Course syllabus


DAT096 Embedded system design project VT21 (15 hp) period 3 and 4

Revised January 13, 2021

Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

Course purpose

The overall aim of the course is that the students should learn how to critically, independently, and creatively identify, formulate, and solve a complex problem. This is achieved by letting the students put the theory and training from the fall to use in designing a complex electronic/embedded system in a group project.


Contact details

Examiner, scrum & team support: Lena Peterson, Room 4113, 031-772 1822,

Co-product owner neural network project,  & technical expert: Sven Knutsson, Room 4455A 031-772 5727

Co-product owner neural network project: Arne Linde 031-772 1683

Product owner, quantum computer project: Christian Krizan: 0767073757

Ethics task: Per Larsson-Edefors

ILA lab: TBD

Diversity & intercultural communication: Becky Bergman, Language and communication division

All teaching staff, except Becky Bergman and Christian Krizan, have their offices at the CSE dept. Lena, Sven, Arne and Per  in on the 4th floor. Christian is located in the MC2 building. In any e-mail communication with the teaching staff, be sure to include the string “DAT096” in the Subject line of your email.

You can also use conversations in Canvas, which is sometimes preferable because those messages do not get mixed up with other e-mail. You find these messages under Inbox in the leftmost menu (the blue one, not the one related to the course).

Course literature

We do not require any book about Agile methods in general or Scrum, although it can be a good idea to consult one. A short description of Scrum can be found here in the Scrum guide: (Links to an external site.)

Highly recommended, but not strictly required, is: Creating Effective Teams, A Guide for Members and Leaders by Susan A Wheelan, SAGE publications (ISBN 978143346120). This book is available from the online bookstore Bokus, for example. We recommend that each group purchase at least one copy to share. Older editions are also OK to use.

In addition, literature from previous courses will be useful. Pointers to additional suitable resources such as books, articles and web pages (and sometimes the documents themselves) will be posted on the course website. Teams will also be expected to actively seek supplementary technical information using the web, IEEE Xplore, the Chalmers library, and other resources.

Course design

Project teams of four to six students work on a design task - we aim for four students this year to make it easier for the teams to meet. There are six or seven teams this year.  We have two project tasks.


The course runs during study periods 3 and 4 and gives 15 credit points. This corresponds to 50% of a full course load. Taking more than one 7.5 hp course per study period in parallel with DAT096 will affect your effort in this course to the detriment of team performance and is not recommended. The teams are expected to use scrum (an agile project method) to manage their work. The teachers have divided the students into teams. We have also assigned a suggested first scrum master.

Several time slots each week are assigned to DAT096 in TimeEdit. Most of these slots are lab slots. If there are specific lab assignments, teaching staff will be available in the course lab during the assigned times. This is mainly the case in the beginning of the course. Later on, you will generally need to make an appointment via e-mail if you need to consult an expert. We plan to have TAs to help in the lab at specific times.

In addition to the scheduled lab slots, the labs may be used at other times when they are not occupied for other courses. Please note: if you work in the lab outside of the scheduled hours, and the lab is needed for another course, you must yield your space! (There have been some problems with this principle in previous years; please make an effort to avoid that this year).

A number of lectures will provide technical background and additional information about the design process the writing process and the work performed in the teams. The lecture slots will not be used all weeks. The detailed schedule is not included here. We will use the Canvas calendar for this information. We hope to arrange at least one study visits to provide some insight on how similar work is carried out in industry. Time for this have not been decided yet.

For period 3 each team is to agree on a time for weekly half-hour meeting with the team & scrum support person (we will see if we need these meetings also in period 4.) There are also technical experts to support the teams. We will see if we need scheduled technical meetings in addition to sprint planning and sprint reviews. Additional interaction with experts and other course staff may be scheduled as required.


As a project tool for Scrum the teams will use Trello, which is a quite simple and free tool.

Software tools used during previous courses will be used in DAT096 as well. Furthermore, each team will have access to one Nexus4 board from Xilinx, with an Artix- 7 FPGA. We also have the AC 701 boards which have the same type of FPGA. You need to use Vivado with these boards.

During the course, team members will collectively author reports and develop a system. Each team will have a common file area. You will need a versioning system. This year we will try to use git.  For backup, sharing files among computers and collaboration on text you can also use Box, which is freely available within Chalmers and is also connected to Canvas (although we have not figured out exactly how that works).

For the writing we recommend ShareLaTeX for which Chalmers has a site license.

Teams are encouraged to use additional software tools (such as Excel, MATLAB, Simulink, . . . ) as required to solve the design tasks.

