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ECE/BENG-492 SENIOR ADVANCED DESIGN PROJECT. Meeting #1. 20 Jan 2011. ECE-492 SENIOR ADVANCED DESIGN PROJECT. Course Coordinator (CC): Dr. Pachowicz Technical Advisors: Prof. Michael F. Young and Prof. Carl Schaefer Faculty Supervisor (FC): (a faculty associated with ECE Dept.)

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Meeting #1

20 Jan 2011

Ece 492 senior advanced design project

  • Course Coordinator (CC): Dr. Pachowicz

  • Technical Advisors: Prof. Michael F. Young and Prof. Carl Schaefer

  • Faculty Supervisor (FC): (a faculty associated with ECE Dept.)

  • Associate Chair (AC): Dr. Aksoy

  • Enrollment requirement: Senior status

  • Course materials on the web:

    • Pamphlet, Schedule, Meeting presentation slides, Resources

  • Textbook

    • “Design for Electrical and Computer Engineers” by R.M. Ford and Ch.S. Coulston

    • PPT presentation slides

    • Magazines: Circuit Cellar (GMU library)


  • This is a very competitive effort – seriously, watch out !

    • During the final presentation, your project will be compared against the other projects

    • Your project will be evaluated by many people

    • Continuity of project progress will have a significant influence on your grade

  • Resume and job factor

  • Hook up early – do not waste time

  • Warning

    • If your project is delayed, you will have a difficulty to make up lost time. The quality will suffer.

    • ECE Dept. does not hesitate to issue unsatisfactory grades

Scheduled meetings
Scheduled Meetings

  • Class meetings

    • See Schedule and Due Dates sheet

    • Attendance is mandatory (on-time and late signup sheets)

  • Team meetings

    • Mandatory team meeting required at least once a week! All team members must attend. This is a formal requirement.

    • Meetings must be documented by “Weekly Task Allocation/Delivery” sheet. These sheets will be submitted to CC and/or FS on request.

  • Meeting your FS

    • Coordinate with your FS, but . . .

      You should establish some rules for getting feedback – e.g., meet your FS on Monday after delivering a document on Friday


The following are formal presentations in front of your FS and at least one more faculty:

  • Week #7

    • Proposal Presentation

  • Week #11

    • Design Review Presentation

ECE-492 Activities and Milestones


Week 1  Class meeting #1

Week 2  Class meeting#2

Week 3  Class meeting #3

 Project selection deadline

Week 4  Class meeting #4

Week 5

Week 6  Class meeting #5

Week 7  Proposal and Oral Presentation

Week 8

Week 9  Class meeting #6

Week 10

Week 11  Design Review and Presentation

Week 12  Class meeting #7

Week 13

Week 14  DesignDocument

  • Project selection

  • Research

  • Proposal preparation

  • Detail design

  • Testing parts

  • Early prototyping


  • Week #3

    • Project Title Form

  • Week #7

    • Proposal

  • Week #11

    • Design Review Presentation slides

  • Week #14

    • Design Document

      (For cover page format – see ECE-492 pamphlet)

Ece 492 outcome
ECE 492 Outcome (!)

  • For successful completion of ECE 492 you must have:

    • Detail design of your system

    • Model of your system operations (functional)

    • Implementation plan

  • Key to success

    • Apply top-down approach

    • Start simple – complicate later

    • Run extensive early prototyping effort

    • Show discipline in organization and planning

Coaching materials on the course page
Coaching Materials on the Course Page

  • Coaching materials are in form of meeting presentation slides

    • To serve as a guidance for your team

    • To avoid mistakes made by previous teams

    • To provide essential information so you can benefit. Topics include:

      • Engineering design

      • Teams and Teaming

      • Project selection

      • Requirements specification and analysis

      • Conceptual design

      • System design

      • Presentations

      • Project management

      • Testing

  • ECE Seminars – given by Prof. Young and others

  • Study textbook seriously


  • This is only a guidance – your FS may apply his/her own priorities

  • Components:

    • Proposal (overall quality) (15 points max)

    • Proposal presentation (overall quality) (15 points max)

    • Design Review (design progress) (15 points max)

    • Functional design, Requirements analysis, and System architecture (based on Design Document) (15 points max)

    • Detail design at circuit/algorithm level (based on Design Document) (20 points max)

    • Early prototyping (based on Design Document and presentation to FS) (10 points max)

    • Experimentation plan; Task decomposition, description and scheduling for the ECE-493 semester (based on Design Document) (10 points max)

