Embedded systems are everywhere! More than 98% of the world’s processors are located in embedded systems. Embedded systems focuses on enabling technologies and design methodologies for computing systems which are embedded as integral parts of larger systems. They are designed for specific control functions of devices with various electronic and mechanical components, enabling embedded intelligence of these devices.
Applications include a wide variety of industrial and personal smart systems such as robots, cars, airplanes, satellites, elevators, mobile telephones, washing machines, and health-care equipment just to mention a few. In all these areas, embedded systems confer added value to the products by either extending the range of the delivered functionalities or by enhancing the quality of a “traditional” functionality that is rendered to the user.
The mission of the Embedded Systems (ES) programme is to expose students to cross-disciplinary studying and working environment and give a holistic skillset on embedded intelligent systems, their underlying technologies, their development, and their integration.
Through the combined technical and entrepreneurial education, students get insight into the role of embedded systems in the modern society and ability to develop innovations into business ideas and high tech embedded systems start-ups.
Graduates of the ES programme become world-class specialists and innovators in the field of embedded systems, capable of developing smart embedded solutions for new challenges in the domains of Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) and Internet of Things (IoT). They are also capable of taking on leading management roles in embedded systems and more general ICT companies.
Who can apply?
If you wish to apply to this programme you must have a bachelor of Science in, or be in your final year of studies of:
Computer Science/Software Engineering
The studies should include at least 60 ECTS courses in computer science, computer architecture, or programming, and mathematics including calculus, algebra and mathematical statistics.
Kindly note that relevant work experience can compensate a non-strictly matching bachelor degree. Please justify your work experience in your motivation letter or resume. Once your papers are received, the selection committee will make the final decision on whether your bachelor and work experience are sufficient as prerequisites for the track you have applied for.
How is the programme structured?
All EIT Digital Master School programmes follow the same scheme:
Students study one year at an ‘entry’ university and one year at an ‘exit’ university in two of EIT Digital’s hot spots around Europe.
Upon completion, graduates receive degrees from the two universities and a certificate awarded by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.
The first year is similar at all entry points with basic courses to lay the foundation for the chosen technical programme focus. Some elective courses may also be chosen. At the same time, students are introduced to business and management. During the second semester, a design project is combined with business development exercises. These teach how to turn technology into business and how to present a convincing business plan.
In between the first year and the second year, a summer school addresses business opportunities within a socially relevant theme.
The second year offers a specialisation and a graduation project. The graduation project includes an internship at a company or a research institute and results in a Master thesis with a strong innovation and entrepreneurship dimension.
To learn more about the I&E minor please click here.
Where can I study Embedded Systems?
What can I study at the entry and exit points?
Entry - 1st year, common courses
The first year covers the following core topics (36 ECTS) of embedded systems and their design:
Construction of Embedded Systems: Provides knowledge on carrying out embedded systems design projects in practice, as well as fundamental skills and insight on design and testing methods for embedded systems.
Embedded Hardware: Provides insight and practice in the design principles of various embedded processor architectures. This includes various single core architectures, ranging from general purpose (RISC based) to highly optimized architectures, tuned for a specific application domain, and their combination in, often heterogeneous, multi-processor systems.
Embedded Software: Provides knowledge on real-time software, real-time operating systems, and compilers, as well as ability to analyse and design embedded real-time systems and conduct research in the area of embedded real-time systems.
Models and Methods for Embedded Systems: Provides skills to use methods and tools to model, analyse, and validate/verify functionality and performance of embedded systems.
The above common technical content is delivered through different sets of mandatory and elective courses at the three entry universities. All the entry points provide a basis for the software-oriented ES specialisations. In addition to this, KTH also provides an option for more hardware oriented first-year studies which aim at supporting the specialisations implemented by UTU, UNITN, and BME. Only these three specialisations participate in the “hardware track” in question.
The technical content is supplemented with the courses of the innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) minor (24 ECTS):
I&E Basics: The basic course is based on introductory lectures on idea generation, technology-based entrepreneurship, marketing and markets, organization and project management, new product and process development, entrepreneurial finance, human resource development. In addition, the students get lectures/presentations from entrepreneurs and visit entrepreneurial venues; companies, incubators, customer etc. The course is complemented with work on case studies in groups. The work on case studies is supported by coaches.
