ELEC ENG 3028 - Digital Systems

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2017

This course develops engineering capabilities pertaining to the design of digital electronic systems. Designs for contemporary implementation technologies are expressed using circuit schematics and a hardware description language. System architecture, microarchitecture and interfacing concepts are developed through an extended case study of a commercial microprocessor. Students undertake an independent research exercise on a question related to the future of digital electronics technology.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ELEC ENG 3028
    Course Digital Systems
    Coordinating Unit School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 2 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge ELEC ENG 1009, ELEC ENG 1010, ELEC ENG 2008
    Assessment tutorials, quiz, final exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Braden Phillips

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1 design, build and test digital logic for systems of moderate complexity using common digital components, schematic diagrams, and hardware description language
    2 use and explain engineering practices to manage the complexity of digital systems
    3 write short assembly language programs
    4 select, justify and use appropriate implementation technologies for digital systems
    5 explain the operation of a single-cycle microarchitecture for a RISC microprocessor
    6 work effectively and ethically in teams to undertake the design of digital systems
    7 prepare and present a written answer to a research question relating to future electronic technologies

    The above course learning outcomes are aligned with the Engineers Australia Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer.
    The course is designed to develop the following Elements of Competency: 1.1   1.2   1.3   1.4   1.5   2.1   2.2   2.3   2.4   3.2   3.4   3.5   3.6   

    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Textbook: David Harris and Sarah Harris, Digital Design and Computer Architecture, Elsevier. Either the First Edition (2008) or the Second Edition (2013) may be used. The full text of the First Edition of this book is available electronically from the University of Adelaide Library.

    A set of lecture slides, pre-recorded lectures, practice questions, worked solutions, and other supporting materials are available on the course web site. An FPGA development board is loaned to students for the duration of the course. This is required for tutorials but may also be used in a student’s own time, in the computer aided teaching suites for example.
    Online Learning
    This course uses the MyUni web site. All announcements are posted on MyUni. Pre-recorded lectures, practice and tutorial questions, and other resources are available on MyUni. The gradebook is used to communicate marks. The research assignment is submitted using MyUni. A discussion board is available for course-related discussion.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Tutorials: the course uses a flipped classroom with an emphasis on weekly 2-hour face-to-face tutorials. Students prepare for tutorials by reading sections of the textbook, watching pre-recorded lectures, and attempting preparation exercises. During tutorials, teaching staff spend time with each student individually to help explain difficult concepts. Tutorial time is also spent working as individuals on exercise problems and in small groups on design problems.

    Pre-Recorded Lectures: wherever possible the lectures follow the structure, terminology and notation of the course textbook. Slides and pre-recoded lectures are available prior to tutorials and, where material outside of the scope of the textbook is presented, detailed notes are provided. Students are expected to read sections of the textbook, watch the pre-recorded lectures and attempt some exercise problems in preparation for tutorials.

    Q&A Lectures: a 1-hour face-to-face lecture is held in odd numbered weeks. Students are encouraged to attend with questions related to the current topic (but not the tutorial exercises as these are discussed at the tutorials). In week 1 this time is used for the introductory lecture. In week 9 it is used for the test.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to help students engage appropriately with the course requirements.

    Activity Contact Hours Workload Hours
    Pre-tutorial Reading 36
    Pre-recorded Lectures 36
    Q & A Lectures (incl. Test) 6 6
    Tutorials 24 36
    Research Assignment 1 4
    Practice Questions and Revision 32
    Total 31 150

    Learning Activities Summary
    TOPIC 1: Building Digital Systems
    Managing complexity: abstraction, discipline, hierarchy, regularity and modularity
    The digital abstraction: digital signals, number systems, logic gates
    Implementation technologies: discrete logic chips, microprocessors, gate arrays, programmable logic controllers and custom VLSI
    Introduction to Verilog: signals, operators, continuous assignments, structural
    models, testbenches

    TOPIC 2: Combinational Logic Design
    Review: Boolean equations, Boolean algebra, simplification, Karnaugh maps
    Logic synthesis: manual techniques, combinational logic in Verilog
    High impedance & illegal logic states
    Combinational blocks: multiplexers, decoders, tristates
    Timing: propagation delay, contamination delay, glitches

