ECE 4501/6501, CS 6501 - Fall 2020
Real-time Embedded Systems


Embedded computing systems are special-purpose computers (e.g., micro-controllers, DSP processors) at the core of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) that are tightly integrated with the electronic and physical components and must operate within real-time performance, battery, and size constraints. They monitor and control the physical processes, through feedback loops where physical processes affect computations and vice versa. More than 90% of manufactured micro-processors go inside airplanes, automobiles, medical devices, digital cameras, toys, home appliances, and smart buildings. What are the building blocks of an embedded system? How can we design an embedded system and make sure our system satisfies specific functionality, reliability, and timing requirements? How can we bridge the gap between the inherently sequential embedded software with the intrinsic concurrency in the physical world?

This course will help you answer these questions by providing the foundational knowledge and hands-on experience in design and validation of embedded computing systems, with a focus on embedded C programming and real-time operating systems for ARM® Cortex™-M Microcontrollers.


  • Embedded system architectures
  • Embedded input and output (I/O)
    • Serial and parallel I/O
    • Interrupts
    • Asynchronous vs. synchronous interfaces
    • Analog I/O
  • Embedded software development
    • Embedded C programming
    • Memory management
    • Toolchains, debugging and profiling
  • Real-time operating systems
    • Thread and process management
    • Interrupt handling
    • Real-time scheduling
  • Quantitative analysis and validation
In the second half of the class, we will explore related topics and applications in safety and security, cyber-physical systems (CPS), internet of things (IoT), and robotics through paper presentations and discussions.


UVA Collab Site
GitHub Classroom

UVA Academic Calendar
Time: Tue/Thr 11:00 - 12:15 PM
Location: Thornton Hall E304
Lab Location: Rice 240 (Open 24/7)

Homa Alemzadeh,
Office: 259 Olsson Hall (Link Lab)
Office Hours: TBD

Teaching Assistants:

TA Office Hours: (Rice 240)
Monday TBD TBD
Tuesday TBD TBD
Wednesday TBD TBD
Thursday TBD TBD