Business Development Lab: Project work in a multi-disciplinary project with user cooperation in all phases of the project, from a general described theme to a specific and finished result. Students will do a market research and market segmentation, list competitors, analyse weak and strong points, propose a new product concept, which will then be developed within the design project. After the design project, the prototype will be put to user testing, and the students will develop a business plan for marketing the product. During the BDL project, workshops and trainings will be provided by staff from the local centre of entrepreneurship / business school.
I&E Elective: A course on a specific I&E topic such as marketing, finance, or IPR.
Summer School: The summer school brings students together from different technical majors to work jointly on a business development process in the context of a thematic area (such as Health and Wellbeing). Topics include: thematic introduction, identifying thematic innovation and opportunities, concept development, integrating with stakeholders, usability, ethical issues, business life-cycles.
Technical University Eindhoven (TUE), The Netherlands
(4 ECTS) during the summer between the entry and exit years
In addition, at least 10 ECTS of elective studies need to be taken during the entry year to obtain at least 60 ECTS in total.
Exit - 2nd year, specialisation
To meet the requirements for geographic mobility, the chosen exit point needs to differ from the chosen entry point and needs to reside in a different country.
The second-year studies include:
Specialisation courses (24 - 30 ECTS)
Master thesis (30 ECTS)
I&E study (6 ECTS). An individual work on a selected I&E topic.
Internship (3 months) at a company or another non-university organization, or an industry-oriented research project at a university. Directly linked to the master thesis project.
The UTU, UNITN, and BME specialisations together with the KTH entry provide an option for a more hardware-oriented ES study track which includes an industry-driven design project as part of the second-year studies. If the “hardware track” is selected at the KTH entry, then one of the three involved specialisations (UTU, UNITN, BME) has to be selected as the exit.
On the other hand, the “software track” at the KTH entry and the first year programmes at the TUB and TUE entries allow students to select any of the specialisations, including the three specialisations (UTU, UNITN, BME) that participate in the “hardware track” with the KTH entry.
Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary
BME offers a specialisation on embedded system for which the safety, reliability, fault tolerance, availability and reaction time are crucial. Among many fields this includes automotive industry (engine management, safety systems, advanced driver assistance systems etc.), railway control, aerospace industry, medical instrumentation. The specialisation provides skills for designing complex systems, designing components of the systems, for verification and validation, and also for operation and maintenance of the system.
Students can select a branch from a set of different areas of critical systems, based on their interest. This includes hardware and software verification and validation, design paradigms for safety critical applications like automotive embedded systems or medical applications.
Compulsory courses (52 ECTS):
Critical Embedded Systems (VIMIMA16, 4 ECTS)
Design and Integration of Embedded Systems (VIMIMA11, 4 ECTS)
Diploma Thesis Design 1 (VIMIMT00, 10 ECTS)
Innovation & Entrepreneurship Study (VIMIMT06, 6 ECTS)
ARM Cortex Core Microcontrollers (VIMIAV07, 4 ECTS)
Software Technology for Embedded Systems (VIMIMA09, 4 ECTS)
Diploma Thesis Design 2 (VIMIMT01, 20 ECTS)
Electives courses (two from the following set, min. 8 ECTS):
Artificial Intelligence Based Control (VIIIMA09, 4 ECTS)
Computer Vision Systems (VIIMA07, 4 ECTS)
Development of Software Applications (VIAUMA09, 4 ECTS)
Communication Technologies of Autonomous Vehicles (VIHIM008, 4 ECTS)
... and possible others, depending on the semester and the number of applicants.
Total credits for the whole exit year: 60 ECTS.
There is a strong cooperation with the industry in the field of dependable embedded systems. The most appropriate link to this cooperation is the thesis work at industrial partners. Many large automotive research centres reside in Budapest (thyssenkrupp, Bosch, Knorr-Bremse, Continental), and also other embedded system developers like Ericsson.
