A Labview Fpga Toolkit To Teach Digital Logic Design
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National Instruments (NI) has added the ability to graphically design digital circuitry in its LabVIEW development environment that can directly interface to and program Xilinx FPGA devices. The Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering Technology (EET/TET) Programs at Texas A & M University selected the Xilinx Spartan-3E Starter Board available from Digilent as the platform for use in its sophomore-level digital design and microcontroller architecture courses. In addition, the EET/TET faculty decided to use the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment for both of these courses. The resources offered by National Instruments in their commercially available LabVIEW FPGA Module were found not to be intuitive enough to fully support the digital design requirements of these courses which included both combinatorial as well as sequential logic. During summer 2008, NI sponsored a development project in partnership with the EET/TET Programs. Under the direction of the EET/TET faculty, a graduate student (former EET undergraduate student) was funded by National Instruments to develop a digital logic design toolkit that integrated into the NI LabVIEW software and allowed students to design using typical combinatorial and sequential logic devices that ranged from AND, OR, NOT gates to Flip Flops, Counters, Comparators, Selectors, Decoders, etc. This newly developed toolkit was tested during the Fall 2008 semester and version 1.0 of the toolkit should be available to other universities in Spring 2009. This paper presents the toolkit developed by students and faculty at Texas A & M University and recommendations for integrating the toolkit into the digital design sequence of engineering and engineering technology programs. American Society for Engineering Education, 2009.