A microprocessor design project in an introductory VLSI course

An introductory very large scale integration (VLSI) design course has been taught at the University of Michigan (USA) since 1980. In 1990, it was redesigned around a simple 8-bit microprocessor project in the format described in this paper; in 1996, the project was updated to a 16 bit reduced instruction set computer (RISC) processor. The authors describe the course philosophy, content, and the baseline architecture from which class projects begin. The key features of the course are: close coordination of lectures and project activity; prompt and regular feedback on design work; and a schedule which spreads the workload over the full term. In this course, students learn VLSI fundamentals and good design methodology that will be important throughout their careers

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