Prof. Tamás Dabóczi is Head of the Department of Measurement and Information Systems, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary. Besides coordinating the EIT Digital Master School Critical Embedded Systems specialisation, he has been involved in developing four new Embedded Systems (ES) specialisations both at BSc and MSc level in the past years. He teaches Real-time systems, Embedded and ambient systems, and Information processing within ES tracks.
His research area is embedded systems, with special emphasis on information processing and numerical correction of distortions. He has published around 80 papers in areas of signal processing, embedded systems, and cyber-physical systems. He has been visiting scientist at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH, Zürich, Switzerland), at Technical University of Karlsruhe (Karlsruhe, Germany), and at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, Gaithersburg, MD, USA). He cooperates with the leading international R&D companies in Budapest like thyssenkrupp, Bosch and Ericsson. Tamás has led many national and international research- and industrial development projects.
Degree project 30 credits advanced level is mandatory during the spring term.
In accordance with KTH's regulations, a mandatory course in Research Methodology and Scientific Writing 7,5 credits needs to be included. This course can be taken anytime during the studies. Currently, the following courses are offered:
II2202 Research Methodology and Scientific Writing - 7,5 credits (P1 only)
AK2036 Theory and Methodology of Science with Applications (Natural and Technological Science) - 7,5 credits
Dr Johnny Öberg is Assoc. Prof in Electronic System Design from Royal Institute of Technology (Kungl. Tekniska Högskolan - KTH), Stockholm, Sweden since 2003. He has extensive educational experience, and has supervised more than 100 MSc theses. He has been involved in the creation of four MSc programmes at KTH. He is not only the coordinator of the Embedded Platform Track of the EIT Digital Master School programme, he is also the programme director for the two regular MSc programmes on Embedded Systems and System-on-Chip programmes at KTH, and responsible for ICES Education. On the research side, he was one of the pioneers in the early research on Network-on-Chip architectures and Grammar-based Hardware Synthesis. He has published more than 80 internationally reviewed papers in areas like Network-on-Chips, Grammar-based Hardware Synthesis, High-Level Synthesis, HW/SW Co-Design, and High-performance Hardware Architectures for a number of application areas. His current research interests include Design and Test of Heterogeneous Real-Time Multi/Many-core Systems, Computationally Intensive Hardware Architectures, and Reconfigurable Systems. He also has limited entrepreneurial experience. He started his first company in 1985. In 2003, he participated in the Kista Innovation and Growth Entrepreneurial programme and got first prize for best Business plan. In 2006-2008, he was working part-time in industry as an FPGA/Embedded Systems/VHDL design consultant.
6 ECTS points free of choice (i.e. any courses at any university in Berlin)
Electives courses (18 ECTS points in total):
Ad-hoc and Sensor Networks - 6 ECTS
Analysis and Optimization of Embedded Systems - 6 ECTS
Applications of Robotics and Autonomous Systems - 9 ECTS
Applied Verification of C-Programs - 3 ECTS
Convex Optimization for the Internet of Things - 6 ECTS
Digital Image Processing - 6 ECTS
Embedded Systems Security Lab - 6 ECTS
Multicore Systems - 6 ECTS
Networked Embedded Systems - 6 ECTS
Project Hot Topics in Computer Vision A - 9 ECTS
Project Hot Topics in Computer Vision B - 9 ECTS
Recent Advances in Computer Architecture - 3 ECTS
Robotics - 6 ECTS
Seminar Software and Embedded Systems Engineering - 3 ECTS
I&E Study - 6 ECTS
Master Thesis - 30 ECTS
Prof Ben Juurlink is the coordinator of the Embedded Multicore Systems major at TU Berlin, Germany. He is a full professor of Embedded Systems Architectures of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty of TU Berlin. He has an MSc degree from Utrecht University (NL) and a PhD degree from Leiden University (NL). In 1997-1998 he worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Heinz Nixdorf Institute in Paderborn (DE). From 1998 to 2009 he was a faculty member in the Computer Engineering laboratory of Delft University of Technology (NL). His research interests include multi- and many-core processors, instruction level parallel and media processors, low-power techniques, and hierarchical memory systems. He has (co-)authored more than 100 papers in international conferences and journals and received a best paper award at the IASTED PDCS conference in 2002. He has been the leader of several national projects, work package leader in several European projects, and is currently coordinator of the EU FP7 project LPGPU (lpgpu.org). He is a senior member of the IEEE, a member of the ACM, and a member of the HiPEAC NoE. He served in many programme committees, is area editor of the journal Microprocessors and Microsystems: Embedded Hardware Design (MICPRO), and is general co-chair of the HiPEAC 2013 conference.
