Use of CAD Tools in the Integrated 
Computer Engineering Design (ICED) Curriculum

Augustus K. Uht
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Kelley Hall
Univ. of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI 02881, USA

A new undergraduate computer engineering curriculum, ICED, is being introduced at the University of Rhode Island. The main feature of the curriculum is a design project spanning the last three years of the major. This gives continuity to a student's studies: they will always know why they are learning a particular topic, and how it fits into the big picture. It also introduces them to long-term projects, and the requisite good documentation and communication habits necessary for its completion. The project to be undertaken is the design, simulation and construction of a computer and its compiler, including the design of its instruction set. Further, the various students' computers will be networked together during the final integration phase of the project. Students will learn to make hardware/software design tradeoffs, as well as get hands-on experience with hardware. A key element of the design experience is the use of modern CAD tools. The Mentor Graphics CAD tool suite will be used throughout the curriculum. By standardizing on one set of tools, the startup time for the students to learn the tools is amortized over the entire curriculum. The curriculum has recently received funding from the National Science Foundation, and has been formally approved by the University. Students will start the curriculum in Fall, 1997. The paper gives the rationale of ICED in depth, and describes the core courses, their activities and use of the Mentor tools, and how they interelate to achieve the goal.

Acknowledgements: The ICED curriculum is the product of many years of effort of the entire computer engineering faculty in the URI ELE Dept.