KD6028 - Digital System Design and Implementation

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 using 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 methods are used to synthesise 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 significant 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. Applying the techniques associated with digital system Testing and Design-for-Test. (AHEP 4 C1)

2. Applying the context of digital system design in the developing field of microelectronics (AHEP 4 C1, C3)

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

3. Desing 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. (AHEP 4 C5, M5)

4. Applying 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. (AHEP 4 , C6, M6)

5. Analysis and modelling of digital circuits, including low-level CMOS circuits. (AHEP 4 C2)

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

How will I be assessed?

The summative assessment of the module will be via a combination of:
- Coursework (CW): a project assignment (80%, LO1, LO2, LO3 and LO5) and
- Coursework (CW): coursework report based upon work completed in the workshop reports (20%, LO4).

The project assignment is given in week 1 and lab assignment is given on the exam day.

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 project assignment will be provided approximately 4 weeks after.


KD5065 C Programming and Digital 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 H605

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 City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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