Parziva1
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Hi TSR members,

I wanted to get into the hardware field through a computer science degree as opposed to an electronic engineering degree.

I wanted to know whether this is a possibility?

Any advice, experience would be very much appreciated.

Thank you
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LuigiMario
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Comp Sci , more maths than Electronics, but as many near future widgets will simply be code, even the hardware might be generic hardware that runs algorithms to specialise and emulate “hardware”?

I bought some electronic serial port driver chips, But one day they didn’t work, a large Asian nation had reverse engineered serial port driver chips and sold a generic nano computer chip programmed to pretend to be the original (Scottish designed & copyrighted) serial port driver chip.

It was inefficient, possibly buggy, but for a couple of years the electronics supply chain was featuring these ‘fake’ ‘clone’ chips, even very reputable suppliers were selling the fakes. Fake part numbers, fake specifications, but they worked.

Then someone persuaded Microsoft to issue a roll-up Windows patch that disabled these fake but functioning chips, they were literally erased overnight, and all sorts of things stopped working!

So, extreme example, but it shows how a genuine component was undermined by a generically programmed nano-pc, emulating a real world bit of electronics - and giving a hint as to some future possibilities and perhaps worries?

For your question, you should consider choosing/building your own hardware, as valuable as a complement as the excellent Comp Sci degrees, a tiny Linux bringing life back to an older laptop, or desktop.....many options...

Look forward to other comments
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stillgrey
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(Original post by LuigiMario)
Comp Sci , more maths than Electronics, but as many near future widgets will simply be code, even the hardware might be generic hardware that runs algorithms to specialise and emulate “hardware”?
This already exists, though it is quite new it is called FPGA. I have an FPGA board myself, pretty amazing technology (not that I can claim to fully understand it), you can essentially design an entire system in code and put it onto the chip and it runs totally the same as if it were native. People have already reverse engineered 486 systems as well as some fifth generation games consoles.

To OP: FPGA (reprogrammable system on chip) is blurring the lines between hardware and software; I expect in 20 years time much hardware will be FPGA based; the military already uses FPGA extensively you could look at learning Verlog or VHDL. As LuigiMario points out, CS is closer to maths than electronics. You may want to look at an Electronic Engineering BEng if hardware is what excites you; or if you want to hedge your bets, do CS (take as much maths and logic as you can) and learn Verlog or VHDL in your spare time.
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Parziva1
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(Original post by stillgrey)
This already exists, though it is quite new it is called FPGA. I have an FPGA board myself, pretty amazing technology, you can essentially design an entire system in code and put it onto the chip and it runs totally the same as if it were native. People have already reverse engineered 486 systems as well as some fifth generation games consoles.

To OP: FPGA (reprogrammable system on chip) is blurring the lines between hardware and software; I expect in 20 years time much hardware will be FPGA based; the military already uses FPGA extensively you could look at learning Verlog or VHDL. As LuigiMario points out, CS is closer to maths than electronics. You may want to look at an Electronic Engineering BEng if hardware is what excites you; or if you want to hedge your bets, do CS and learn Verlog or VHDL in your spare time.
Wow, I can't believe it, my teacher actually told me the exact same thing 😂 what are the chances.

But thank you so much for your help I really appreciate it
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Parziva1
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(Original post by LuigiMario)
Comp Sci , more maths than Electronics, but as many near future widgets will simply be code, even the hardware might be generic hardware that runs algorithms to specialise and emulate “hardware”?

I bought some electronic serial port driver chips, But one day they didn’t work, a large Asian nation had reverse engineered serial port driver chips and sold a generic nano computer chip programmed to pretend to be the original (Scottish designed & copyrighted) serial port driver chip.

It was inefficient, possibly buggy, but for a couple of years the electronics supply chain was featuring these ‘fake’ ‘clone’ chips, even very reputable suppliers were selling the fakes. Fake part numbers, fake specifications, but they worked.

Then someone persuaded Microsoft to issue a roll-up Windows patch that disabled these fake but functioning chips, they were literally erased overnight, and all sorts of things stopped working!

So, extreme example, but it shows how a genuine component was undermined by a generically programmed nano-pc, emulating a real world bit of electronics - and giving a hint as to some future possibilities and perhaps worries?

For your question, you should consider choosing/building your own hardware, as valuable as a complement as the excellent Comp Sci degrees, a tiny Linux bringing life back to an older laptop, or desktop.....many options...

Look forward to other comments
Thank you for your advice, it's refreshing to see possibilities on both sides of the scale.

I really appreciate it
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LuigiMario
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I started with ULA’s, in the 1970’s , uncommitted logic arrays, very useful for electronic warfare!
These small but fast chips soon evolved.
More recently I scanned the ruins of Machu Picchu using fpga based synthetic aperture radar.
The stack of software can be expensive for FPGA use, but it is a reasonable ‘virtualisation’ of hardware - with the RTOS real time operating system can make you think a bit loopy.

My favourite part of electronics (hardware) analogue radio has recently become software defined radio (SDR), and creaky network systems have become software defined networks (SDN) , with much virtualisation of functions.

SDcar, SD....? Coming soon!
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stillgrey
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(Original post by LuigiMario)
More recently I scanned the ruins of Machu Picchu using fpga based synthetic aperture radar.
The stack of software can be expensive for FPGA use, but it is a reasonable ‘virtualisation’ of hardware - with the RTOS real time operating system can make you think a bit loopy.
When I look at how BAE systems etc are using FPGA it seems to be primarily radar systems. Of course, money isn't everything but the money at the moment is very good for graduates with FPGA experience/skills starts at around £40,000 – a pretty good salary for a 21 year old!

Luckily Intel are subsidising FPGA boards for educational purposes, you don't even have to be in education to get the discount. A board will cost you about £100 so lowly mathematicians like myself can even try FPGA out.

I have this educationally subsidised DE10 Nano FPGA board out of curiosity, it is definitely enough to get an understanding of electronics engineering if you're from a mathematics background, I believe it can virtualise about 500,000 components on this tiny 30mm x 30mm chip; easily enough to replicate the first Playstation, although I don't believe anyone has reverse engineered it yet.

I've run Spectrum, Amiga, Commodore 64, Apple Macintosh Plus on the board it is all very interesting. Those machines are a bit before my time, but we had (what was then an old) C64 in my house for some reason which I learned BASIC on so that was pretty nostalgic!
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stillgrey
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(Original post by Parziva1)
Wow, I can't believe it, my teacher actually told me the exact same thing 😂 what are the chances.

But thank you so much for your help I really appreciate it
You're welcome! I'm a data scientist everyone is talking about FPGA at the moment – clearly your teacher is keeping up to date on what is happening in the industry and will help you make the best decision.

FPGA is simply a curiosity for us mere mathematicians (and software engineers) but our skills are cross transferrable to FPGA development.
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void*
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(Original post by Parziva1)
Hi TSR members,

I wanted to get into the hardware field through a computer science degree as opposed to an electronic engineering degree.

I wanted to know whether this is a possibility?

Any advice, experience would be very much appreciated.

Thank you
Have you looked into Computer Systems Engineering courses?
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