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Modern Embedded Systems with ARM Cores

Embedded systems form the basis for an increasing number of products in virtually all segments of economy. While there has been a lot of growth in embedded systems, recent tight integration of sensors and actuators, coupled with readily available networking, provide opportunity for even more explosive growth. The major architecture of embedded processors is ARM. It has recently created much more useable, efficient and powerful processor families that facilitate faster and better all-integrated development of embedded hardware, software, networking and sensing/actuating functions. Learning to use these processors is a good investment in future productivity.

Date: TBA
Time: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: 688 Sherbrooke Street West
Fee: $1,195 CAD plus applicable taxes


The workshop explains modern hardware and software techniques in developing embedded systems, with the emphasis on utilizing ARM Cortex M families of processor. Presented are the features that enable the ease-of-use, such as integrated debug control, the architectural optimizations such as efficient interrupt processing, and the software tools and the existing functionality enhancement in software. The course also explains modern system interfaces and the sensor and actuator integration techniques.

Who Should Attend

Engineers involved in embedded system design who need to upgrade their skills to the newest embedded processors; hardware and software engineers looking to quickly add to their skills the embedded system design.


At the end of this workshop the participants will be able to:

  • Understand the design methods, tools and flows in developing embedded systems;
  • Understand modern embedded processor architectures;
  • Know the advantages of modern ARM Cortex M processors for faster/better design, debug and execution;
  • Be able to use modern software frameworks for embedded systems including CMSIS-DSP and CMSIS-RTOS;
  • Understand the basics of multi-sensor integration in embedded systems.

Topics Covered


  • embedded systems landscape: languages, HW, design
  • computer systems: review and layered design approach
  • processor, memory and peripherals: interactions

ARM Cortex M3/M4 Organization

  • Cortex Instruction Set Architecture (ISA)
  • instruction and addressing module types, examples
  • ARM Assembler: directives, pseudo-instructions,
  • C Coding style for embedded systems
  • use of  language features, access to hardware

Tools and design methodology: modular design

  • Compiler specifics: procedure call conventions
  • Proc. calls (withFPU use), subroutines vs. macros
  • Linker and overlay files, library use with CMSIS

Debugger tool use: nonintrusive, real-time debug

Detailed ARM Cortex Processor architecture;

  • processor features, peripherals and interfacing
  • processor interfacing and IO: SPI, I2C,
  • clocking management, AMBA interfacing
  • debug infrastructure: TIM, ETM, FPB

Cortex microarchitecture: optimization and convenience features

  •  Memory overlay and FLASH memory use
  •  interrupt processing in ARM Cortex: optimized HW
  •  direct memory access (DMA) in ARM Cortex
  •  Peripherals: timer and sensors

Interfacing sensors for embedded systems and GUI

  • measures of merit (sensitivity, specificity, noise, …)
  • sensor calibration: accelerometer, gyroscope, others
  • sensor signal processing: denoising, feature extraction

Embedded OS primitives, real time processing

  • ARM Cortex ISA support for synchronization
  • Basic Real-time OS services
  • CMSIS-RT encapsulation of OS services


Dr. Zeljko Zilic is an associate professor at McGill University. He has obtained his Ph. D. degree from University of Toronto in 1997. He worked at Lucent Technologies in 1997-98. He has taught courses on microprocessor and embedded systems since joining McGill in 1998 and in that period he has designed novel laboratory kits and courses that extend the focus to wireless embedded systems and multi-sensor integration. For his teaching efforts, he has received the Wighton Fellowship by the National Council of Deans of Engineering and Applied Sciences of Canada.  He has written a dozen of papers on embedded systems education, including embedded wireless and multi-sensor training. He is also a prolific researcher, with over 200 research papers in the related areas, for which he has received several research awards. Dr. Zilic has also co-written three books that have served both as research monographs and course textbooks in graduate courses. In the research community, Dr. Zilic has served as a general and program chair of IEEE High-level Design Validation and test and has chaired several other conferences in matters of finance, tutorials, panels and special sessions.                              

Cancellation Policy

All cancellation & substitution requests must be made in writing to pd [dot] conted [at] mcgill [dot] ca.
Receive a full refund if your cancellation request is received up to 14 days prior to the start date of the workshop.
Receive a refund minus $100 cancellation fee if your cancellation request is received up to 7 days prior to the start date of the workshop.
No Refunds are issued if your cancellation request is received within 7 days of the start date of the workshop, however suitable participation substitution will be permitted.
Please note that if no notice is given prior to the start of the event(s) and you fail to attend, you will be liable for the full course fee.
McGill SCS reserves the right to cancel an event up to 5 days prior to its start.

Contact Information

Telephone: 514-398-5454
E-mail: pd [dot] conted [at] mcgill [dot] ca