KD6028 - Digital System Design and Implementation

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What will I learn on this module?

The module aims to show you how to design and implement digital systems using a range of powerful techniques and tools, such as Finite State Machines (FSMs) and Programmable Logic. A central theme of the module is the use of a Hardware Description Language (HDL), and how it can be used to describe and verify a digital design at a behavioural level. Practical sessions, involving the use of industry standard simulation, synthesis and implementation software, will be used to provide experience of the complete digital system design flow, from concept to realisation. In addition to the use of HDLs, this module also considers some of the key low-level aspects of digital systems, including Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) circuits and their performance and optimisation using circuit-level simulation.

This module also aims to develop your understanding of practical design and implementation issues, such as testing and ‘Design-for-Test’. These and other topics will be reinforced by the use of real-world case examples and designs.

The commercial issues surrounding digital system realisation using a variety of technologies will be explored, with emphasis on Programmable Logic. The design of FSMs is methodically introduced and synchronous and asynchronous FSMs are covered. The Petri Net is also introduced and used to create both sequential and parallel based FSMs. All these FSM methouds are used to synthesise particular digital systems to meet required specifications.

This module will provide you with the skills you require to practice digital system design in an industrial context, making use of real-world design problems and industry standard software. Case studies, based on industrial consultancy work carried out by academic staff, will be used as examples to enhance your employability.

How will I learn on this module?

The design techniques and underlying knowledge covered in this module will be delivered using lectures and seminars, the latter will be used to give you the opportunity to undertake problem solving and real-world design exercises. Lecture content and seminar sessions will provide you with formative feedback where for example short tests or seminar sheet problems will be expanded and solved in an interactive manner with the students taking a signifcant role.
Workshops complement the delivery of theoretical content though the use of: (i) circuit-level simulation (CMOS) to explore the performance and design of low-level digital circuits and: (ii) The design of a Programmable Logic based system using industry-standard tools and hardware and (iii) Short software demonstration videos on the use of simulation tools.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

All taught materials will be provided on the eLearning platform, including workshop exercises, seminar problems and specimen past exam questions. You will be encouraged to ask questions and fully engage during all contact sessions. You will also have continuous access to the simulation software in order follow demonstration Panopto videos, practice tutorials and develop your personal and technical skills in digital system design.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Understand and apply the techniques associated with digital system Testing and Design-for-Test. (UKSPEC – EP1m, ET2m, EA2m )

2. Understand the context of digital system design in the developing field of microelectronics (UKSpec EP1m)
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

3. Develop a state diagram for a Finite State Machine (FSM) in order to control memory devices and other digital sub-systems to meet a particular set of requirements. Implement such FSM control hardware using standard digital components. (UKSPEC – EA4m, EA1m)

4. Apply techniques and methodologies used in the simulation and modelling of a range of digital systems described at differing abstraction levels, including Hardware Description Language (HDL) and CMOS circuit level. (UKSPEC – EA1m, EP6m, EA4m, EA2m)

5. Make use of Programmable Logic Technology (CPLD and FPGA) and associated tools to design, verify and implement a digital system. (UKSPEC – EP2m, D5m, D4m, EP3m, EA3m)

6. Analyse and model the performance metrics of digital circuits, including low-level CMOS circuits. (UKSPEC EA2m, EA4m)

How will I be assessed?

The summative assessment of the module will be via a combination of unseen written closed book examination (80%, LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 and LO6) and continuous assessment in the form of workshop reports (20%, LO4, LO5 and LO6).

Formative feedback will be provided in the workshop sessions in an interactive manner by engaging the students in the design process. Moreover feedback on the written examination will be provided, post examination, via the eLearning platform.


KD5065 C Programming and Digital Systems


KD6027 Embedded Systems

Module abstract

In this module you will learn how to design and implement digital systems using a range of powerful techniques and tools that reflect current industrial practice. You will produce optimised design solutions to a range of practical problems using Finite State Machines (FSMs) and other logical elements, using a powerful and novel design technique. Important building blocks such as memories, arithmetic units, combinational and sequential logic sub-systems and other functional elements, are described in terms of their behaviour and verified by means of a widely used high-level design language and associated software tools. Practical workshops, involving the use of industry standard software and hardware, will be used to provide experience of the complete digital system design flow, from initial concept to hardware testing. You will gain experience in the creation of a real design solution, from specification to realisation in the form of programmable logic.
In addition to the above, you will learn about the underlying technology of the most ubiquitous type of digital logic (CMOS), in terms of circuit design, performance and optimisation.
You will also develop an understanding of a range of technologies that can be used to implement digital systems and their commercial and performance trade-offs, such as power consumption, speed and design engineering costs. Practical design and implementation issues, such as testing and ‘Design-for-Test’ will also be covered, provide a valuable insight into the challenges and issues faced by the modern digital system design engineer.

Course info

UCAS Code H602

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 4 years full-time or 5 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering

Location Ellison Building, Newcastle City Campus

City Newcastle

Start September 2019 or September 2020

Current, Relevant and Inspiring

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