Introduction to Embedded Computing

CSE 237a

Instructor: Tajana Simunic Rosing
* please put CSE237a in the email subject line *
Lectures: T/Th 2:00-3:20pm @ Petersen 102
Office hours: T/Th 3:30-4:30pm @ CSE 2118

TA: Christine Chan
* please put CSE237a in the email subject line *
Office hours: M 10-11am, W 1-2pm @ CSE B250A (starting week 2)

Admin: Anna Skowronek
Office: CSE 2202
Phone: (858) 822-4177

Course Overview and Goals

Increasing integration of communications, multimedia and processing and relentless digitization of data (including even RF data) continues to expand the scope and complexity of embedded systems. To appreciate these advances, and to productively contribute to future advances of these systems, a critical appreciation of the underlying technology underpinning is a must. The goal of this course is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the technologies behind the embedded systems, particularly, those using computing elements (processor, DSP, or ASPs). The students develop an appreciation of the technology capabilities and limitations of the hardware, software components for building embedded systems, and methods to evaluate design tradeoffs between different technology choices

Class Discussion

The course discussion board can be found at Piazza. That discussion board will be the main way of providing help with homework and projects in this class and I will use it from time to time to send out updates and clarifications on assignments. All students enrolled in the course should have received an email to give them access to the class board. If you did not receive an email, please contact the TA to be added.

Recommended textbooks

  • Embedded System Design: Embedded Systems Foundations of Cyber-Physical Systems, by Peter Marwedel. ISBN-10: 9400702566 | ISBN-13: 978-9400702561 | Publication Date: December 3, 2010 | Edition: 2nd Edition.
    Textbook Cover
  • High-Performance Embedded Computing: Architectures, Applications, and Methodologies, Wayne Wolf, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2006, ISBN No. 012369485.
  • F. Vahid and T. Givargis, Embedded System Design: A Unified Hardware/Software Introduction, John Wiley & Sons. ISBN-13: 978-0471386780
  • Software Engineering for Real-Time Systems. Addison-Wesley; 1 edition (November 11, 2002). ISBN-13: 978-0201596205

Course Rationale and Relationship to CSE/CE Curriculum

Continuing advances in system software and hardware components now present exciting opportunities in building embedded systems for applications ranging from embedded control, multimedia, networking and information and biomedical appliances. Building these systems, particularly for highly integrated micro-electronic technologies and mobile applications, presents a challenge at every of level abstraction from gate-level designs to complex runtime systems. Even with a detailed technical knowledge in a specific technology area that make up an embedded system, a good system design would require understanding of the design tradeoffs across choice in technologies that make up the system. This course fills this gap by presenting basic characteristics and usage model of the technologies that make up an embedded system and describing their relations

You can take this course to satisfy requirements for the depth sequence in Embedded Systems and Software (ESS). Other courses in this sequence:

  • CSE 237B: Software for Embedded Systems
  • CSE 237C: Validation/Testing of Embedded Systems
  • CSE 237D: Design Automation & Prototyping for Embedded Systems


The course does not have any official graduate course as a prerequisite. However, it assumes basic understanding of digital hardware (electrical components, storage elements), computer architecture (memory, cpu/processor, ISA, computer organization), programming (C/C++ preferred), algorithms (e.g. common graph algorithms).