Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Introduction to Digital Circuits Laboratory Using FPGA Tools and Systems


School of Engineering


Padnos College of Engineering and Computing

Date Range



In a traditional introductory digital circuits laboratory, students hand-wire implementations of their designs using SSI and MSI devices on push-pin breadboards. In addition to the frustration experienced by the typical student in debugging these circuits, their interconnection complexity limits the scope of the assigned problem. Our approach is to instead use programmable logic devices based on the Xilinx Foundation tools (such as schematic capture, built-in-simulator, waveform generator and synthesis/implementation) as a platform for simulation and implementation. In so doing, the students are able to more quickly and thoroughly design, test and implement their circuits. Furthermore, this approach allows for projects of a higher complexity over the traditional approach. Additionally, our approach introduces students to the tools and hardware widely used in industry. In this paper, we describe our approach and discuss the student projects in detail. We further include student assessment data that supports our approach and shows that the students appreciated the early exposure to FPGAs and CAD tools.

Conference Name

Hawaii International Conference on Education

Conference Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

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