popping up on the Internet.

Ad fail (0, Troll)

tchiseen (1315299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108175)

Universities like Stanford and Cornell are leading the way in providing students with real world experience and giving us useful products! Also, fail ad is fail. "SRC="http://ad.doubleclick.net/adj/N763.no_url_specifiedOX2531/B3272816.16;sz=336x280;ord=1640366?"> "

They really seem to like wikipedia. (1)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108191)

A lot of these projects use wikipedia references extensively. Also, most of the other references are websites. There are very few text references.

Does Cornell have an engineering library?

Re:They really seem to like wikipedia. (1)

Rozine (1345911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108205)

Cornell does have a very good engineering library (I've used it myself for research.) Most student work nowadays is done at a computer, at 4 AM, though, which doesn't lend itself to looking through the stacks for a book. For projects like this, it doesn't make sense to go to the library unless there's no available reference on the Internet (including the online reference materials and articles provided by the library). For serious research, the libraries are of course where you need to be still.

Re:They really seem to like wikipedia. (2, Insightful)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108333)

Most student work nowadays is done at a computer, at 4 AM, though, which doesn't lend itself to looking through the stacks for a book.

You're right about that. What surprised me was that, with this being a graduate level course, confirming legitimate references were not also present.

I only had a chance to look at a few projects, though, before the Cornell site slowed to a crawl likely due to the Slashdot traffic. They are pretty cool.

Too bad I can't get the academic pricing on the Altera board.

Re:They really seem to like wikipedia. (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109969)

How many books are out there on FPGA development that would be in a university library?

My Physics department stopped adding to its stacks quite some time ago. Half of the library is slated to be converted into grad student offices within the next year. (Insert whine here about department not caring about undergrads)

In any event, a great majority of the books that are there aren't remotely recent (eg. 50+ years old), and are often way above the comfort level of an undergrad.

Although this seems to be generally true of most of the US universities I've visited, I spent a fair bit of time at a UK Uni last year, and found myself using their Physics library on an almost-daily basis. The difference was astonishing.

Re:They really seem to like wikipedia. (1)

eyecorporations (1401035) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108647)

As I sit here procrastinating well on my way to still being working on my project at 4, it is cold out and the library is too far away. I do however look at the references cited by Wikipedia for the relevant sections and use them as my own.

Re:They really seem to like wikipedia. (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108219)

I once tried to use the engineering library at my school... *shudder*.... the internet is a godsend.

Re:They really seem to like wikipedia. (2, Insightful)

IsMyNameTaken (1362911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108271)

I tried to use the library at my school (Nebraska - Omaha) and after discovering most of the books are from the 60s and 70s it turns out over half are falling apart and the other half have disintegrated long ago. It was kinda sad but then again the stuff I was looking for was all about analog power supplies and while I can imagine that the digital stuff is in better shape that is still no excuse for having unusable books. Wiki pages and Google searches also beat out the new bajillion dollar search engine the library set up a few years ago but then again the school doesn't really subscribe to much technology oriented stuff so its kinda like looking for goldfish in the ocean.

Re:They really seem to like wikipedia. (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108331)

More importantly, do the students know it exists? I bet that most didn't even consider those dusty old things called books.

Re:They really seem to like wikipedia. (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108573)

No, we have multiple engineering libraries.

Re:They really seem to like wikipedia. (1)

billsnow (1334685) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109735)

Eh, give them a break. Yeah, have notes referencing wikipedia is laughable, but it's an undergrad course. It has a grad course number, but I suspect it's mostly an elective for undergrads. I've taken similar undergrad courses at Purdue ECE, and documentation notes are usually limited to white paper specs for whatever standards or commercial/proprietary components are used for the project. It's not typical for undergrads, who are limited to only about a month (many times less) for most final projects, to dwell on wikipedia definitions of the voice box. You mention the general principles, the specific formulas and algorithms, and various specs relevant to your project and move on. But keep in mind, the documentation you are reading for undergrad projects, they may be 50 pages long (longer including appendices) and were written in the last weekend before the due date at about 5am, different sections by different people involved in the project, so they aren't exactly the best examples of scholarly documentation. They aren't getting published. These kids have finals next week.