Scrum and sprint timing

In this year’s course we will use Scrum for the fifth time. According to the scrum model, a sprint is 1-4 calendar weeks long. We have decided have no less than four sprints in this course. The first two sprints are three-week sprints – then it is up to each team to decide. This schedule will avoid having an end-of-sprint right at the exam period between period 3 and 4. After the second sprint a team can select to use shorter sprints if so desired. We do not allow sprints longer than three calendar (study) weeks. Before the first sprint there is a planning period of three weeks, so sprint 1 starts on Monday Feb 10.  A tentative time line for the sprints will be posted in Canvas.

Lena Peterson will be the main support for Scrum. She will arrange weekly meetings for the Scrum masters as long as deemed desirable. She will also have weekly meetings with each team. After sprint 2 each team must decide on a new scrum master. You are allowed to change scrum master more often than that, but not during a sprint.


The main purpose of this course is to give you the opportunity to learn how to attack a complex problem with no known solution in a team setting that resembles the one found in industry today. This university environment is probably a safer place to try out new roles and take on tasks that you have never tackled before than your first job. If you you do not succeed with your prototype design, nothing really bad will happen in this course. The course is designed so that the product quality is only a minor part of the assessment. Thus, the product design goal is not the only thing to consider when you decide who will do what in your team. Take the opportunity to try on new things, both as a team, and as a team member.

Reports, other submissions and presentations

The major reports as described here are all part of examination, and it follows that the examiner will need to approve them. For the two major versions of the final report, contents are also to be presented orally. Two oral presentations are to be given by each team throughout the project; each team member has to present on at least one of these occasions. Presence at these two presentations is mandatory for all students. If there is any problem, for example due to examination in another course, you must contact Lena Peterson as soon as possible. All submitted documents will be checked for plagiarism using the Urkund system. All submissions are to be done in Canvas except for the team agreement. All deadlines are stated in detail under examination below.

Team agreement & student representative

The team agreement is to be handed in, in a sealed envelope marked with the team name, to Lena when sprint 1 starts (Monday Feb 8). A template for the team agreement is available in Canvas. By this deadline, each team also must propose two students, preferably one Swedish and one international, who could be the student representative for the team.

Individual ethics assignment

During period 3 (deadline Friday March 5) each student has to complete an individual ethics assignment.  More information about the assignment will be provided by Per Larsson-Edefors who will also introduce the ethics section in a lecture (February 15).

Intermediate individual team assessment

Towards the end of study period 3 (Thursday March 4) each student is to submit his or her individual assessment of all team member’s contribution to the team effort so far. It will be in the form of a form. The compiled result of this assessment serves as an input for a team reflection meeting, which will take place at the end of study period 3. In this meeting you will have support from Becky Bergman. Each team will need to sign up for a meeting time by a choodle.

Half-time academic report & presentation

Each team submits a preliminary version of its academic report (Thursday March 25 - end of week 1 study period 4). The team also presents its results so far in a presentation which is carried out by 2-3 students in the team. All other students are present for the presentations (Monday March 29 in the afternoon).

The preliminary version of the final report should contain at least introduction, problem formulation, technical background, and a section on results so far (this section will probably not be part of the report in its final version) including preliminary conclusions. The report should adhere to the HISS criteria and have correct references according to the IEEE citation style. More details about the report will be given in separate document.

There is no revision of the half-time report unless it is deemed unsatisfactory. In that case the team gets feedback that the report in unsatisfactory within a week after the submission and has another week to fix the the shortcomings (but due to Easter break it is due on Monday ... ).

Each team gets detailed feedback on their report no later than Friday April ... . Some feedback will also be given in class already on Monday April ...  (otherwise it will be very late due to many Mondays disappearing).

Final academic report &  presentation

Each team submits the final version of its academic report (Wedneday May 26). The team also presents the results in a presentation which is carried out by 2-3 students in the team. All other students are present for the presentations (Monday May 31).

The report should adhere to the HISS criteria (see separate document in Canvas) and have correct references according to the IEEE citation style. More details about the report will be given in separate document.

There is no revision of the final report unless it is deemed unsatisfactory. In that case the team gets feedback that the report in unsatisfactory no later than a week after the submission and has another week to fix the the shortcomings.

We will not give detailed feedback on the final report, because it would take too long to compile.

Product with documentation

The complete code, design database or similar is to be submitted (in digital form; NOT on paper), with documentation including information about tests that have been performed, and the results of the tests. The documentation is intended for use by other engineers to continue the work of developing the prototype into a product; we do not require any end-user documentation.

Contribution report

The purpose of the contribution report is to clarify who has done what for the examiner. The individual log books of the team members serve as a base for the contribution report. It is therefore important that the individual log books are detailed enough for this purpose. The contribution report should have one section per team member. Suitable headings to use are “General contributions to the project”, “Specific responsibilities /tasks”, and “Specific contributions to reports and documentation”.

Final individual team assessment

At the end of the course (Sunday May 30) each student is to submit his or her individual assessment of all team member’s contribution to the team effort. The template for this assessment will be available in Canvas. The compiled result of this assessment serves as an input for the grade distribution and the team closeout meeting meeting, which will take place during the exam week.

