Embedded System Design

Subject ELEN90066 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours of lectures and 36 hours of workshops
Total Time Commitment:

200 hours


Prerequisite for this subject is:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:


Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Assoc Prof Peter Dower


Email: elen-subjectenquiry@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:


This subject provides a practical introduction to the design of microprocessor-based electronic systems. The lectures and project work will expose students to the various stages in an engineering project (design, implementation, testing and documentation) and a range of embedded system concepts.


Topics covered may include: digital computer architecture, example microprocessor architectures, pipelining and caching, system-level programming in assembly language and C for a specific microprocessor ; bus standards and protocols, bus interfacing, interrupt servicing; operating systems concepts, multi-tasking, resource management and real-time issues; interfacing to the analog world via analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters; standard software tools, including compilers and debuggers, schematic and PCB layout with an emphasis on design for high speed switching circuits.

This material will be complemented by exposure to standard software tools, including compilers and debuggers, schematic and board layout software. The subject will include a level of industry engagement, to provide broader examples of engineering projects, through guest lectures

This subject has been integrated with the Skills Towards Employment Program (STEP) and contains activities that can assist in the completion of the Engineering Practice Hurdle (EPH).

Learning Outcomes:


  1. Design, build and test the hardware components (microprocessor, bus and peripheral interfacing) of an embedded system
  2. Develop and test the low-level software components of an embedded system
  3. Conduct a small embedded system design project
  • One written examination, not exceeding three hours at the end of semester, worth 60%
  • Continuous assessment of submitted project work, not exceeding 40 pages over the semester (approximately 55-60hours of work per student), worth 40%.

Hurdle requirement: Students must pass the written exam to pass the subject.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) 1 and 2 are assessed in the written exam and submitted project work. ILO 3 is assessed in the submitted project work.

Prescribed Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Ability to apply knowledge of basic science and engineering fundamentals
  • In-depth technical competence in at least one engineering discipline
  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution
  • Ability to utilise a systems approach to design and operational performance
  • Capacity for independent critical thought, rational inquiry and self-directed learning
  • Ability to function effectively as an individual and in multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams, with the capacity to be a leader or manager as well as an effective team member
  • Ability to communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large

To complete the assessment, students are required to purchase a kit of electronic parts from the university book room. The cost of this kit is approximately $85-$100.


The subject is delivered through lectures and a semester long design, build and code project, workshop classes to assist with the project.


Students are provided with lecture slides, worked problem sets, project specifications, and reference text lists.


The subject includes a level of industry engagement, to provide broader examples of engineering projects, through guest lectures.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: B-ENG Electrical Engineering stream
Master of Engineering (Electrical with Business)
Master of Engineering (Electrical)
Master of Engineering (Mechatronics)

Download PDF version.