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Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Microcontroller Based Systems

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Communications and Computer Engineering

DESCRIPTION The study-unit introduces the architecture of microcontrollers and their use in embedded systems. A practical approach is adopted, working through the implementation of different examples on a current architecture. The implementation of such solutions and their subsequent analysis gives practical experience and an understanding of the difficulties involved.

Study-Unit Aims:

The study-unit aims to develop the student's knowledge of the architectural features that define a microcontroller, and their ability to implement solutions to a variety of real world problems using microntroller based embedded systems. A number of case studies are considered to illustrate facets of the subject. The study-unit will use C/C++ and assembly language as needed to access the various features of the architecture used.

Learning Outcomes:

Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• Describe the architectural features that define a microcontroller;
• Identify and explain the constraints imposed by a microntroller based system;
• Interface a microcontroller with physical sensors and actuators;
• Develop solutions using a microntroller based embedded system for real world problems;
• Debug and analyse the performance of the developed solution.


• Introduction to microcontroller systems: Motivation; History; Constraints; Applications;
• Input/Output & Interfacing;
• Real-Time Issues;
• Interrupts;
• Security;
• Constraints: Speed; Power; Memory;
• Distributed embedded systems.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Online Texts:

E. A. Lee and S. A. Seshia, “Introduction to Embedded Systems - A Cyber-Physical Systems Approach”, Second Edition,, 2015.

Main Texts:

William Hohl and Christopher Hinds, “ARM Assembly Language: Fundamentals and Techniques”, Second Edition, CRC Press, 2014.

Recommended Texts:

Vincent Mahout, "Assembly Language Programming: ARM Cortex-M3", Wiley, 2012. ISBN: 978-1-84821-329-6.

ADDITIONAL NOTES This study-unit builds on Computer Logic 1 (CCE1013) and Computer Logic 2 (CCE1014).

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study, Practicum & Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Johann A. Briffa

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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