Cornell University IT Class Project (1)

blake182 (619410) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108253)

...provide hosting for Cornell University FPGA Class Project during Slashdotting.

Re:Cornell University IT Class Project (1)

kelnos (564113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109563)

Heh... while I was at Cornell I worked at CIT as my campus job. Unless they've upgraded it (unlikely, unless the budget fairy has been drastically nicer in recent years), I seem to remember that instruct1.cit.cornell.edu was a single not-really-new Sun box... impressive that it's handing /. traffic as well as it is.

Georgia Tech Senior Design Projects (3, Interesting)

themacks (1197889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108265)

The websites for Georgia Tech's senior design projects can be found here:

http://www.ece.gatech.edu/academic/courses/ece4007/web/index.html [gatech.edu]

Re:Georgia Tech Senior Design Projects (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108321)

Huh... I guess they removed all the older project pages? They used to have the older project pages up there too, and you could look over past projects and choose to add to them instead of starting from scratch...

This is what they should had done (3, Funny)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108311)

Looks like they should had made a "web accelerator."

MIT's lab (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108319)

http://web.mit.edu/6.111 has FPGA projects with videos, documentation and code

MIT Digital Death Lab (1)

fixitman86 (624483) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108323)

We've got something like that at MIT... They've done some pretty cool stuff as well, its not a senior thing though.. just a normal class. The voice controlled chess is pretty cool though. http://web.mit.edu/6.111/www/f2008/index.html [mit.edu]

Altera DE2 Cyclone II FPGA is Great (3, Interesting)

gbrayut (715117) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108367)

I used the same board during my senior project at the University of Utah. It is a great FPGA with tons of options. Our group was sponsored by Micron and built a testing platform for NAND Flash memory [google.com] that got us a spot presenting at the 2008 FLASH Memory Summit. [googlecode.com]

Re:Altera DE2 Cyclone II FPGA is Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108973)

DE2-70 is even better, but I've grown fond of Xilinx

Re:Altera DE2 Cyclone II FPGA is Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109341)

Xilinx FTW indeed!

More FPGA projects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108395)

For really cool FPGA stuff I'd say look at
http://fpgaarcade.com/ [fpgaarcade.com]
http://www.jrok.com/hardware/wsf/ [jrok.com]
But I'm a vidgamer so biased :)

Re:More FPGA projects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108537)

also www.fpga4fun.com

Nothing Special... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108445)

I'm glad Cornell can afford to pay for this Slashvertisement, but I went to a non-ivy league college 5 years ago and in our FPGA class (using Xilinx boards and VHDL/Verilog) our projects seemed much better. We picked an 8-bit nintendo game and implemented it, including wiring up a controller and outputting to a VGA monitor. Some cool ones were clones of Blades of Steel and Tecmo Bowl.

I guess the moral of the story is, my entire 4 years of tuition was less than one semester at Cornell. Yeah, it's nice to graduate college with no loans, can afford to buy a house and new car and have an equivalent education, just not an Ivy League diploma.

Re:Nothing Special... (1)

wasmoke (1055116) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108995)

Not to take a dump all over your argument or anything, but if you could afford to buy a house and a new car when you graduated, why not spend the money on an ivy league (or similar) education?
I'm sure you had a great time at college, but many companies will offer a graduate of a big name college a job over other similarly qualified applicants. For example, as a sophomore I have an internship at a software company in Bozeman, and got offered another at the NAVSEA Warfare Center in Newport.
Since I switched majors, I'll get to go to S. America one summer and study geological formations as part of a required field course. I could also do a couple weeks in the SHOALS Marine Lab, or maybe go out on a ship and do some research.
My point is, there are a ton of great opportunities at expensive schools, and if you can afford them (i.e. get mad scholarships) I see no reason not to take advantage.

