X Student Electronics Olympiad in Tomsk

imageIn Tomsk, the jubilee, tenth student electronics contest has ended. I will try to tell what it is on behalf of one of the participants who first visited both Tomsk and the Electronics Olympiad.

The Olympiad was held from November 14 to 18 at the National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU). It is held at the Department of Industrial and Medical Electronics (PME) of the Institute of Non-Destructive Testing of Tomsk Polytechnic University , and, as I understand it, almost the entire olympiad is organized by the forces of this department.

The Olympiad is held in two directions:
  • 210100 - "Electronics and Nanoelectronics", specialty 210106 - "Industrial Electronics";
  • 201000 - “Biotechnical systems and technologies”, specialty 200401 - “Biotechnical and medical devices and systems”

3 teams from Tomsk (one from TPU, two from TUSUR), 2 from Novosibirsk (NSTU, SibGUTI), Moscow (MPEI), and even Ust-Kamennogorsk (EKSTU, Kazakhstan) took part. In general, over 10 years of the Olympics, teams from more than 20 cities visited Tomsk.

How it went, read below.

1 day, arrival

Placed us in TPU sanatoriums. We must pay tribute, they have an excellent dispensary - rooms with 3 beds, a wardrobe, a table, a refrigerator and a microwave.
TPU itself consists of many buildings (I did not count them, but I saw building No. 21), including the library and the palace of culture. The buildings are quite separated in the district - from the dispensary to the department, where part of the Olympiad was held, I had to walk about 15 minutes, and transport runs almost exclusively along the most central streets.
Closer to dinner, the department was acquainted with the stand on microprocessor technology, which hosts the second, practical round of the Olympiad. About the tour below, but for now about the stand.

The stand is a closed box (picture on the right) containing 2 microcontrollers - the AVR and 51 families from Silicon Laboratories (C8051F410) and an analog matrix, which allows using the specially developed PC program to connect the controller ports to the DIP-based connectors on the box cover, ports, buttons and LEDs.
The possibility of fully analogue connection of digital circuits is impressive (especially considering its fully operational software), but the stand left a rather conflicting impression - it is not clear how important it is to use DIP microcircuits together with controllers, there is only one button, LEDs - 2. Programmers for MK can be it would be built in, anyway the controllers are not visible inside and to the user, and indeed, in my opinion, it’s much more interesting to use an open board for training than a black box.
Programming connections is made, as already mentioned, using a special program. In the main window of the program there are UGOs (graphical symbols) of elements soldered onto the board from above, as well as inside the box (microcontrollers). After adding the microcircuit to the block, you need to select its name from the menu, specify the number of the block and its designation will be displayed in the workspace. UGO is connected as in any circuit editor — from pin to pin, however, lines can be drawn only straight, without kinks, which fundamentally kills the ability to create at least some beautiful schemes. But, I think, software flaws are temporary.

Nothing more remarkable happened on the first day; we got to know the city and solved problems.

Day 2, opening and theoretical tour


The opening was very solemn and was held in the main building of TPU. Unfortunately, there are no photographs of architecture, since there was no wide-angle lens, but in words - the body is old, still of pre-revolutionary construction, very impressive. Located on the main street of Tomsk - Lenin Avenue. On the same avenue towards the city center are the main universities - TUSUR, TSU, medical - because of the abundance of universities, the city is quite young, there are many students on the streets.
The opening itself consisted of the issuance of pretty pretty badges and solemn speeches of the first persons of TPU and the department organizing the event.

Theoretical tour

The theoretical tour includes 6 tasks that differ for different directions, which must be solved in 3 hours. Tasks are given on several topics: the basics of electrical circuits, circuitry on discrete elements, digital circuitry, etc. So, for example, a task in microprocessor technology is a piece of assembler code for the MCS-51, which needs to be analyzed and the execution time determined (the duration of one command is given) or the contents of some of the registers. Typically, tasks with a trick are changing the register banks or rewriting the stack area, but this year the task was absolutely clumsy, just a lot of logical operations in cycles, it was easy to get confused and time wasted in order, but there wasn’t any pleasure that you get from tasks.

