Practicals & Theses

List of practicals and theses at the Embedded Computing Systems Group (E191/2)

4 vs 2 phase Logic Design

ECS: Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Andreas STEININGER, Univ.Ass. Dipl.-Ing. Dipl.-Ing. BSc Jürgen MAIER, 05. 07. 2019

A general rule of thumb in asynchronous circuit design says that the 4-phase
protocol is used for computation while the 2-phase one is used for
communication. The reason is that 4-phase gates are smaller in size while the
2-phase protocol allows higher speed. The question that has however not yet been
answered is the actual amount of the deviation. How much bigger are 2-phase
gates compared to 4-phase? How much faster are they? This thesis therefore
focuses on comparing different 2- and 4-phase implementations analytically and
on an FPGA. Based on the achieved results the design of novel and innovative
gates might become possible.

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Experimental measurement of Schmitt Trigger Metastability

ECS: Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Andreas STEININGER, 05. 07. 2019

Rather than assuming a stable HI or LO, digital storage elements can, under adverse conditions, also assume a so-called metastable state for some time. This undefined state creates problems in the subsequent logic. Quite unexpectedly, Schmitt Trigger circuits can also become metastable, even though their purpose is not data storage.

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Modelling of a Multistage Synchronizer

ECS: Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Andreas STEININGER, 05. 07. 2019

At clock domain boundaries violation of setup- and hold time cannot be avoided. Synchronizers are used to mitigate the metastability that results from these violations. In modern technologies with their parameter variations and narrow timing margins, conventional single stage synchronizers are no more sufficient and need to be cascaded, thus forming multi-stage synchronizers. While theory provides a reasonably good estimation for the reliability (in terms of mean time between upsets, MTBU) of the single stage synchronizer, the MTBU estimation for the multi-stage synchronizer seems to be to simplistic. In particular, the influence of the input thresholds is currently not considered.

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Porting of a RISC-V soft-core SoC (PULPissimo) to another FPGA platform

ECS: Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Andreas STEININGER, 05. 07. 2019

PULPissimo is the improved successor of PULPino, which is an open-source SoC platform implementing a RISC-V-based microcontroller.
This family of processors was developed by the ETH Zürich and the University of Bologna as part of the PULP project: https://pulp-platform.org
The main focus of PULPissimo's development so far was on simulation and ASIC implementations. However, there also exists an implementation of PULPissimo for a Digilent Genesys 2 FPGA development board (hosting a Xilinx Kintex-7) using Xilinx Vivado for synthesis.

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Automatic Verification Framework of VHDL Code examples

ECS: Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Andreas STEININGER, Univ.Ass. Dipl.-Ing. Dipl.-Ing. BSc Jürgen MAIER, 05. 07. 2019

In the lecture Hardware Modeling training examples are provided via TUWEL
however it is not possible for the students to check if their solution is
working correctly. Therefore a framework is desired that accepts a piece of
code, runs test benches and reports the result back to the user. The used
procedure thereby has to satisfy the DSGVO and a certain level of security.

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Increasing Resilience of Schmitt Triggers against Metastability

ECS: Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Andreas STEININGER, Univ.Ass. Dipl.-Ing. Dipl.-Ing. BSc Jürgen MAIER, 05. 07. 2019

Schmitt Triggers, often used to block metastable voltages, can be driven into
metastability themselves. In detail it is possible to hold any voltage value between
ground and the supply voltage value at the output for an arbitrary amount of
time. To achieve these values gets however harder the faster the Schmitt Trigger
can operate, i.e., the higher the output derivatives gets. Of course this could
be achieved by scaling everything which is however not very beneficial. It is
therefore crucial to know which part of which component has a high impact on the
slope and just tune that parameter.

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Implementation of Pointer Authentication on a 32-bit RISC-V CPU

ECS: Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Andreas STEININGER, 05. 07. 2019

Pointer Authentication (PA) is a method to strengthen the resilience of computer systems against attacks exploiting memory corruption.
If an attacker is able to redirect pointers she might gain control about the execution flow eventually.
Pointer Authentication is able to detect such modifications from unauthorized places in the code and thus thwart the malign consequences.
Industry has taken up this idea already from academia and is adding support to new implementations of existing microarchitectures (e.g., on ARMv8.3).

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Development of a VxWorks Board Support Package for the Pandaboard

ECS: Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Ulrich SCHMID, 23. 10. 2015

VxWorks (WindRiver) is a very popular real-time operating system for embedded platforms. The purpose of this project is to develop a Board Support Package (BSP) for the popular "Pandaboard" (http://www.omappedia.org/wiki/PandaBoard), which is based on the Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 processor (dual-core ARM9). The development can start from the existing Linux-BSP for the Pandaboard and the existing VxWorks BSPs for OMAP3-based platforms.

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Evaluation of operating systems for microcontrollers in wireless embedded systems

ECS: Projektass.(FWF) Dipl.-Ing. BSc Martin PERNER, 30. 01. 2014

The scope of this work is to evaluate the difference between operating systems, e.g., TinyOS and contiki, on battery powered AT86RF230 RCB motes, with regards to performance, code size and architectural design style.

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Efficient Interfacing Between Timing Domains

ECS: Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Andreas STEININGER, Univ.Ass. Dipl.-Ing. Bakk.techn. Robert NAJVIRT, Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Thomas POLZER, 03. 10. 2012

Within a closed timing domain the setup/hold requirements of all stateful elements can be safely met. Examples are a globally synchronous clock domain or an asynchronous handshake domain. Often it is, however, necessary to exchange signals between two (or more) such timing domains, which inevidently leads to metastability problems at the interfaces.
Your task will be to compile and compare existing solutions for this problem (assumptions, overheads, throughput, upset rate,...), using analytic models and analog simulations. The whole matrix of interfaces between synchronous systems, bounded delay systems and delay insensitive systems shall be covered, considering the diverse levels of synchrony (mesochronous, plesiochronous) and the asynchropnous handshake protocols (2-phase, 4-phase). Where required, new solutions shall be developed, and existing ones be improved. Applicable tools for the proof of concept as well as the assessment of the solutions' properties are simulation and FPGA prototype implementation.

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Can we trust the chips of the future?

ECS: Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Andreas STEININGER, 07. 08. 2012

Recently concerns have been raised that some chips used in military applications have security problems: The suspect is that the fab has introduced a backdoor into the hardware. Announcements like this raise the question whether hardware is becoming prone to security threads like trojans, backdoors etc. that have so far been deemed to be "software only". Your task will be to investigate this issue in a literature study and develop a catalog of potential threads and related case reports.

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