Re:Nothing Special... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112615)

Name brands are not everything. A guy can go to a flagship state university and come out knowing just as much, if not more, than those who went to the big named schools. The individual's attitude and drive to succeed and learn is the only thing that really separates those schools with the ones in the Ivy League, MIT, Cal Tech, Stanford, etc.

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology FPGA Use (1)

therpham (953844) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108531)

I'm in the computer science program at RHIT and we're required to take two courses on computer architecture. In the first course, we implement a simple processor using an FPGA, then we design and build our own. Of course, this is before we learn about pipelining, but it's still a lot of fun. In the prereq course where we learn digital circuits, my section's final project was to build a judging system for a pinewood derby race using an FPGA, and other sections had to do such things as implement an alarm clock. I had a lot of fun doing both and they really made me appreciate digital hardware.
Also, as a fun side note, a roommate of mine last year designed on paper a Brainfuck interpreter that ran off raw Brainfuck ASCII source for the Xilinx FPGA competition, but never built it because he wasn't sure if he could present on Brainfuck without laughing. I wonder if that schematic is still lying around somewhere...

I'm eFamous! (5, Interesting)

mach7 (1431175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108565)

I'm in this class. I worked on the Speaker Recognition project. It was very hard. Some comments and responses to other posts:

  • This is not a shitty program. In fact, it's probably one of the top programs in Cornell Engineering.
  • Both this class and the microcontroller class are taught by Bruce Land, an excellent professor. He's been at Cornell forever and knows just about everything.
  • Bear in mind that these projects were done in 4-5 weeks and this is only one of several courses that each student takes.
  • No one goes to the library for books any more. In five years at Cornell, I've had to get a library book once to find something I couldn't find online.
  • Wikipedia is an excellent reference. If nothing else, it is useful as a platform for finding the keywords necessary to more fully investigate a subject.
  • Our project does reference "real" publications - these are easily found using Google Scholar.

If you have any questions about the class, I'd be happy to answer them.

Re:I'm eFamous! (2, Informative)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110001)

Shameless plug:

William & Mary [wm.edu] offers a very similar class [wm.edu] as an undergraduate Physics elective that I just completed.

Mirroring the parent poster's comment: "It was very hard" (damn interesting though...)

Doing something similar myself (1)

usul294 (1163169) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108571)

Its cool to get to see what everyone's doing, I'm a senior electrical engineering student, and I'm working on a sonar project where we are using phased-array radar techniques on ultrasound to do sensing. We recently had to give 1/2 way presentations (full-year project), and its amazing what we're able to do when we get to finally unleash three long years worth of learning. Glad to see so many people are getting their hard work viewed by the public. Hope it helps land them a job, or some VC money to start a business.

So freaking what? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108627)

News for nerds? Hardly. Circle-jerk publicity for Cornell, home of Andy Bernard? Probably. Total waste of space? Definitely.

There are thousands of cool class projects, so why pick the frankly sub-par efforts of Cornell here? Someone blow someone who wears the right color tie today?

The jOS OS from MIT open courseware (1)

mkaushik (1431203) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108749)

My school (Texas) has a course where were build up this OS, step by step. Right from the bootloader to it's full multitasking glory. By far the most useful/fun course I have ever taken in my life. Link: http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Electrical-Engineering-and-Computer-Science/6-828Fall-2006/Assignments/index.htm [mit.edu]

Dansdata (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108751)

has some pretty interesting projects of various kinds, both on the website and the more frequently updated blog section, he's more hardware than software though.

uiuc design course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108757)

https://courses.ece.uiuc.edu/ece395/cgi-bin/semesters.pl

Freshman course (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26108799)

We have a course like this at our school, but it is for freshman only. The Altera DE2 boards are used as well, but we are not allowed to use NIOS. Instead we had to make our own architecture. I'm not too impressed with the projects on this site this semester.

I just noticed someone did a brute force attack on DES with an FPGA. How the hell is that a senior project? That's like a quick weekend project.

