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First RISC-V computer architecture course and a STEM distance learning initiative launched for students


Imagination Technologies announces a complete course on RISC-V computer architecture for under-graduate teaching as part of its Imagination University Programme (IUP). “RVfpga: Understanding Computer Architecture” includes a rich set of teaching materials and practical exercises to help students understand the key elements of processor architecture, including IP cores, modifying a RISC-V core and their microarchitectures.

“Up to now, academic activity has been focused on SoC design. This course is the first to provide the all-important foundation of understanding of the components of the RISC-V “engine”; RISC-V will pervade every computing level in the next five years. Its openness has enabled designers at all levels to get involved with processors without having to worry about licencing at the early stages of design. This is empowering a new generation to experiment,” said Robert Owen, Director Worldwide University Programme, Imagination Technologies.

“RISC-V is an open architecture, transforming processor design and software/hardware co-design, and enabling open-source hardware implementations,” added Professor David Patterson, who shares the ACM A.M. Turing Award with John Hennessy for contributions to RISC. “This course provides a deep understanding of an industrial-strength processor architecture and system of increasing popularity, which will prove useful to students throughout their academic and industry careers.”

The course is created in association with academic partners Associate Professor Sarah Harris, co-author of the popular “Digital Design & Computer Architecture” textbook which has been published in more than five languages and is a cornerstone of courses in computer architecture, and Associate Professor Daniel Chaver. It includes an instructor’s guide, a student manual, 10 comprehensive Labs (hands-on experiments), test materials, sample exam questions, and all the associated IP and software. To enable use in whole or in part, the source files of all the materials is provided. This flexible and open approach allows academic institutes to teach a fully featured course with the ability to augment or adapt as each teacher requires.

In a spearate move, PCB design and software company, Altium, has developed the Upverter Education distance learning program based on Upverter, a free, web-based printed circuit board (PCB) design tool that is easy to learn and use.

The collaborative and remote learning features of Upverter fit perfectly with the needs of STEM educators for guiding students through the electronics design process and their exploration of technology and engineering.

The Upverter Education Program is a free resource and features:
• Upverter, an easy to use, web-based tool for editing schematic diagrams and PCB layouts
• Electrical engineering courses for students of all skill levels, including those with no prior exposure to circuit board design
• A library of completed designs for inspiration and teaching
• Responsive support from Upverter Forums for technical questions
• An Upverter YouTube channel with detailed navigation videos

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