Surprised by the task of digital circuitry. The children's task is a counter and a shift register, and a complete failure. Digging into shift registers datasheets (SN74LS194A) clarified the situation: as we thought, the DR input indicates a shift to the right (data shift right), but as it turned out, shifting to the right for shift registers means "shifting to the higher bits" , and not the younger ones, as in microprocessors and simply by logic.

In general, the tasks are quite decisive, but there is one BUT: the tasks are provided by the teams themselves, and the best ones are selected from them. As a result, according to participants in previous years, it often happens that the team that provided the problem solves it for all 10 points, without solving the rest. In fairness, I note that this year there was no noticeable correlation, we specifically observed the results.

After three hours of a theoretical tour, the jury set to work, and the participants were taken on an excursion to the TPU Museum. I did not go there, so the item is skipped.

By late evening, the jury completed the test, but the results were announced only in the morning on the third day.

3 day, announcement of results and practical tour

In the morning, the results were announced, after which a practical tour was held in 2 approaches (due to lack of space in the laboratories). The essence of the practical tour is to assemble a specific device using the stand, which I talked about above. At the disposal is any of the stand controllers, the program for which is written in assembler, and a scattering of Soviet microcircuits - counters, registers, etc.
Our task was to make a frequency meter from 1 to 8 MHz with an accuracy of 1 MHz (use one seven-segment indicator). TTL meander generator up to 20 MHz and an oscilloscope included.

Most of the problems arose with frequency - the task itself is not difficult - even in our completely non-programmer department we did this for laboratory work when we got acquainted with the MCS-51. Frequency problems are expected at 8MHz. As I already said, the circuit is based on an analog switching matrix, which obviously does not pull more than 7 MHz (although this was a pleasant surprise), and it is proposed to connect the generator to the blocks for microcircuits, no durable connectors for you.
Nevertheless, in 1 hour and 46 minutes out of the allotted three hours it was possible to present a fully working (up to 7 MHz) circuit. By the way, I must say that of the 5 teams in our subgroup, no one else coped with this task, including the owners of the stand. In the second subgroup, one team also coped (2 hours 20 minutes), but there was another task, I do not know what it consisted of.

Behind the building in which the department is located is the Kruger brewery, and, I think, its restaurant is the students' favorite place.

Day 4, marathon, awarding and closing of the Olympiad


In the morning there was a marathon - a sort of relaxing creative contest, but again not without electronics: the first task was to assemble a circuit that functions according to any of the tasks - the more complicated, the more points.
We selected a task that sounds approximately: “after the key is locked, the green LED is on, at the touch of a button it goes out and the red lights up . The task of the average difficulty level is 10 points.

But you need to collect the circuit on the children's designer. Since time was limited, due to the rush, they did not quite correctly assemble the scheme.

But this team has assembled the most elegant scheme for 5 points - “when the button is pressed, the red LED flashes for a short time, and when released, it is green”

Also at the marathon it was necessary to present fictional projects and debate about them with opponents. After all, we were taken to the Tomsk special economic zone, but we won’t talk about it, there is politics, not electronics.


At the grand closing of the Olympiad in the evening, the winners were awarded diplomas. It should be noted that in past years, prizes from the ministry in the amount of about 60 tr were given for prizes. for first place. This year about the cash prize - it is not clear, but the winners received diplomas from the ministry.
It is interesting that the practical tour goes off-set, they give a separate diploma for it, but why does it not affect the general one? It is unclear why TPU still has not entered this tour into the classification with recounting in points.

And at the end of the evening - a buffet. A good table, champagne, music in the palace of culture of the university, which also turned out to be a neighboring building with our dispensary. In the morning after the holiday, the employees of the sanatorium patiently gave us a good night's sleep, even though the rooms were not paid for that day, and, saying goodbye, we left towards the station.

Summing up, I’ll say that such an olympiad organized by the forces of one department with the financial support of one university is very laudable. We hope that it will continue to be held, as well as an increase in the number of participants.

By the way

Information about the Olympiad is on the TPU website.
They also started a VKontakte group and asked to ask them questions, give advice and revitalize the group in various ways. They are generally happy to make contact and always listen to comments about the organization.

And tell me, please, how to remove wrapping for text, like clear: both in CSS. In the penultimate photograph, the subtitle ugly climbed into the streamline, but I would like to start it after the picture.

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