  • Two team evaluations will be completed

  • Costs

    • Parts/material/software cost should not exceed $600, in general

    • Consider different strategies to limit costs

    • Costs of sponsored projects – under individual considerations

    Project selection
    Project Selection

    • You have another 2 weeks to select your topic and build/organize your team (this includes research devoted to this task)

    • Do not rush with the final selection


    • Consider (~3) alternative projects

    • Analyze each alternative and make your decision based on preliminary study of the domain

    • Do not encounter very easy or very difficult projects

      • There is not much time to educate yourself from scratch

      • The effort must justify the size of your team (plan optional activities)

      • Your project will compete against others

    Sources of project topics
    Sources of Project Topics or are a continuation of previous work

    • Faculty suggested projects

      • A list of faculty suggested topics is provided

      • Talk to the faculty suggesting these topics to learn more

    • Independent topics suggested by students

      • You need to discuss a suggested topic with the CC first

      • Project must be doable, but not trivial/oversimplified

    • Industry sponsored topics

      • Sometimes we have projects provided by corporate sponsors; or you can look at your own workplace for such a project

      • Special considerations are needed in such a case

      • You cannot use company employees to work on your project

    • Heilmeier’s questions in project selection process or are a continuation of previous work

      • What are you trying to do? Articulate your goals.

      • How is it done today, and what are the limitations of current practice?

      • What is new in your approach, and why do you think it will be successful?

      • Who cares? If you are successful, what difference will it make?

      • What are the risks and payoffs

      • How much will it cost? How long will it take?

      • What are midterm and final milestones to check for success?

    How to define your own project
    How to Define Your Own Project? or are a continuation of previous work

    • Seriously look at your hobbies or things that interest you

    • Do not reinvent the wheel – Instead, identify a need for an improvement, new add-ons, etc.

    • Project title must come as an

      “Identification of Need”

    • Stay away from projects involving hazards and no ‘flying objects’, please

    Selection process
    Selection Process or are a continuation of previous work

    • Once you determine ~3 candidate topics (from the list, your own, or industry sponsored), do your research !

    • For each topic write a Problem Statement composed of the following two parts (see next slide):

      • Identification of a need

      • Objectives statement

  • Having this step done in writing will test your understanding of preselected topics

  • If you propose your own topic, you need to do it very carefully to attract other students

  • See examples in Chapter 2

    • ‘Need’ part or are a continuation of previous work

      • Briefly and clearly state the need being addressed

      • Do not talk about a solution

      • Provide supporting information, statistics, etc.

      • Describe current limitations

    • ‘Objective’ part

      • Summarize what is being proposed to meet the need

      • Provide some top-level preliminary design objectives (top-level requirements)

      • Provide a preliminary description of

        • Technical solution, avoiding a detailed description of the implementation

        • Inputoutput system behavior

    Case study 1 identification of need objectives statement
    CASE STUDY or are a continuation of previous work#1< Identification of Need >< Objectives Statement >

    Teams and teaming
    Teams and Teaming or are a continuation of previous work

    • Motivation

      • Engineering projects are far too large to be carried out by a single person: You must work on a team

      • High-performance teams can significantly outperform equal number of individuals working in isolation

      • Employers desire it – consistently listed as one of the top skills required of engineers

    • What is a team?

      “A small group of people with complementary skills, who are committed to a common performance, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”, Katzenbach and Smith

    Ece 492 3 is a group effort
    ECE-492/3 is a Group Effort or are a continuation of previous work

    • Teams of 3 students to be formed at a time of topic selection

    • Team members should complement their skills and knowledge

    • Personality differences among members are not relevant. The common goal is all that matters !

    • Keep yourself organized and work through frustration

    • Focus on your assigned task and get the JOB DONE

    • Plan ahead

      • Planning will help you to run project faster and ‘safer’

      • Think what can go wrong and always have a ‘Plan B’

      • Did I mention a ‘Plan C’ ?

    • Important! All team members must be familiar with all technical aspects of the project. Share your knowledge. Learn new material.

    For the next meeting
    For the Next Meeting or are a continuation of previous work

    • Read ECE-492 Pamphlet

    • Research topics of potential interest – you should have a grasp of what it takes to succeed at the end

    • Talk to a topic FS immediately

    • Read textbook – Chapter 2 and Chapter 9

    • Next meeting:

      • Project selection session

      • Teaming

      • Project Manager

    Project selection session
    Project Selection Session or are a continuation of previous work

    • List of projects on the blackboard

    • Goal: identify your preliminary interests

    • Please put your initials on 3 topics

    • Identify other students of similar interests

    • Student suggested topics will be put on the blackboard in a separate section