The University of Southampton

Philips Semiconductors donates equipment for ECS electronics students

Published: 17 March 2005

In an initiative that will be of great value to electronics students, Philips Semiconductors Southampton have provided a set of hardware development tools to the School of Electronics and Computer Science. The equipment will be used by undergraduate students in project work. ‘This is a very generous donation to our students,’ said Tim Forcer, who runs the School’s Electronics Teaching Labs. ‘It will extend the range of work that can be undertaken in our labs, and offer new opportunities for development projects.’

Simon Quin, Software Systems Specialist from Philips Semiconductors, visited ECS to hand over the equipment: ‘As an engineer I can tell you that there is no substitute for using the real tools. Philips is keen to encourage students and help broaden and deepen their learning opportunities.’

MEng Computer Engineering student Nick Dance is especially grateful for the donation: ‘I’m building a Secure HTTP server that runs independently of the host computer over USB,’ he said. ‘The microcontroller it uses to run the web server and SSL layer is an 8051 clone for which Philips have donated eight In-Circuit Emulation (ICE) units with fully-integrated Keil C compilers. The ICE equipment will be used primarily for debugging and hardware testing although it can be used to replace the processor altogether if the hardware is unavailable. I will use the compiler to program all the software for the system.

Dr Denis Nicole, Reader in the School’s Declarative Systems and Software Engineering research group, also intends making use of the equipment in his Real Time Computing and Embedded Systems course. ‘The 8051 is a very versatile microprocessor. These high-quality development tools will give our students valuable experience, adding to their portfolio of transferable skills.’

Pictured are (l-r) Dr Denis Nicole, Tim Forcer, Simon Quin, and Nick Dance (seated) viewing applications of the new equipment in the School's Electronics Labs.

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