Hardware engineers design and produce a number of electrical circuits for computers, machines, and other equipment applications. They build computer chip layout blueprints, run performance testing, analyze statistical information, and modify a variety of analog and digital components.

The spectrum of hardware engineering services is expanding as robots, machine learning, network simulators, and other innovations progress. During a hardware design interview, companies are looking for the best applicant to exhibit significant expertise in electrical engineering and be an effective problem solver. 

As a result, we've compiled a list of frequently asked Hardware Design Development interview questions that might assist you in landing your ideal job!

Hardware Design Interview Questions

1. What Are the Functions of a Hardware Engineer?

Ans: A hardware engineer may have a variety of responsibilities depending on the organization. These activities include information systems research, development, and testing. Additionally, hardware engineers create microprocessors, routers, bridges, memory devices, computer chips, and other computer peripherals. Moreover, it is within their responsibilities to identify future trends in computer equipment.

2. Describe How Scalability Can Be Achieved?

Ans: You can achieve scalability by updating a system. This may entail boosting the processing capability of a system to enable practical task completion. Another method of scaling a system is to enhance the architectural style. This will result in a more efficient technique of delivering software onto hardware.

3. Describe what embedded real-time systems are.

Ans: Real-time embedded devices are machines that analyze, respond to, and control their surrounding environment in real-time. Through valves, sensors, and other input-output connectors, the ecosystem gets connected to the computer system.

4. What is the purpose of a microcontroller?

Ans: A microcontroller is a self-contained concept that integrates peripherals, memory, and a CPU. It is sometimes referred to as an embedded system.

5. What Is the Difference Between Hard and Soft Real-Time Systems?

Ans:Hard real-time systems are those that place a high premium on the output being delivered on time. Any late answer or delay will always be seen as a failure.

On the other hand, soft real-time implementations are not as rigorous as hard real-time systems. The system's efficiency drops as the reaction time increases, but this degradation is tolerable and may be adjusted to a certain degree for repetition of the result.

6. What is the difference between a microprocessor and a microcontroller?

  • The microprocessor is responsible for managing resources (I/O, memory) that are not part of its design.
  • Microcontrollers incorporate I/O, memory, and other components that are optimized for control.

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7. What Does Fault Tolerance Mean?

Ans: Fault tolerance relates to the feature of a framework that enables it to continue functioning even when component losses are incurred. Nonetheless, it is critical to quickly determine the source of the issue to rectify it and restore full performance.

8. What is the purpose of the DMA address?

Ans: DMA addresses deal with physical addresses. It is a mechanism that provides information and addresses buses immediately during data transport. As a result, it is only a physical address.

9. How are you going to define VLSI?

Ans: It is an acronym for Very Large-Scale Implementation and is a technique that enables engineers to shrink the size of equipment. At the moment, this technology allows for the construction of a complete electrical circuit on a microchip.

10. What is the definition of a chip? What is the importance of this?

Ans: A chip is nothing more than a bit piece of electronic equipment. Although it is tiny in size, it contains a large number of electrical components.

The major purpose of chips is to minimize computer components’ size and circumvent other developmental difficulties. They contribute significantly to cost reduction.

11. What is Architectural Risk and How Can It Be Reduced?

Ans: An architectural risk is a chance that an architectural style may fall short of meeting a project's criteria. Failure may manifest itself in inferior visual appeal and inefficiencies not authorized by the contractor. 

12. Define Multiprocessing vs. Multitasking

Ans: Multiprocessing refers to a CPU's capacity to run many applications concurrently. Multiple processors are used in computers today to increase their multiprocessing capacities. On the other hand, multitasking refers to a multiprocessor's capacity to switch between concurrently executing processes.

13. What is the purpose of a clock generator? What role does it play in the hardware?

Ans: A clock generator is nothing more than a circuit that generates clocks, or analysis of responses, to synchronize a circuit. It ensures the proper operation of any gear that utilizes electronics. A clock generator may be used to create a range of different frequencies.

14. What is the definition of interrupt latency? How are you going to minimize it?

Ans: Interrupt latency is the time required to exit the interrupt service procedure following the treatment of a particular interrupt. Interrupt latency can be decreased by developing small ISR procedures.