Changes made since the last occasion

  • Adaptation to remote teaching of beginning of course.
  • New project about FPGA implementation of neural network
  • Conflict management workshop earlier due to Easter break.
  • Moved the course-evaluation questionnaire back to the usual times.
  • Some other small updates here and there.

Examination form

The exact rules for the assessment are complex and can be found in this document:


Some important aspects are repeated below:

The course is graded U,3,4,5. The grade is individual but is based on an assessment of the team’s joint work. To pass the course, teams must submit acceptable reports and other deliverables on time, and when applicable revise reports as required before the corresponding revision deadline. For details about required submissions and deadlines, see above. Deadlines are given below.

Additionally, it is possible to individually fail the course by not taking part in the team effort. Course staff will monitor team and individual efforts and will ask follow-up questions when necessary. After sprint 1 and sprint 2 and the half-time report, the teachers will assess the individual efforts of all students. At that time, any student who risks individual failure will receive feedback about this.

Students who for personal reasons (such as travel) are absent during part of the work must negotiate division of labor with the rest of the team in advance. Planned absence in excess of two weeks during the study periods will not be accepted regardless of team opinion.

If you fall ill and it lasts more than a week you must immediately notify Lena & Sven and your team.

Each student is required to keep a personal logbook detailing the work carried out each day. Because Canvas does not have a logbook feature we will try to use either MS word (on-line) or google docs this year which we hope will work better.

This logbook must be updated at least once per week (preferably no later than Sunday night) and be detailed enough to make it possible for the teachers to judge student effort. (Example: “Monday: VHDL debugging, 2h; lecture, 2h; team meeting, 1h”). The personal logbooks are also useful for team transparency and follow-up. Note: Failure to keep the personal logbook updated is tantamount to not taking part in team effort, as above, and is therefore grounds for failing the course.

You should also have a team logbook. The Scrum master is responsible for the team log book, but the task can be delegated to another team member. In the team logbook should be three things:

  1. A brief summary of the work carried out during the past week.
  2. Any major decisions taken by the team during the past week.
  3. Any impediments or questions the team wants to bring up.

There is no obvious place for the team logbook in Canvas, so we suggest you create a team document for which you share with the teachers.

To fill its purpose the team logbook should be updated at least by midnight the day before the meeting between team and team support person (Lena).

The deadlines for specific submissions, dates for presentations etc. for 2021 are:

Monday February 8 23.59 Team turns in completed team agreement and its proposals (one-two students) for student representative. Team agreement should be turned in on paper, signed by all team members, in sealed envelope to Lena. (Slide it under door if she's not in her office).

Thursday March 4 23.59 Intermediate individual team assessment. Individual Canvas assignment. The compilation of these assessments will serve as background for the compulsory team reflection meeting with Becky Bergman which will be scheduled for the following week (week 8 in study period 3).

Friday March 5 23.59 Individual ethics assignment. Individual Canvas assignment.

Friday March 26 23.59 Half-time academic report for each team. Team Canvas assignment.

Monday March 29 in the afternoon in the span 13.15-17.00 Half-time presentations. Due to possible clashes with parallel courses we may have to modify the start and end time to accommodate all presenters. 2-3 students should present for each team. All other students should be present for the presentations. If you cannot be present you have to clear this with Lena Peterson beforehand.

Wednesday May 26 23.59 Final academic report for each team. Team Canvas assignment.

Friday May 28 23.59 Product with documentation and Contribution report. Two team Canvas assignments.

Sunday May 30 23.59 Final Individual team assessment. Individual Canvas assignment

Monday May 31  (exact times TBD). Final presentations. 2-3 students should present for each team (the ones that did not present at half time). All other students should be present for the presentations. If you cannot be present you have to clear this with Lena Peterson beforehand.

Final individual team assessment Individual Canvas assignment must we submitted 24 hours before the team's closeout meeting, which means the deadline is different for different teams.

Exam week Team reflection report and project closeout report. Due to other constraints we schedule this meeting separately for each team. The closeout report is due 24 hours before the closeout meeting, so the deadline is different for different teams.

Learning objectives and syllabus

After the course the student should be able to:

1 Apply her/his technical expertise to a multi-person project where an electronic product (FPGA / ASIC) is specified, designed, implemented, and verified.

2 Proficiently use modern EDA tools for FPGAs / ASICs.

3 Contribute, in several team roles, to a multi-person project where an industry like project model is used. This includes planning, follow-up and trade offs under resource constraints.

4 Reflect on the group process in an international team.

5 Write an academic report, with several authors, describing a product development project, with correct handling of references and including relevant ethical aspects.

6 Document an electronic product technically, including testing and verification documentation.

7 Design a presentation, with time constraints, and deliver it.

The complete syllabus can be found here:


Course summary:

Date Details Due