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Digital Design and Computer Architecture 2nd Edition

Digital Design and Computer Architecture 2nd Edition pdf

Digital Design and Computer Architecture, Second Edition, takes a unique and modern approach to digital design, introducing the reader to the fundamentals of digital logic and then showing step by step how to build a MIPS microprocessor in both Verilog and VHDL. This new edition combines an engaging and humorous writing style with an updated and hands-on approach to digital design. It presents new content on I/O systems in the context of general purpose processors found in a PC as well as microcontrollers found almost everywhere.

Beginning with digital logic gates and progressing to the design of combinational and sequential circuits, the book uses these fundamental building blocks as the basis for the design of an actual MIPS processor. It provides practical examples of how to interface with peripherals using RS232, SPI, motor control, interrupts, wireless, and analog-to-digital conversion. SystemVerilog and VHDL are integrated throughout the text in examples illustrating the methods and techniques for CAD-based circuit design. There are also additional exercises and new examples of parallel and advanced architectures, practical I/O applications, embedded systems, and heterogeneous computing, plus a new appendix on C programming to strengthen the connection between programming and processor architecture.

This new edition will appeal to professional computer engineers and to students taking a course that combines digital logic and computer architecture.

  • Updated based on instructor feedback with more exercises and new examples of parallel and advanced architectures, practical I/O applications, embedded systems, and heterogeneous computing
  • Presents digital system design examples in both VHDL and SystemVerilog (updated for the second edition from Verilog), shown side-by-side to compare and contrast their strengths
  • Includes a new chapter on C programming to provide necessary prerequisites and strengthen the connection between programming and processor architecture
  • Companion Web site includes links to Xilinx CAD tools for FPGA design, lecture slides, laboratory projects, and solutions to exercises
  • Instructors can also register at for access to: Solutions to all exercises (PDF), Lab materials with solutions, HDL for textbook examples and exercise solutions, Lecture slides (PPT), Sample exams, Sample course syllabus, Figures from the text (JPG, PPT)

Book Review by The Preptorial Foundation, Inc.

This is one of very few (arguably the only one) texts that combines and integrates digital design with actual architecture– high and detail level. For the new (2nd) 2013 edition, Harris and Harris still teach simpler/ elegant systems that beginning Engineers and hobbyists love like MIPS and PIC 32, however they also add very recent and modern design and implementation solutions including parallel and multicore processors, the x86, multithreading, out of order and superscalar operations and branch prediction, to name a few. These topics are not only state of the art, but normally covered in grad rather than undergrad courses.

The thorny issues of parallel programming start at the assembly level, and it is astonishing and refreshing that these authors integrate methods as high level as embedded C and as basic as the digital circuits that implement assembly, and then relate them to considerations like temperature, memory, component sharing of workloads (the GPU often doubles as a CAS implementer or APU in these days where “math coprocessors” have been eliminated), etc.

Every Engineer and hobbyist knows that getting a serious shot at a patent means implementation beyond simulation. That is where this new edition really shines. Other texts are out of date in a few months– Harris and Harris give web and manufacturer resources that are available NOW (we checked), from design to finished boards. The authors also assume that after you spent your entire budget on this book you will appreciate cheap, open source solutions to getting to that million dollar patent. They don’t disappoint– the “lab” includes cheapware and freeware in the form of IDEs/SDKs like Quartus II, MPLAB and Synplify, then take your favorite HDL (Verilog OR VHDL) and move from IDE output to code. Finally, the authors give altera alternatives in boards like the DE2 that are specifically designed to execute educational, developmental and student code– as well as hobbyists!

A REALLY cool feature if you’re getting into this as a career– each chapter has sample interview questions for your next job. Like good programming books, the authors CARE that you get that job and include examples of what you’ll be asked, with great answers on their support websites.

All in all, a GREAT update to their first trend setting text, and a hands on manual on “how to” build your own chipset. If you’re an OOP person you might be shocked that they cover C so much, but you’ve got to realize that “high level” at the circuit to assembly level is STILL C, and not so much Ada, Python, C# or Java (yet). Some other reviews around the web and in previous editions zinged them about this, but those reviewers aren’t in the real world– even for the most modern 2013 luxury autos with 60+ embedded chips, when designers go beyond assembly, they still default to C. Just because it’s not OOP doesn’t mean it’s dead! If your own design prefers Python, or you’re a JAVA junkie, fret not– there are plenty of libraries that will handshake with assembly since embedded is the wave of the future, and this text is just as relevant. Eiffel even has a plug in that you can run on Visual Studio, and “lunch” off of your C# SDK to debug a second language– although, granted, they are both OOP.

NOTE FOR EDUCATORS: If you’re a Junior College ID or exec/ dept. head, you might consider using this book as the basis for a year long course on circuit design to either prepare your grads for an AS/AA in electronics, or as a step to the EE. Once the grad gets into the real world of multi core, they will quickly find that “it’s about the memory, stupid” that causes most performance challenges– on board being heat and size costly, off board being time and speed costly, with cpu “work arounds” suprisingly more common than memory innovations– a PERFECT field for that new patent.

Many colleges are getting into “game programming” curricula because they offer an applied exposure to math, OOP, etc. This book gives you a non-herd alternative for your school– with labs that ROCK. I’m an ID at ClassPros, and the schools at which we set up circuit design courses have even used the strategy to partner with name brand 4 year colleges in continuing on to the EE for the brightest students. GET THIS BOOK, and then think about how magnificently it would fit in such a curriculum!

5 Stars– a great start to getting that award-winning, financially rewarding patent on your new chip design, OR introducing a sim lab oriented, fun-project, high STEM curriculum item to your school– go for it!


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