Embedded system education: a new paradigm for engineering schools?


Embedded systems are emerging as an essential component of modern electronic products. Embedded system design problems are posing challenges that involve entirely new skills for engineers. These skills are related to the combination of traditionally disjoint engineering disciplines. There is a shared concern that today’s educational systems are not providing the appropriate foundations for embedded systems. We believe a new education paradigm is needed.We will argue this point using the example of an emerging curriculum on embedded systems at the University of California at Berkeley. This curriculum is the result of a distillation process of more than ten years of intense research work. We will present the considerations that are driving the curriculum development and we review our undergraduate and graduate program. In particular, we describe in detail a graduate class (EECS249: Design of Embedded Systems: Modeling, Validation and Synthesis) that has been taught for six years. A common feature of our education agenda is the search for fundamentals of embedded system science rather than embedded system design techniques, an approach that today is rather unique.