MIT 2.009 Product Design class, and more (2, Informative)

compumike (454538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26108893)

For a slightly more holistic project approach, take a look at a MIT 2.009 Product Engineering [mit.edu] class (Mechanical Engineering dept), which now has videos from their projects for this semester: microwave fire extinguisher, self-adjusting electric cook-top array, basketball player tracking system, etc. There are also some neat projects for microcontroller beginners on the NerdKits videos [nerdkits.com] page. DIY digital scale interface over USB, morse code decoder, iPhone R/C car control, and more. (Disclaimer: I did some of the electronics design for the 2.009 Purple Team, and am one of the NerdKits team.)

Re:MIT 2.009 Product Design class, and more (1)

Zackbass (457384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109165)

Hey there, I'm the guy that ended up designing and building the final electronics system for the Purple team. Did you get a chance to see the system I ended up doing? I was able to get some pretty good performance, reliably detecting a single infrared LED out to about 40 feet in an extremely noisy environment.

Re:MIT 2.009 Product Design class, and more (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109321)

That's a disclosure, not a disclaimer. I hope you didn't pay too much for that holistic education.

OpenCores.org (3, Informative)

zackhugh (127338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109033)

To answer the poster's question, the opencores.org site provides a wealth of free FPGA hardware designs.

You can find a full list of their projects here [opencores.org] .

The usual Wikipedia vs. non Wikipedia discussion. (3, Insightful)

drolli (522659) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109043)

A disclaimer: i hold a phd degree in physics and am working in research. When i studied, libraries were still the most common way to acquire knowledge, so i am biased.

However, i observe the following thing: AFAIR Wikipedia itself says it is not meant to be a "first source". Wikipedia can give you hints where to search in detail, and for sure that *is* great. However, a citation in a paper or your report serves two purposes:

a) make your work understandable for the reader (being nice to the reader)
b) give credit to the original author (being nice to the original author)
c) make clear what you have done/not done (being nice to yourself by specifically avoiding to be accused of scientific misconduct)

The traditional approach is that general text books should seldom be cited, and if so, very specifically. To me, if a student cites a specific wikipedia page the latter condition is fulfilled. So if a reasearch group somewhere on the world used FPGAS in a certain way, it is fair to cite their works and not an wikipedia article which was written from an enthousiast about an article which cooked the results of that group down in an popular science journal. However i suggest, if the wikipedia version is well written, to insert a sentence in the introductory part of the report like "Technique x using y is now widely researched and review reports and intodudory materials are commonly available [a,c,b]", which [a,b,c] beeing wikipedia, a textbook or something (not that you may put several references in a single citation). If it helped you, it can be mentioned. Dont however mention textbook knowledge which is expected from you and your peers.

The following things should be kepti in mind:

a) anything referring to a standard should carry the standards official publisher in the reference
Bad example: cite http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11 [wikipedia.org] for the standard instead of the standard itself. *However* iff the article on wikipedia contains additional information like ABOUT the standard and you want to mention this informally in a meta-sentence (e.g. "IEEE 801.11 is seen by the broad public as the only WLAN standard [quote to wikipedia]"), then it is for sure allowed.

b) dont fall for the illusion that wikipedia is faster than the scientic journals. i assure you its not. In the subjet i work, wikipedia is at least 4 years behind the *published* knowledge and understanding.

c) Wikipedia tends to be good for general knowledge and bad for specific in depth-knowledge. The theory behind the subject i am researching in mentioned only on the surface, but even the context with some papers from the beginning of the *last* century is missing (i'll add it when i find time).

So all in all: Saying to a student: "start at wikipedia" might be ok. One should also say "but follow the threads".

Re:The usual Wikipedia vs. non Wikipedia discussio (0, Offtopic)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109119)

Interesting comment, but I find something odd: for someone who purports to be a PhD researcher, your style is decidedly crude. If you want to criticize the informality of a paper, using capitalization and punctuation correctly is always helpful.

Re:The usual Wikipedia vs. non Wikipedia discussio (2, Insightful)

drolli (522659) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109151)

a) English is not my native language, and English punctuation is hard.

b) this was not a critical of anything specific, just my view on the wikipedia discussion, which sadly boils down to ideological wars sometimes (and does so here in other threads).

c) for sure typing a 5 minutes comment in slashdot has lower standards on capitalization and punctuation than a submitted comment on a paper.

