Computer Engineering Processes

One of the processes in computer engineering that I have faced quite often, is the act of turning a boolean logic expression into a physical circuit (usually on a breadboard). This act is often done by taking the original expression and using a variety of logic theorems, such as De Morgan’s theorem, to simplify the expression so it can be represented by using the least number of logic gates to implement it. The smaller the number of logic gates needed to implement a circuit, the faster and more efficient it can be. Then the circuit it often drawn out in a modeling program such as Quartus II. Symbols are used to represent logic gates and pis such as inputs and outputs. Wires connect the whole thing and it can then be plugged into ModelSim (a waveform simulation program) to check if it matches the original desired output. If the waveform in ModelSim validates the circuit, it is then time to built the actual circuit. Using the breadboard, tools, chips, and wires from my lab kit, I carefully arrange parts and connect things to complete the circuit. Once connected to a power source, LEDs can be used to confirm the accuracy of the circuit.

Overall, this is already a pretty efficient process. It is possible to draw the circuit on paper and skip all of the digital modeling parts, however it is then much more likely to run into errors. One way this process could be improved is if there was a program that could take the expression as an input and just output directly how to build the circuit. It would save time and effort as well as reduce the risk of human error. Another way to improve the process would be to use more efficient parts of circuits. This will be slowly improved over time as technology allows for faster and better processors.

-Caitlin Barron

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