15. What is a Watchdog Timer?

Ans: A watchdog timer is an electrical device or board that performs a specified function after a predetermined time period if anything really goes horribly wrong with a computer circuit.

16. Why is an endless loop required in embedded systems?

Ans: Embedded programs incorporate endless loops to execute or analyze the program's state continuously. For instance, consider the scenario where a program's state is constantly checked for any unusual mistakes that may occur during run-time, such as memory corruption or division by zero.

17. What do you mean when you say "NRE"? What difference does it make?

Ans: NRE is an abbreviation for Nonrecurring Engineering Costs. In other words, it is the budgeted cost of designing and developing any hardware. It is significant since this cost is frequently considerable, and businesses cannot always guarantee a return on investment.

18. What is a semaphore?

Ans: A semaphore is an abstraction or variable used to manage access to the entire resource by several processes. Semaphores are frequently utilized in two ways:

  •   To utilize a shared memory area.
  •    To share file access.

19. When is it necessary to utilize a recursive function? Mention the effect of inline recursion routines.

Ans: When the frequency of recursive calls is not enormous, the recursion function can be utilized. The inline functions attribute specifies that every time the function is called, it will replicate its full definition. A call back function defined as inline places an additional load on the compiler's processing.

20. Describe a circuit that divides the frequency of a clock cycle in half.

Ans: Simply construct a T Flip flop to split the frequency of a clock. Assign clock as the input signal and logic 1 as the T input.

21. What kind of registers does an INTEL CPU contain?

Ans: Special functional registers such as an accumulator, a program controller, and a data pointer are included, along with three registry banks r0 to r7 and bit addressing domains such as B.

22. What is the difference between testing and verification?

Ans: Verification is a pre-silicon activity, whereas testing is a post-silicon activity. Verification is the process of ensuring the design's functioning throughout the design cycle. Testing is used to identify production flaws.

23. How Do You Determine Whether Two 8-bit Signals Are Identical?

Ans: XOR each bit of A with the bit of B, and so on. Eight XOR gates' outputs are then sent as i/p to an eight -i/p nor gate. If o/p equals 1, A=B.

24. What Are the Constraints on Set Up and Hold Time? What Do They Indicate?

Ans: Assume a rising edge activates your flip-flop. The time period during which data must be steady before the positive edge clocking is the setup time restriction. The time period during which data must remain steady following the positive edge of the clock is referred to as the hold time restriction.

If any of these restrictions are broken, the flip-flop enters a metastable position, in which the outcome of the flip-flop cannot be determined.

25. In hardware design, what is soldering and de-soldering?

Ans: Soldering is a process used to attach one object to another using a soldering gun mechanically. This technique is explored when some degree of hardware modification is necessary.

On the other hand, de-soldering refers to the process of separating these elements from one another or from the PCB on which they are mounted.

26. What distinguishes macros from inline functions?

Ans: Macros are typically utilized when a series of instructions/tasks must be replayed. They are tiny programs that do certain preset tasks.

Normally, we use the #define declaration to specify the values of various variables so that if the value has to be changed, just the value needs to be updated and the modification is reflected everywhere.

27. Justify the existence of parallel address space.

  • The two physically distinct memories that share the same address space.
  • The two variables are accessible in this case using distinct access modes.
  • The direct addressing method is used to retrieve lower bytes, whereas the indirect addressing method is used to access higher bits of data.

28. What are the advantages and disadvantages of assembling in embedded systems?

Pros:

  • These are hardware-oriented applications.
  • As long as the same chip is utilized, the code is portable.
  • Instructions are executed quickly.
  • Point mutations are simple.

Cons:

  • The programs are lengthy and might get confusing.
  • The applications are not easily executable on lesser computers.
  • The code cannot be executed on computers with varying CPU architectures.
  • There is no System Development Kit included.

29. What are the advantages of unions in embedded devices?

Ans: Unions are being used in embedded devices to group programs that operate in distinct modes. Then, the model-specific data may be stored in a structure, and these models can be combined into a union.

30. In embedded systems, what are actuators?

Ans: A component that is used to track the motion of systems and machinery is called an actuator. It is powered by the electrical current, which transforms the energy contained in a control input into mechanical vibrations after acquiring it.