Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)


Department: Engineering


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None.
Tied to H1K709


  • None


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • This module is for students intending to fulfil the requirements of the MSc in Communications.
  • The module will provide graduates with advanced knowledge and understanding of DIgital Electronics and Digital Signal Processing.
  • This module is complemented by the 90 credit MSc Research and Development project module where the MSc student has the opportunity to apply the material taught in this module in a large scale project.


  • Review of current digital circuit technology
  • Hardware Description Languages and the process to circuit realisation
  • Asynchronous Circuit Design
  • Integer and Floating Point Arithmetic Circuits
  • Fault Modelling, stuck at faults
  • Test set design, path sensitisation and the D algorithm
  • Sequential logic testing, scan methods and boundary scan
  • Analysis and synthesis of Discrete-Time Systems
  • Digital Filter Design
  • Discrete and Fast Fourier Transform and applications
  • Hilbert and Walsh Transforms
  • Quantisation Effects in Digital Signals
  • State Variable representation of digital systems
  • Hardware implementation of Digital signal processing systems

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • How hardware description languages can be used to describe large scale digital circuits.
  • The ability to understand the operation of complex digital circuits, using sequential, synchronous and asynchronous logic.
  • Operation of advanced arithmetic circuits, and the choices available for implementation.
  • Advanced methods of circuit testing.
  • Understanding advanced FIR and IIR filters.
  • The mathematics of spectral extraction algorithms.
  • Use of 2 and 3D transforms.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • An awareness of current technology, design analysis, and commercial practice and the ability to bring these together to provide innovative solutions.
  • The use of advanced knowledge of digital circuits to design innovative hardware, including in circuit testing capability.
  • The use of advanced circuit analysis methods to design high speed circuits.
  • The design of advanced Digital Filters.
  • The application of appropriate windowing in FFTs applications.
  • The optimum selection of digital resolution to meet specifications.
  • The hardware implementation of DSP applications.
  • An in-depth knowledge and understanding of specialist and advanced technical and professional skills, an ability to perform critical assessment and review and an ability to communicate the results of their work effectively.
Key Skills:
  • Capacity for independent self-learning within the bounds of professional practice.
  • Specialised design skills appropriate to digital systems engineers.
  • Advanced skills to design large scale digital hardware.
  • Specialised skills to analyse and design DSP systems.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The courses in Digital Electronics and Digital Signal Processing are covered in lectures and are reinforced by design based problem sheets, leading to the required design and problem solving capability.
  • Students are able to make use of staff ‘Tutorial Hours’ to discuss any aspect of the module with teaching staff on a one-to-one basis.
  • Written timed examinations are appropriate because of the wide range of in-depth technical material covered in this module and to demonstrate the ability to solve advanced problems independently.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 38 2 per week 1 Hour 38
Seminars 2 2 per week (week 20) 1 Hour 2
Tutorials 4 Up to 2 per week up to 1 hour 4
Preparation and Reading 156
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Digital Electronics 2 hours 50% no
Digital Signal Processing 2 hours 50% no

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University