Re:The usual Wikipedia vs. non Wikipedia discussio (1)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112147)

Don't worry about it, the guy you're replying to is clearly just an asshole who feels vastly inferior to you and is trying to make up for it somehow.

Re:The usual Wikipedia vs. non Wikipedia discussio (1)

SUB7IME (604466) | more than 5 years ago | (#26115465)

+1 for correct usage of iff

Re:The usual Wikipedia vs. non Wikipedia discussio (2, Insightful)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109683)

Interesting comment, but I find something odd: for someone who purports to be a PhD researcher, your style is decidedly crude.

It's a PhD in physics, not English grammar. Also, punctuation has little to do with scholarship, which is what GP discusses. I hold a PhD and can write circles around 99% of my colleagues, but I focused on the content and not the style of the GP post, so I didn't notice the lowercase "i"s, etc. Time to graduate from your middle school mindset, kid.

Re:The usual Wikipedia vs. non Wikipedia discussio (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110149)

someone who purports to be a PhD researcher, [...] using capitalization and punctuation correctly

I think you're mixing up physics and linguistics ;)

Re:The usual Wikipedia vs. non Wikipedia discussio (1)

Chees0rz (1194661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112387)

As a recent college graduate, I have one thing to say-

Any student that violates the above should be removed from College. NO REFUND
I had to work in a couple of groups where other students would not only use Wikipedia as their primary source of information (not beyond it), but they would also copy and paste right from the website and submit it for peer review as a "rough draft."

I assume these are C students.... but they should be failing.

Tangible User Interfaces at UC Berkeley (1)

npdoty (662178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109097)

The Tangible User Interfaces class (which I was in) at the School of Information at UC Berkeley just had its final presentations. You can see press coverage (including video and pictures) here:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/12/10/BAF214L2I2.DTL [sfgate.com]
http://www.ktvu.com/video/18261853/index.html [ktvu.com]

Includes a projected digital shadow around your body, an elevator where you can play with a butterfly, blowing virtual bubbles and a coffee table that tracks the cups on its surface.

Stanford CS 229, Machine Learning, projects (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#26109203)

I just saw the poster presentations from CS 229 [stanford.edu] , Machine Learning, at Stanford. The current batch of projects aren't on line yet, but the ones from previous years are.

The projects were very impressive. A vision-guided autonomous helicopter. A system for separating out instruments and vocals from existing audio. A CAPTCHA solver. De-blurring of out of of focus images. Flower recognition. Recognition of hostile network traffic. And those were just a few of the projects. Machine learning really works now.

University of Washington, EE 478 Embedded Systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26109967)

We have ten years of final projects for the embedded systems track in the UW Electrical Engineering department documented here:

http://ee.washington.edu/class/478/peckol/final_projects/index.htm

Nefarious device (2, Funny)

didroe84 (1324187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26110093)

I was disappointed by "All Digital, FPGA Based, Lock-in Amplifier". I was imagining the following scenario:

Grunt: Sir, we're rapidly loosing market share to Apple and Linux.
Ballmer: Engage the lock-in amplifier. Muhahahaha.

Columbia's embedded systems class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26111043)

A similar class has been offered by Columbia's CS/EE departments for many years as well. Here is a link to last spring's version of the class:

http://www1.cs.columbia.edu/~sedwards/classes/2008/4840/index.html [columbia.edu]

Using FPGAs properly (1)

eyal0 (912653) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111223)

There's a time and place for each project. The Tetris game and most video games are not good FPGA projects. Tetris is something you could write just as well or better using a general purpose processor. No one would ever turn to an FPGA to write a video game nowadays. Implementing a CPU and searching DES space seem reasonable, though. When I took a similar course I remembering thinking, "What a waste," back then, too. We only had 10k gate-equivalents on our Xilinx FPGAs, though.