Technical University Eindhoven (TUE), The Netherlands
Specialisation: Embedded Networking TU/e offers a specialisation on networking aspects of embedded systems. Networking is the key for sharing information and resources between system components and has provided both numerous opportunities and interesting challenges for embedded systems. The specialisation addresses these opportunities and challenges. It covers aspects of protocol design and verification, managing functional and non-functional aspects of architectural design, mapping applications onto different platforms and finally programming, testing and diagnosis. Some of the application areas, in which the aspect of networking is prominent, are listed below:
Health & Well-being: Wireless sensor networks can, for instance, be used to monitor elderly and disabled people living independently. Or they can be used in houses for human-centred interaction. Therefore, the specialisation will teach students how to design and build (wireless) sensor networks.
Future Media & Content Delivery: Networks provide new means to distribute media, e.g. TV broadcasts over Internet by peer-to-peer systems.
Smart Energy Systems: Sensors connected in a network and controlled by intelligent algorithms provide the technology to enable energy management. This technology will gain importance due to the increasing complexity of energy networks.
Compulsory courses (15 ECTS):
Architecture of Distributed Systems (5 ECTS)
Network Embedded Systems (5 ECTS)
Internet of Things (5 ECTS)
Electives (min. 9 ECTS):
Seminar System Architecture and Networks (5 ECTS)
Digital Integrated Circuit Design (5 ECTS)
Advanced Digital Integrated Circuit Design (5 ECTS)
Automated Reasoning (5 ECTS)
Cyberattacks, crime and defenses (5 ECTS)
Dr Bas Luttik is the coordinator of the Embedded Systems programme at TU/Eindhoven, The Netherlands. He has received his PhD degree from the University of Amsterdam and has held positions at the Centrum for Wiskunde en Informatica (CWI) and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Currently, he holds a permanent position with the Computer Science Department at TU/e. His research interests include concurrency theory and formal verification of systems. He has served as programme chair and programme committee member of leading international conferences and workshops and served as a guest editor for a number of academic journals, such as Science of Computer Programming, Journal of Logic and Algebraic Programming, and Mathematical Structures in Computer Science.
Specialisation: Real-Time Systems and Design of Cyber-Physical Systems
UNITN provides a specialisation on real-time systems, a particular class of embedded systems that are required to operate in close connection with the environment. The prominent issue for a successful design of a real-time system is its predictability: the system has to be bug free to the maximum degree allowed by the current industrial practice, it has to react to external stimuli in a predictable time and has to optimize resource utilization. Students will be exposed to the most recent trends on safety critical systems, embedded control systems and sensor networks.
Track 1: Real-Time Embedded Systems Real-time systems are a particular class of embedded systems that are required to operate in close connection with the environment. The prominent issue for a successful design of a real-time system is its predictability: the system has to be bug free to the maximum degree allowed by the current industrial practice, it has to react to external stimuli in a predictable time and has to optimize resource utilization. To be able to develop a real-time system, a student has to be in command of several foundational disciplines on software development, computing architecture, model-based design. In addition, he/she will be exposed to the most recent trends on safety critical systems, embedded control systems and sensor networks. This rich basis of knowledge is constructed through the mandatory courses and elective courses, while a wide choice of optional courses enable the students to enrich their expertise in areas that are tightly related to embedded systems (e.g., distributed systems, security, software technologies). Laboratory experiences in which the students are required to operate on robotic and multimedia application contribute to the construction of practical skills that prove essential in the daily work experience on embedded real-time systems.
