Editor’s Choice: Wrapping Up 2022 With Our Top 10 Technical Articles
As 2022 comes to an end, we wanted to share All About Circuits’ most memorable technical articles of the year.
Here at All About Circuits, our number one goal is to educate and share knowledge from EEs with other EEs. One way we like to do this is through technical articles. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of our favorite technical articles that we created this year.
Should You Learn Assembly Language?
Since times (and technology) are always changing, it’s important to look back and see if certain things are still relevant to learn about. Take assembly language as an example. Focusing on embedded software development, is it still necessary to know or learn assembly language?
Example of line-by-line C code executed in TI Code Composer Studio [click to enlarge].
In this technical article, our contributor, Darby Hewitt, takes an objective approach as he tries to answer some of the most common answers given to this question. You can read the article here:
Getting a Jump on Trending Topics Like TinyML
Machine learning (ML) is finding its way into many different areas. As it continues to expand and be of use in so many places, new subsects are starting to appear. One that is picking up speed at a startling rate this year was TinyML (or tiny machine learning).
An example application for TinyML is wake word detection. A diagram of this feature is shown above. Image used courtesy of Zhitong Yan and Zhuowei Han
This type of machine learning zeroes in on smaller devices (i.e., devices that are cheap, power and resource constrained). In the article below, you can learn the basics of TinyML (what it is, how it works, and what hardware it uses):
Plus, if you’re interested, you can dive even deeper via a project by the same author, Jake Hertz:
Diving Deeper Into TinyML Via Quantization
Usually, our technical articles tend to start high-level and dig deeper, sometimes creating a series that fills out a decent understanding of a subject. Continuing our previous conversation on TinyML, another popular article this year was on neural network quantization. This article unpacks the ins and outs of quantization basics. It walks you through a brief understanding of neural network memory requirements, what quantization is, and how it can be used for TinyML.
A high-level look at quantization, showing how it tends to shrink neural networks. Image used courtesy of Qualcomm
To learn more, check out the article here:
Setting the Basics With IoT Protocols
Often, before getting too far into the process of creating an electronic device, it’s important to know what protocols you’ll be designing around and within. This is especially true concerning the Internet of Things (IoT) and designing their wireless communication hardware.
An overview showing HTTP vs. WebSocket. Image used courtesy of Scaleway
To get the gist of the different protocols you can leverage and work with, these two technical articles give a simple overview of both data and network protocols like:
- HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
- Data Distribution Service (DDS)
- Near field communication (NFC)
Check out the other protocols these articles cover in the articles down below:
Building the Foundations on RISC-V Architecture
Similar to TinyML, one of our goals is to stay on top of new technologies, especially those that start to pick up steam. One example is the RISC-V, an open-source instruction set architecture (ISA). As chip creation continues to juggle issues like chip shortages and in-house fabrication, resources like RISC-V are giving companies a workaround to keep on innovating.
Timeline of RISC-V innovations. Image used courtesy of the RISC-V Foundation
Though this technical article barely scratches the surface, it is a good resource for those wanting to get a high-level understanding of what RISC-V is, the ins and outs of it as an ISA, and how to implement it. You can find that article here:
Python and SymPy Make 2nd-order Circuit Analysis Easier
Sure, as engineers, you probably don’t shy away from heavy mathematics; however, the real drawback is the time it takes to actually go through the math from A to Z. Since that’s usually the case, EEs are always in need of shortcuts and easier ways of getting the math done and over with.
One solution is using Python and SymPy. In a technical article, our contributor, Darby Hewitt, walks us through an example using RC circuits to grasp how Python can help ease the analysis of 2nd-order circuits.
Take a look at the article:
Explore Fourier Coefficients, and the Effect Symmetry Has on Them
Sometimes when you’re working on something specific, you might have a question that goes beyond the general. Though they might not be the most catchy of articles sometimes, they come in handy once you get into the nitty gritty of different electronic design concepts.
One concept we’ve covered here on All About Circuits is the Fourier series. Adding to this concept, we’ve created different articles branching down into the Fourier transform and Fourier coefficients. This year, we continued fleshing out Fourier concepts by going over how the Fourier coefficients are affected by symmetry.
An example function with odd symmetry.
If you’re interested in learning more about that idea, take a look at the article down below:
Delve Into Charge Pump Circuit Fundamentals
As our name suggests, circuit analysis and fundamentals are our bread and butter here at All About Circuits. One circuit we decided to break down is the charge pump circuit.
A block diagram of a charge pump circuit. Image used courtesy of Texas Instruments
In this technical article, Jake Hertz takes a journey through the foundations of this type of switched capacitor circuit, namely, what it is, the advantages and disadvantages, and an example. You can see for yourself what this article is about here:
Get the Gist of Bluetooth Mesh Networking
Though Bluetooth has been around for a couple of decades (which is quite a while in technological years). Despite that, it is still evolving and finding tons of uses as more devices need a way to connect with each other. Diving deeper down the Bluetooth rabbit hole, we decided to cover Bluetooth mesh networking.
Example of a Bluetooth low energy (BLE) mesh network. Image used courtesy of Integra Sources
In this technical article, you’ll find a foundation-level conversation on Bluetooth mesh networking:
Compounding on this topic, we created a series of articles to deepen our understanding, which you can find here:
- Star vs. Mesh Networking Topology: IoT Wireless Connectivity Fundamentals
- Bluetooth Mesh Network Basics—Nodes, Elements, and Node Features
- Introduction to Bluetooth Mesh Models
- Lighting Systems Get an IoT Facelift With Bluetooth Mesh
Python Makes DC and Steady-state AC Circuit Analysis Easy
Similar to the 2nd-order circuit analysis article, where we used Python to make circuit analysis easier, we also applied that idea to DC and steady-state AC circuits.
In this article, Darby Hewitt walks us through two example circuits, a DC and steady-state AC circuit, and how you can leverage Python to speed up and simplify calculations like phasor current and mesh current. With that in mind, you can read the article down below:
Do you have a Master's degree or higher in electrical and/or electronics engineering (or an adjacent field)? Do you want to share your knowledge with All About Circuits and fellow EEs? Feel free to contact us about your interest in writing articles with us via our Write for Us page!