Another Altera inside sales job... (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111343)

All I can do is sigh at yet another Altera bought and paid-for university that won't teach kids more than one FPGA toolchain.

Re:Another Altera inside sales job... (1)

mach7 (1431175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111641)

I don't think this argument is valid

  • There are, after all, only two major FPGA vendors (Altera and Xilinx) out there. It makes sense to me in a learning environment to choose one and avoid spending extra time learning the quirks of two systems. That time would be better spent learning the course material.
  • It is not difficult to move from one vendor to another once one toolchain has been mastered.
  • I've heard from a 3rd party that Altera tools are easier to use than the Xilinx, which again suits an education environment. My experience at Cornell has been that the Altera tools are straightforward to use.
  • Many companies provide their tools/software to students for free or at a reduced price, hoping that the students will become attached to them. Examples are MATLAB, Microsoft, and Cadence. This doesn't make it right, but it's not some crime particular to Altera.
  • It is useful to a university to stick with one vendor for all the same reasons that it is useful for a company to stick with one vendor.

Re:Another Altera inside sales job... (1)

mako1138 (837520) | more than 5 years ago | (#26113391)

Yeah, all FPGA toolchains are pretty much the same. I went through a course at Berkeley that used Xilinx, and at work we're a Xilinx shop, but I've tried out Altera and Lattice toolsets and found them to be very similar. The big differences are when you get down to nitty-gritty timing and area constraints, but those are tied to low-level architecture, and in a intro class that's not something you need to worry about.

All FPGA manufacturers offer a free version of their tools, so the price argument is moot.

Re:Another Altera inside sales job... (1)

mako1138 (837520) | more than 5 years ago | (#26113665)

I should add, though, that Altera's Nios and Xilinx's Microblaze do represent a form of vendor lock-in. They're heavily marketed and the results are starting to show, I guess.

Re:Another Altera inside sales job... (1)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26119235)

Ha. And Xilinx marketing don't do the same? Don't make me laugh. Xilinx marketing are well known for being the pushiest in the industry. I think you will find that worldwide, the Xilinx university program is bigger than Altera's.

Re:Another Altera inside sales job... (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 5 years ago | (#26119299)

I didn't make any statements with respect to Xilinx. Don't put words in my mouth.

Re:Another Altera inside sales job... (1)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26119495)

Fair enough, but reading between the lines (I was in the FPGA industry for 7 years), most people were polarised between X and A (nobody cared about Actel/Lattice/QuickLogic enough) why so anti-Altera? So can you explain your sentiments instead of just slating them? Their tool chain has the same pro's and con's as everyone else. Sorry, but you did sound like a Xilinx fanboy..

UCSB Senior Projects (1)

jasenmh (125829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26117647)

I don't know if public schools rate high enough to be included in this discussion, but if so, the computer engineering senior projects for Univ. of California, Santa Barbara can be found at http://vader.ece.ucsb.edu/ece189/projstat.html. I'm involved in the ThermIN project. These projects span 2 quarters. In the first quarter the project is designed to the PCB. The next quarter is spent fabricating the boards so we have no input on the project at that point. In the Spring quarter we implement the design, write software, troubleshoot, etc. It's a hell of a lot of fun. =)

Digital|Vita by Carnegie Mellon University team (1)

hspallek (937560) | more than 5 years ago | (#26117781)

The Digital|Vita system was designed by a team of masters students in human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. It allows users to manage biographical information, output this information into several commonly used formats (e.g. NIH biosketches), and assemble research teams through expertise location and a social network. The system is currently in the prototype stage. See video of the prototype (8 min): http://www.dental.pitt.edu/informatics/orc/ [pitt.edu]

MIT's lab (0, Redundant)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26118449)

Cornell does have a very good engineering library (I've used it myself for research.) Most student work nowadays is done at a computer, at 4 AM, though, which doesn't lend itself to looking through the stacks for a book. For projects like this, it doesn't make sense to go to the library unless there's no available reference on the Internet (including the online reference materials and articles provided by the library). For serious research, the libraries are of course where you need to be still.
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