KD7020 - Digital Design Automation

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What will I learn on this module?

This module provides you with a working knowledge of the tools, languages and methodologies used in the design and realisation of modern electronic systems.

A central theme of the module will be the use of industry standard Hardware Description Languages, such as Verilog-HDL and its extensions, to capture, at various levels of abstraction, the behaviour and structure of digital, analogue and mixed-signal systems (AMS). Syntax and semantics of digital language will be examined in order to create combinational and sequential building blocks that are compatible with logic synthesis using programmable logic design tools. You will get the opportunity to realise your designs using programmable hardware (CPLD and FPGA) in the workshop.

You will gain experience of System Level Design by learning about, and making use of, an advanced hardware description and verification language such as System Verilog.
The use of simulation, as a means of exploring the complex interactions within a system, will be a central theme of the module.

In addition, design realisation (using Logic Synthesis) and implementation will be used to target programmable logic devices with the digital part of a design.

In Analogue and mixed signal simulation you will develop behavioural models of analogue and mixed-signal components and integrate these into a system model in order to perform verification and exploration of design interactions and trade-offs.

The skills provided by this module are essential academic, practical and professional skills demanded by industry and research for the design of digital and mixed signal systems. This applies both to the general electronic systems but also to communications system development.

How will I learn on this module?

Much of the learning you will experience occurs through practical hands on sessions, using appropriate industry-standard Electronic CAD tools. Staff contact and support is provided in weekly lectures and laboratory workshop sessions. On-going workshop sessions provide you with formative assessment, while an assignment and laboratory-based practical exam provide summative assessment. Lectures and workshop sessions are used in this module as the main mode of delivery. Directed learning is used in conjunction with lectures to guide you to specific topics or chapters within the lecture material or towards texts in the indicative reading list. Moreover, case studies and design problems are focused upon in workshop sessions, reinforcing lecture material. Laboratory sessions provide you with regular access to industry standard ECAD tools for the purposes of design verification and implementation, this practical experience provides positive reinforcement of the lecture material.

The knowledge and skills obtained in this module significantly enhance employability within the field of advanced digital electronic circuit design.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

All formal taught materials and links to additional Directed independent learning will be provided on the university eLearning platform, including workshop exercises and CAD tool hands-on exercises (a selection of the latter will be provided in the form of video recordings), seminar problems and specimen past lab-based exam exercises. Directed learning is used in conjunction with the lectures and workshops to guide students to specific topics or chapters in the lecture material or towards text in the indicative reading list. Moreover, case studies and design problems are focused upon workshop sessions, to reinforce lecture material. The workshop sessions provide access to industry standard ECAD tools for the purpose of design verification and implentation. Students will be encouraged to ask questions and fully engage during all contact sessions, including workshops where formative feedback can be readily and willingly given by the module tutor or research staff. A formative fedback test is provided mid-semester to support students material understanding and awareness. Summative feedback will be provided either in a written or electronic form.

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. Critically evaluate the role played by ECAD tools in the digital and mixed-signal -system design flow.

2. Appreciate the need for, and understand the use of system-level design languages such as System-Verilog.
(UK-Spec: SM1fl, EA1fl, EP2fl, EA3fl, EA6m, EP9m, EP6m)

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Apply the techniques and methodologies used in the simulation and verification of digital and mixed-signal systems using Hardware Description Languages and create simulation models for verification using appropiate simulation tools.

4. Create and implement Register Transfer Level (RTL) designs from system-level specifications, by use of design methodologies, such as Algorithmic State Machines and implement designs using programmable hardware.
(UK-Spec: EA2fl, EA3fl, EA3m, EA4m, SM3m, D3fl, EP4m, D8m, D4m, SM5m, EA2m )

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Develop their knowledge, skill, and resource and time management applied to advanced design tools and languages in an independent manner.
(UK-Spec: SM3m, SM4m, ET1m, D5m)

How will I be assessed?

There are two summative assessments in the module:
1. Written assignment (60%) (3000 - 5000 words) involving the design of a small-scale system making use of digital, analogue and mixed-signal components and external mixed-technology components. This will address module learning outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Feedback will be electronic using the eLP.

2. 3hr Laboratory-based examination (40%) based upon an unseen and time-limited design exercise using the Electronics CAD software tools. Feedback will be provided either in written form or electronically. This will address module learning outcomes: 3, 4 and 5. Feedback will be provided either in written form or electronically via the eLP.

Pre-requisite(s)

None

Co-requisite(s)

None

Module abstract

This module provides you with the skills and knowledge to make effective use of the very latest digital and mixed-signal design languages and tools in order to address the challenges faced by the modern design engineer. You will develop an ability to make use of existing models (and create new ones) in order to verify an entire system, involving not just digital components but analogue and mechatronic devices. You will learn skills that are highly relevant to industrial practice, where an engineer is expected to work in an interdisciplinary manner, having an understanding of the complex interactions of the sub-components in a system and how to optimise overall performance.

This module also provides you with a working knowledge of the very latest tools, languages and methodologies used in the design and realisation of modern digital systems using programmable systems-on-a-chip, where much of the learning will occur through practical hands on sessions, using industry-standard software tools and hardware platforms.

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

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