Compulsory courses (24 ECTS):
Laboratory of Applied Robotics (6 ECTS)
Real-Time Operating Systems (6 ECTS)
Laboratory of Sensor Networks (6 ECTS)
Advanced Computing Architectures (6 ECTS)
Distributed Algorithms (6 ECTS)
Network Security (6 ECTS)
Nomadic Communication (6 ECTS)
Formal Methods (12 ECTS)
Simulation and Performance Evaluation (6 ECTS)
Research Project in Embedded Systems (12 ECTS)
Track 2: Methodologies for Cyber-Physical Systems Design Cyber-physical systems are a new generation of systems with integrated computational and physical abilities that interact with humans through a number of new modalities and operate in open environments. The potential applications of cyber-physical systems are beyond count; a few examples are next-generation airplanes and space vehicles, hybrid gas-electric vehicles, fully autonomous urban driving, and prostheses that allow brain signals to control physical objects. Over the years engineering disciplines have defined powerful methods to design systems able to operate in the environment (e.g., frequency domain techniques, optimal control, stochastic control etc.). Meanwhile, research in computing systems has produced a wealth of innovative ideas on how to exploit modern computing architectures to their full extent (e.g., using reconfigurable hardware and optimised compilers). The challenges posed by the design of cyber-physical systems call for new ideas and methods that stay at the confluence between once separate disciplines (Engineering and Computer Science). Additional contributions can arrive from social sciences through the establishment of Human Machine Interaction as a new science in its own right. Receiving exposure to these disciplines is crucial for a study programme tailored for future professional operating in this area, but the complex expertise required can be constructed only through hands-on experience on a real-life design problems of cyber-physical systems. This is the objective of this specialisation track.
Compulsory courses (18 ECTS):
Capstone Project Module (18 ECTS):
Includes an industry-driven multidisciplinary design project (12 ECTS) and a project-oriented course (6 ECTS) selected from: Laboratory of Applied Robotics, Digital Image Processing, HW/SW Co-Design, Laboratory of Sensor Networks
Electives (min. 6 ECTS):
Real-Time Operating Systems (6 ECTS)
Advanced Computer Architectures (6 ECTS)
Simulation and Performance Evaluation (6 ECTS)
Prof Luigi Palopoli is the coordinator of Embedded Systems major at Trento University, Italy. He is associate professor and received his PhD degree from the Scuola Superiore S. Anna, Pisa, Italy, which is one of the most active university sites worldwide in real-time systems. He has a strong network of collaborations with several institutions working on real-time scheduling, control and robotics. He is the coordinator of a EU project on assistive robotics (www.ict-dali.eu). The research on embedded system in Trento is carried within the EECS research program at the DISI department. Research activities in embedded systems are on sensor networks, design methodologies, real-time control and robotics.
The UTU specialisation prepares its graduates for challenging design tasks in Internet of Things (IoT) and embedded systems with built-in intelligence, autonomy and adaptivity. After graduation students can demonstrate an understanding of theoretical aspects of embedded intelligence and IoT architectures as well as design and implement IoT systems from the hardware and software perspective. Students can identify the technological aspects of different application domains from smart to autonomous systems. Practical experience is achieved through mini projects within various courses and through a large capstone project course in which the acquired knowledge and skills are put in practice to solve an interdisciplinary real-world challenge.
Specialisation electives (choose 25 ECTS):
Capstone Project (15 ECTS)
Industry-driven multidisciplinary design project in the field of Internet of Things
IoT Systems: Design and Applications (5 ECTS)
HDL Based Design (5 ECTS)
FPGA Prototyping and Configurable Computing (5 ECTS)
Embedded IoT Programming (5 ECTS)
Autonomous Systems Architectures (5 ECTS)
Smart Systems Applications (5 ECTS)
Secure Sensor Network Systems (5 ECTS)
Advanced Sensor Networking (5 ECTS)
Sensors and Interfaces (5 ECTS)
Energy Efficient Embedded Electronics (5 ECTS)
The elective courses are not limited to the above list, a student can select other relevant advanced level courses provided by UTU. The mandatory specialisation studies include Master’s Thesis (30 ECTS) and I&E Study (6 ECTS).
