Elsabé Coetzer and David Effa
Case revision date: 
6 pages

Cisco Systems Canada is a large multinational corporation, which provides equipment, software, and support services that manage network traffic including data, voice, and video for a wide range of customers. The Silicon Engineering (SiE) team at Cisco Ottawa development centre design application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) and other complex systems-on-a-chip (SoCs). As the ASICs and SoCs are so complex system, the development of the chip is broken into modules and assigned to smaller design teams. One of these block modules is the error code correction (ECC) element, which will be implemented as a sub-block in every memory to improve the reliability of the design. In 2013, the SiE team assigned to design a new ASIC routing processor and traffic manager that would be implemented in the next generation of Cisco routers. As a part of the design process, the team required to develop an efficient error correction code to ensure the reliability of the chip, minimize the resources used by ECC module, minimize power consumption and reduce delay. Generally, the SiE team uses single error correction/double error detection (SECDED) code method, Figure 1 [1].

Elsabé Coetzer, 4th year Electrical Engineering student from University of Waterloo, was asked to analyze, evaluate, and compare two possible single error correction/double error detection (SECDED) code solution alternatives to be used by SiE Canada team.

Learning objectives: 

The teaching objective of this case is to apply software life cycle including the requirements definition phase of software development. The case also covers topics in software representation, analysis, and validation. Student should be familiarity with hardware design, especially complex integrated circuits such as ASICs, the hardware development process, and basic error correction code concepts. The learning objectives of this case study are:

·         Apply software development life cycle to real-world engineering problems

·         Perform a needs analysis and write a design specification for the ECC program

·         Understanding of software testing and quality assurance

·         Analysis using a decision matrix

Key words: 
Error Code, Software Development Lifecycle, Decision Matrix
CEAB attributes: 
Problem Analysis, Design, Use of Engineering Tools
Module 01 - Case Study
Module 02 - SECDED Code Requirements and Criteria
Module 03 - SECDED Code Analysis and Implementation
Module TN - Teaching Note

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