Electronic Design

Computers As Components: Principles Of Embedded Computing Design

By Wayne Wolf

The title is a bit of misnomer, as author Wayne Wolf is really presenting a typical embedded design and programming book. There is little about connecting CPU components together in anything other than a basic network. Still, skipping over the naming of the book reveals a very good coverage of general embedded processors and system design. Overall, this is an excellent book for a college course or for new embedded designers.

There is a good bit of use of UML (Universal Modeling Language) diagrams so take a gander at the appendix if UML is not second nature. It tends to be handy for presentation within the book and is a useful design tool in general although becoming adept with UML will require a different book.

The first chapter on Embedded Computing delivers a good overview of the design process and things to come. There is a Model Train Controller example helps in this progression.

From there Wolf moves into instructions sets and CPU architectures with a nice CPU/DSP contrast. The ARM is used as the CPU example and the TI C55x is used for the DSP example with the typical differentiation of data and addressing schemes. Subsequent chapters assume bus-based designs the reflect well on the chosen platform examples. The reader is exposed to the typical bus-based peripheral complement from serial ports to touch screens.

The programming overview and RTOS coverage is relatively complete. The book touches on topics such as dead code elimination and register allocation as well as loop optimization strategies. Operating system coverage hits priority-based scheduling with a nice comparison of rate-monotonic and earliest-deadline-first scheduling.

The multiprocessing and networking chapters present the material at a relatively high level. There are numerous examples but they do not provide the detail needed to address programming and design issues with any level of specifics.

The book wraps up with a chapter on System Design Techniques. This takes a cursory look at UML methods like the “waterfall design” mode. It is a good complement to the use of UML through the book and it is a good basis for a transition to a good UML book.

TAGS: Digital ICs
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