Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering George Mason University Volgenau School of Engineering

General Information

Explores designing with single-chip microcomputers and microcomputer interfacing. Topics include role of microcomputers compared with microprocessors and other computers, microcomputer architecture and organization, real-time control issues, assembly language programming for control, design of control software, input/output methods, design tools, and available single-chip microcomputers. Students select project and design, and construct system including single-chip microcomputer and ancillary hardware to implement control system.

Lectures Tuesday, Thursday 3:00 pm -4:15 pm in Blue Ridge Hall 129Jens-Peter Kaps
Labs Monday 4:30 pm -7:10 pm in ENGR 3208Mihir Garude
Thursday 4:30 pm -7:10 pm in ENGR 3208Mihir Garude
Friday 8:30 am -11:20 am in ENGR 3208Mihir Garude


  • Class Calendar: (pdf)
  • Syllabus: (pdf)


Dr. Jens-Peter Kaps
Office: Engineering Building, Room 3222
Email: jkaps'at'

Office Hours

  • Tuesday 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm
  • Wednesday 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm

Additional office hours are by appointment only (see the Contact page for how to setup an appointment).

Teaching Assistant

NameE-Mail Office Office Hours
Mihir Garudemgarude'at'gmu.eduENGR-3208Mo 10:00 am - 11:00 am
We 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
We 7:30 - 8:30 pm


  • ECE 445 Computer Organization (grade C or better)
  • and one of
    • CS 367 Computer Systems and Programming (grade C or better)
    • CS 222 Computer Programming for Engineers (grade C or better)


Integrated Development Environment

  • Code Composer Studio (Windows, MacOS, and Linux).
  • IAR Kickstarth (Windows), choose "Download a free trial". This version is also the Kickstart size-limited version.
  • Energia Can't be used for GTA project sign off. (Windows, MacOS, and Linux), not recommended for this class as it hides the hardware under several layers of abstraction.


M. Jiménez, R. Palomera, and I. Couvertier, Introduction to Embedded Systems, Using Microcontrollers and the MSP430, Springer-Verlag New York, 2014, ISBN 978-1-4614-3142-8 (Available also online through the GMU library).

J. H. Davies, MSP430 Microcontroller Basics, Burlington, MA: Newnes, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7506-8276-3 (Available also online through the GMU library).

Recommended Reading

B. W. Kernighan, and D. M. Ritchie, The C Programming Language, 2nd Ed., Englewood Cliffs, NJ:Prentice-Hall, 1998, ISBN: 978-0-13-110362-7 (paperback).