    TOPIC 3: Sequential Logic Design
    Synchronous elements: latches, flip-flops, Verilog
    Synchronous circuits: asynchronous logic, synchronous architectures
    Synthesis of synchronous logic: systematic synthesis, ad-hoc synthesis,
    state encoding, Mealy and Moore machines, factoring, Verilog
    Advanced Verilog: finite state machines, parameterised models, test benches
    Parallelism: latency & throughput, pipelines
    Timing: constraints, clock skew, synchronisation

    TOPIC 4: CMOS Logic
    CMOS logic gates: MOSFETs, static CMOS, transmission gates, pseudo-nMOS
    Delay: transistor sizing, RC model, rise and fall time, linear delay model,
    noise margin
    Power: dynamic power, static power, low power design
    Building blocks: tristates, multiplexers, adders, latches, flip-flops,
    memory cells

    TOPIC 5: Digital Subsystems and Interfaces
    Arithmetic subsystems: adders, subtractors, comparators, shifts and rotates
    Sequential subsystems: counters, shift registers, scan chains
    Memory subsystems: organisation, memory types, memory applications
    Logic array subsystems: PLAs, FPGAs
    Parallel interfaces: bidirectional signals, memory mapping, memory
    organisation,memory addressing
    Serial interfaces: asynchronous serial, RS232, synchronous serial, I2C

    TOPIC 6: Digital Systems Architecture 
    Assembly language: instructions, operands, machine language
    Programming: the MIPS instruction set, loops, arrays and procedure calls, exceptions
    Microarchitecture: single-cycle MIPS microarchitecture
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The Research Assignment is a small group discovery experience. Students form small groups and choose a topic of interest related to future electronic technology. Groups meet twice with an academic mentor who helps them refine their research question and find relevant resources. Each group prepares a short report that includes a survey of published results from high-quality academic sources. The reports should focus on a recent development in a technology and show how this relates to the evolution of that technology.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Weighting (%) Individual/ Group Formative/ Summative
    Due (week)*
    Hurdle criteria Learning outcomes
    Tutorials (1-12) 15 Individual Formative Weeks 1-12 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
    Test 10 Individual Formative Week 9 1. 2. 4.
    Research Assignment 5 Group Formative Week 11 6. 7.
    Exam 70 Individual Summative Min 40% 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
    Total 100
    * The specific due date for each assessment task will be available on MyUni.
    This assessment breakdown is registered as an exemption to the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy. The exemption is related to the Procedures clause(s): 1. b. 3.   
    This course has a hurdle requirement. Meeting the specified hurdle criteria is a requirement for passing the course.
    Assessment Related Requirements
    The examination is a hurdle requirement. It is necessary to achieve at least 40% in the exam. If this is not achieved, the total course mark will be limited to a maximum of 49. Further details of hurdle requirements are explained in the University's Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy.
    Assessment Detail
    Tutorials: students maintain an exercise book in which they record tutorial preparation and the work completed during tutorials. This is assessed during tutorials on the basis of the student having attempted and then corrected prescribed exercises.

    Test: a 40 minute test is held in week 9. Test questions are representative of typical exam questions.

    Research Assignment: students work in a small group to write short report on an emerging electronic technology. Groups are assigned a member of staff to advise them on their topic. The report should draw upon research published in high-quality sources. It is due in week 11.

    Exam: a 2-hour examination is held at the end of the semester. 

    Tutorial preparation and tutorial exercises are marked during the tutorial sessions with verbal feedback given immediately. In Tutorial 3, for example, the exercises for Tutorial 2 and the preparation for Tutorial 3 are marked.

    Students can expect the marks from their continuous assessment activities to be available on MyUni within two weeks of the activity.

    The report for the research assignment is due in week 11 and will be submitted on MyUni (and may use TurnItIn).

    In keeping with the University’s policy on Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment, students whose capacity to demonstrate their true level of competence in a continuous assessment task was seriously impaired because of approved medical, compassionate or extenuating circumstances will be offered the following modified arrangements.
    • For tutorials: an extension of the deadline.
    • For the test: by calculating a mark according to the formula in the School’s policy on Supplementary Exercises for Continuous Assessment Components (https://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/policies/continuous-assessment-exercises.pdf).
    • For the research assignment: an extension of the deadline.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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