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COMP10222: Digital Systems (2007-2008)

This is an archived syllabus from 2007-2008

Digital Systems
Level: 1
Credit rating: 10
Pre-requisites: COMP10211
Co-requisites: COMP10020
Duration: 11 weeks in second semester
Lectures: 22 in total, 2 per week
Labs: 20 hours in total, 10 2-hour sessions
Lecturers: Ernie Hill, Jim Miles
Course lecturers: Ernie Hill

Jim Miles

Additional staff: view all staff
Sem 2 w19-25,29-32 Lecture 1.4 Wed 09:00 - 10:00 -
Sem 2 w19-25,29-32 Lecture 1.5 Mon 14:00 - 15:00 -
Sem 2 w20-25,29-32 Lab Eng Tue 13:00 - 15:00 Z
Sem 2 w20-25,29-32 Lab Eng Mon 15:00 - 17:00 Y
Assessment Breakdown
Exam: 40%
Coursework: 0%
Lab: 60%


This course builds on the logic design theme of COMP10211, showing how technology affects the design process. The history of computing has been one of relentless and spectacular progress towards smaller, faster, cheaper and lower-power logic technologies. An understanding of the driving force behind computer technology is required by anyone who is involved in strategic planning in any computer related context, and the fundamentals are presented here.

Computers have to interface to the external world, and the fundamental characteristics of common interfaces are presented.

The practical side of the course will continue to develop the logic design skills formed in COMP10211 towards the building of complete computing systems. Laboratory exercises include the development of a simple game and a numerical calculator.

Learning Outcomes

A student completing this course unit should:

Understand how MOSFET transistors operate as voltage controlled switches and how CMOS logic gates work.
Understand basic techniques for low-power and high-performance digital design.
Understand how digital systems interface to external devices and signals.
Have demonstrated the ability to split a design problem into control and data parts and to implement complete systems on FPGA technology.

Assessment of Learning outcomes

1, 2 and 3 are assessed by examination. 4 is assessed by laboratory work.

Contribution to Programme Learning Outcomes

A3 B1 C6 D1 D2 D6


Basic Electricity [1]

Voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, power.

Ohm's law, Kirchoff's law. DC and AC.

Simple DC circuit analysis.


MOS transistors as switches. CMOS gates, operation and properties.

The VLSI process. Designing a simple CMOS processor chip.

More speed, less power [3]

Delay, power, heat; fan-in, fan-out; logical effort; wiring;

Performance [3]

Pipelining; microarchitecture; latency, bandwidth.

System design [2]

Component-based; system-on-chip (SoC). CPU/RAM/ROM/peripherals, address decoding. On-chip buses; interrupts; DMA.

Interfaces [3]

Monitors, video standards. Storage devices. LANs. Serial lines.

Keyboards and mice. Printers. Principal features including bandwidth and latency requirements,

Protocols, number of wires.

Interface standards.

Digital Signal Processing [2]

Multiply-Accumulate, hardware engines.

System-on-Chip [2]

Examples: GSM chipset, Bluetooth.