The Smart Systems specialisation track covers the role of IoT and system integration aspects for IoT for strategic areas of European industries, both for new SMEs and corporations. The focus area will provide a strong hands-on knowledge of system integration and innovation and entrepreneurship in integrated learning mode with objectives to open new views and career visions to our students. Students will learn about the theoretical aspects of Internet of Things and embedded systems and acquire practical skills to tackle the challenges of practical designs. The local coordinator for the specialisation, Tomi Westerlund, is the leader of the related research group at the University of Turku. He has a long experience in education and research in the field. His main research interest is in Internet of Things; how we can utilise IoT technology to provide better services and improve quality of life. With that in mind, the main application areas for his research are smart agriculture, smart cities, satellite technology as well as unmanned aerial and ground vehicles (UAVs/UGVs).
What are the career opportunities?
Many European companies are world leading in the field of embedded systems design and have a strong demand for highly skilled, creative engineers, innovators, system architects, and specialists. In this ever-changing world, Europe needs brand new companies that are able to provide innovative embedded solutions to address societal challenges, to improve the quality of life, and to boost the European economy and leadership. Graduates of this programme could be the pioneers to bring about that change.
As a result, ES can lead to a very wide variety of jobs. To name a few:
Digital Manufacturing and Fintech masters to boost a strong digital Europe
The EIT Digital Master School is launching two new technical majors within its European network of top technology universities. The Digital Manufacturing and Fintech masters will start in the academic year beginning in 2020. Students with a science, technology or mathematics background can apply for these new programmes from November 2019 onwards.
This launch was announced by Arturo Varona, Head of the EIT Digital Master School, at the opening of the School's application portal. “The EIT Digital Master School is a unique way of education. It provides technical education combined with entrepreneurship and innovation within a network of top technical universities. The skills our students learn are needed to build a strong digital Europe. Because technology developments evolve rapidly, we review our programme offer annually to stay relevant and offer the best education possible to prepare students for the tasks ahead.”
It is no surprise, then, that Fintech has been added to the Master School’s programme offering. “The increasing expansion of the financial industry, the growing demand for Fintech experts, and the need for an applied programme in this field were strong reasons to develop this Fintech Masters, explains Alvaro Pina Stranger, Fintech Programme Lead. “The Fintech Masters aims to train a new generation of entrepreneurial computer scientists who will be able to cover this important niche and positively impact our society.”
This masters prepares students for jobs in the Fintech sector including service executive, product manager, software developer, business development executive, analyst, technical account manager, researcher and IT project manager.
In the Fintech Masters, students learn in-depth theoretical and technical skills, like software development, database security and big data management, processing and storage. On top of that, they learn commercial skills to turn technology into business.
Digital transformation has changed the manufacturing sector from being process-driven to data-driven. Hence, the sector needs engineers and business leaders to think differently and manage the industry in efficient and productive new ways. The Digital Manufacturing programme is, according to Prof Dr Juan J Márquez, Vice-Dean for Institutional Relations and Promotion at UPM and programme lead for the Digital Manufacturing Masters, an integrated programme that combines knowledge of manufacturing and industrial engineering with the most modern computer science techniques to improve processes, devise new solutions and create business opportunities.
The programme offers technical courses in five pillars: Digital Manufacturing, the Industrial Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Robotics and Operation Technologies Cybersecurity. As well as these, students learn how to generate business models for industrial applications in the Innovation & Entrepreneurship modules. “The integration of industrial and manufacturing engineering with computer science engineering will give students a commercial overview of the topics. This sets the masters apart from others available elsewhere.”
Márquez believes the market is waiting for people with these kinds of skills. “The industry is searching for professionals that combine knowledge of processes with a computer science background in order to produce cost effective solutions. This is definitely the profile of graduates of this masters.” He also foresees that some students will become entrepreneurs supporting digital transformation of industry.
The first year of the two-year Digital Manufacturing Masters can be taken at UPM in Spain, while students can complete their specialisation year at Tallinn Tech in Estonia, University of Turku in Finland, or ELTE in Hungary.
The EIT Digital Master School is a European network of top technical universities that, since 2012, has been offering technical masters programmes and a business minor in innovation and entrepreneurship. Students learn how to translate technology acumen into business success.