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Conquering digital systems through collaboration

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Category: academics Video duration: Conquering digital systems through collaboration
Electrical and computer engineering students in Kristie Cooper's fundamentals of digital systems class use their combined knowledge to overcome new challenges every week.
This is the fundamentals of digital systems class. And we teach everything from binary, through transistor level design, up to the CPU level. So by the end of the class, they're able to build themselves a simple processor and run a program. This is one of the few classes where there's no exams and you're doing it in small chunks. We do start off really at the smallest level, designing at the transistor level, and we build up gradually through the semester. Right now we're kind of finishing up our CPU design, which is basically the brain of a computer. The work we're doing right now is mainly planning and doing things before our project really begins. When we start working together, that's when we start asking more individualized questions. We start looking at how our own implementations and designs and code fit into the grand scheme of how are we going to really make this thing work. "I started trace side and then I saw what you were doing with this." In the group they get to talk it through and explain maybe what one group member doesn't understand. They all share their knowledge and the pieces that they already understand. When there are so many moving pieces and so many different components, it could take one thing to completely mess up the rest of it. And sometimes you just need a fresh set of eyes. Sometimes you need to just talk about it, maybe you're going down a rabbit hole. Instead you can just kind of talk it out, see how other people are implementing things, maybe get ideas from that. And really be able to collaborate together. And really work together in a way that's both individual for your project, but also definitely a group based assignment. It's been really cool to see how much our class really does interact and how applicable it is to the real world, especially talking to engineers outside of class and people that are actually in industry. It's really interesting how much this class is really going to help later in my career.