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Unit information: Digital Circuits and Systems in 2015/16

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Unit name Digital Circuits and Systems
Unit code EENG14000
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Mike Barton
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


An introductory unit, covering the design and implementation of digital systems. It shows how circuit components can be configured into logic elements, and how these elements may be interconnected into larger subsystems such as simple computers. The 'Logic Design' element deals with the design of small-scale combinatorial and sequential systems. 'Digital Electronics' considers the sub-gate level, raising electrical and timing issues. 'Computer Architecture' introduces the machine-level operation of a computer, together with the fundamentals of assembler programming.

Intended learning outcomes

Having completed the unit, students will be able to:

  1. describe the binary representation of both numerical and non-numerical information;
  2. create minimal SOP and POS expressions and NAND-/NOR-only implementations for simple combinatorial problems, using Karnaugh maps and Boolean Algebra, starting from plain language or truth table definitions;
  3. describe the external operation of D, and SR flip-flops, and the internal construction of the asynchronous SR flip-flop;
  4. create state machine diagrams and minimal implementations for Moore and Mealy machines using random or programmable logic and D-type flip-flops;
  5. describe the internal and external operation of standard elements such as adders, decoders, multiplexers, and demultiplexers;
  6. apply positive and negative logic representations;
  7. interpret simple VHDL descriptions including entity and architecture declarations.
  8. recall which active devices are used to make logic circuits;
  9. describe how the diode, FET, and BJT work and are characterised;
  10. apply graphical methods to analyse diode and transistor circuits;
  11. model a diode, FET and BJT for logic operation;
  12. design simple switching circuits using diodes and BJTs;
  13. apply these models to analyse complex logic circuits; and
  14. review the operation and performance of some standard logic families.
  15. describe the internal and external operation of a simple CPU at the fetch/execute level;
  16. apply a typical range of addressing modes and conditional/unconditional control instructions;
  17. create and debug simple assembly-language programs, including translation from pseudo-code /flowcharts;
  18. describe (in simple terms) the operation of an interrupt mechanism.
  19. describe the principles of high-level language, compilation and linking.

Teaching details

Lectures and laboratory classes

Assessment Details

  • Quiz on logic design laboratory activity, 10% (ILOs 2, 4)
  • Exam, 3 hours, 90% (All ILOs)

Reading and References

  • Wakerly, J.F., Digital Design – Principles and Practices (4th ed); Pearson Prentice Hall 2006, ISBN:0131733494 & ISBN:8120330218. (Essential)
  • Mano, M.M., & Krime, C.R., Logic and Computer Design Fundamentals (4th ed); Pearson Education 2008, ISBN:013198926X. (Background)