System-on-Chip Technologies

Module Number: EI7384

Duration: 1 Semester

Occurence: Winter Semester

Language: English

Number of ECTS: 5


Professor in charge: Andreas Herkersdorf

Amount of work

Contact hours: 45

Self-study hours: 105

Total: 150

Description of achievement and assessment methods

The module exam is written. Students will demonstrate that they have gained both fundamental and deeper understanding in various aspects of System on Chip Technologies. The have to answer the questions with self-formulated responeses, checking boxes of multiple choise questions, sketch circuits or qualitative performance diagrams and do quantitative calcuations. The allowed support material is constraint to a single sheet, individually prepared reminder notice.

Exam type: written

Exam duration (min.): 75

Possibility of re-taking: In the next semester: yes. At the end of the semester: No

Homework: No

Lecture: No

Conversation: No

Written paper: No

Recommended requirements

Bachelor courses on semiconductor devices and digital circuits, basics in computer architecture


The course provides basics, current trends and challenges in the development of digital system-on-chip (SoC). We start with the main steps for building arbitrary CMSOS-based cominatorial logic and sequential digital data processing and control circuitry (e.g. Finite State Machines) and explaining their role and significance in the scope of key system-on-chip components: microprocessors, memories and interconnects. The microarchitectural structure and building blocks of processors elements (RISC cores), on-/off-chip memory technology (SRAM, DRAM, Flash), bus and point-to-point interconnect standards (Processor Local Bus, Advanced Microcontroller Bus Architecture, FIFO) as well as the design of communications specific arithmetic blocks (adder, multipliers, shift and comparators) will be introduced and analyzed. Finally, we will introduce main implementation methods for SoCs, such as FPGA, standard cell and full custom design, and discuss methods for low power design, which is vital for the development  of SoCs in embedded systems.

Study Goals

The objective of this course is to impart a general understanding of the structure and operation of systems-on-chip. Main building blocks of a system-on-chip, e.g. processor, on-/off-chip memories, interconnect are introduced. Implementation methods as well as techniques for low power consumption are addressed.

Teaching and learning methods

Lecture material is accompanied by corresponding tutorials.

Media formats

  • Presentations
  • Lecture notes
  • Exercises with solutions as download


  • J. Hennessy, "Computer Architecture. A Quantitative Approach", Elesevier
  • J. Rabaey, "Digital Integrated Circuits", Prentice Hall
  • N. Weste, K. Eshraghian, "Principles of CMOS VLSI Design" Addison Wesley