Recommended lab sessions
It is anticipated that the majority of the readers of this text will be advanced
undergraduates or masters-level students pursuing a course called Computer
Science, Computing, Software Engineering, or some similar title. They will
probably have chosen to take an option in Real-time Systems Design, or
Development. Such modules normally include weekly lectures and practical
work in laboratories. So, the material covered in the following chapters rep-
resents only one component of their learning experience. The following list
of extended practical exercises is not a recommended schedule for a single
semester’s laboratory activity because each individual student will bring dif-
ferent experience and skills to the course. They have different ambitions and
expectations, so what they actually decide to do during the practical sessions
will vary. A variety and choice of laboratory work is always a popular factor
with students.
1. Introduction to I/O programming with Linux
2. Real-time motor control
3. Finite state methodology
4. SA/SD, real-time Yourdon, case study
5. OOD, case study
6. Configuring gcc cross-compilers
7. Cross-development methods
8. Synchronization and communications
9. Petri net methods
10. Point Of Sale (POS) network case study
An alternative and very effective strategy is to organize an extended case
study project, which involves design, implementation and test activities. This
develops and extends the students’ understanding throughout the semester,
and can be subdivided into component parts for each member of the team.
In this way, a wide range of technical skills and interests, from embedded
microcontrollers to Oracle database servers, can be integrated into a sin-
gle project, and assessed partly individually and partly as a team. Such
ix
x Recommended lab sessions
activity offers the extra benefit of enabling groups to work together on a
much larger assignment, certainly an important experience for undergraduate
students. A suitable idea which we have used recently is the development of
a POS network, with POS terminals, data concentrator and central database
server. This supplies a broad scope for design variation and allows for regular
enhancement to keep the technology up to date.

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