UC San Diego Master of Advanced Study Program Uses NI Platforms to Provide Professional Hands-On Embedded and Communications Experience

SAN DIEGO- The University of California, San Diego flagship Master of Advanced Study (MAS) program in Wireless and Embedded Systems, a technical executive education program catering to engineering professionals, has adopted National Instruments platforms to provide a unique hands-on experience for participants. The program, co-directed by Dr. Ryan Kastner and Dr. George Papen, offers a new cross-disciplinary education paradigm providing high-level training for professional engineers who plan to become technical leaders in the areas of signal processing, embedded computing and wireless communications.

"The Wireless Embedded Systems Program engages students in state-of-the-art engineering that will lead to the development of next-generation wireless and embedded devices," said Dr. Kastner, program co-director and professor of computer science and engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering. "The classes are project-oriented with a focus on laboratory exercises that connect models of computation and real-world systems, which NI's platforms provide through a graphical system design approach and scalability among hardware."

The directors of the MAS program chose NI Single-Board RIO embedded microcontrollers, USRP(TM) (Universal Software Radio Peripheral) software defined radios, and NI LabVIEW system design software for model-based design of wireless, embedded and cyber-physical systems. The unified software framework and tightly integrated hardware platform delivers industry-standard equipment into the classroom to provide real-world hands-on experiences.

"NI's tools utilize tight hardware/software integration that facilitates a more comprehensive learning experience on a cohesive platform," said James Kimery, director of software defined radio and RF/Communications at National Instruments. "Our software defined radio technology leverages this integration to employ a graphical system design approach for rapid prototyping capabilities, which delivers faster time to results, or in this case, faster time to understanding concepts in wireless and embedded systems."

Students cover a broad range of topics such as FPGA-based hardware design, C programming of real-time operating systems, graphical system design for embedded systems and wireless multiple input multiple output (MIMO) communications, and model-based design for cyber-physical systems using signal processing, 3D physics simulation, and Statechart programming techniques. Hardware and software donated by Xilinx Inc. and Wind River Systems, Inc. paired with the LabVIEW design environment helps participants explore embedded systems design at multiple levels of abstraction.

"Teaching practical design in embedded systems today requires convergence of a number of diverse technologies, from reprogrammable hardware to high-level programming methodologies in a single platform," said Rajesh Gupta, professor and Qualcomm endowed chair of computer science. "NI provides a flexible platform that spans the hardware and software stack, allowing students to see the enormous design and optimization possibilities."

The hands-on focus of the UC San Diego MAS program is unique, with labs, exercises, and projects designed to provide participants with experience they can immediately use in their professional careers. The two-year program is now in its second year, with more than 50 students enrolled in the first two cohorts.

"NI's industry-standard technology provides a seamless transition from the classroom to the lab," said Dr. George Papen, program co-director and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering. "We are developing a program that gives students the hands-on experience needed to excel in their technical careers. The ease of use, affordable price point and technical and visualization capabilities of LabVIEW and the USRP hardware allows us to expand these labs into our undergraduate programs in the near future."

The next round of enrollment for the MAS program begins in Fall 2012.

About National Instruments

Since 1976, National Instruments (www.ni.com) has equipped engineers and scientists with tools that accelerate productivity, innovation and discovery. NI's graphical system design approach to engineering provides an integrated software and hardware platform that speeds the development of any system needing measurement and control. The company's long-term vision and focus on improving society through its technology supports the success of its customers, employees, suppliers and shareholders.

About the UC San Diego MAS Program in Wireless Embedded Systems The Master of Advanced Study (MAS) is a unique multidisciplinary degree program focused on technology areas crucial for future engineering advancements. Courses are taught by faculty from different departments within the Jacobs School of Engineering. The MAS is a graduate degree conferred by the University of California, San Diego designed primarily for professionals seeking academic rigor in advanced education.


Jeff C. Jensen, Senior Lead User Manager for Embedded Systems, National Instruments. jjensen@ni.com. For more information about National Instruments, visit www.ni.com.

Faye Chou Kurpanek, Director of Executive Education, University of California, San Diego. JacobsMAS@ucsd.edu. For more information on the UC San Diego MAS program, visit MASEng.ucsd.edu.

SOURCE UC San Diego; National Instruments

Web Site: maseng.ucsd.edu

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