Design Experience

The computer engineering program at CSU, Chico is a balance of engineering science and design. The freshman and sophomore year courses are structured to lay a solid foundation for the junior and senior level design courses by the introduction of courses in hardware, software, and the engineering sciences (math, physics, and chemistry).

Design methodology and analysis techniques are stressed throughout the curriculum in the majority of the core courses required for graduation. The lecture classes are typically complemented by laboratory experiments that the student has designed, simulated and analyzed before commencing with the actual hands on construction and testing. Students are well prepared in the software/hardware design procedure when they reach the final classes of Microprocessor System Design and the Senior Project Classes.

Skills in both software and hardware are employed in the design of a microcomputer system that require the student to write his own operating system in a high level language ( e.g. C or C++) with embedded assembly language. The hardware support requirement is the design and implementation of a direct memory access (DMA) controller using a PLD or FPGA and a peripheral interface controller that supports a printer and an external bus. Students have several pattern electives to choose from in advanced software and hardware design classes. Such classes include topics in networks, embedded systems, digital design, digital signal processing, state machine design, VLSI, control systems, communications and artificial intelligence.

The senior project class brings together, in a balance of solid software and hardware skills acquired throughout the required and elective curriculum, a culminating experience which involves teamwork, design, report writing and oral presentation. Many students enter their projects in the annual IEEE student competition. These experiences prepare our graduates to be successful engineers with an awareness of the many challenges involved in the work place.