ECE 440 – Digital Systems Engineering (Spring 2014)


All assignments are due at the start of class on the specified due date (by 4pm  PT, two calendar days later for off-campus). Late assignments will not be accepted without prior approval. Each assignment should have your name, the course number, the date, and the assignment designation (e.g., HW1, etc.). Attendance is mandatory. Students who miss five or more class periods will automatically receive a final grade of F.


Homework and Quizzes (10%)

Homework will be collected and graded throughout the semester. Students may work together on homework and should check their answers against the posted solutions. There may also be unannounced quizzes periodically, perhaps even daily! It is your responsibility to make sure you are prepared for every class.

  1. Due Jan 22. (a) Fig. 1-1 in the text shows a detailed design flow for HDL-based ASICS. Briefly compare this to the flow you followed in the introductory class using Xilinx FPGAs (or similar); (b) Why might one company choose an FPGA for their product while another develops a full-custom IC?
  2. Due Jan 24. (a) Figure 2-62 provides the function table for a "priority decoder". Show how a priority decoder can be easily constructed from other components presented in section 2.6; (b) Implement a majority function of three variables using the smallest multiplexer possible. (i.e., output a 1 when two or more inputs are 1)
  3. Due Jan 29. Exercise 3.7. Digital Review problems.
  4. Due Jan 31. Digital Design Problems.
  5. Due Mar 3. Analyze this amusing little circuit and explain how the memory contents are modified as the circuit goes through four complete cycles of the the four-bit counter.
  6. Due Mar 14. Why are Gray code pointers used to implement FIFOs that buffer two separate clock domains?
  7. Due Mar 28. Detailed block diagram of project 4. (as a planning tool)

Projects (35%)

There will be projects throughout the semester, selected to complement the lectures. Students are to work independently and contact the instructor if they have questions. Sample report

  1. Due Feb 3. Project 1
  2. Due Feb 21. Project 2. Solution slides.
  3. Due March 10. Now, code up the amusing little circuit and perform a behavioral simulation, monitoring primary I/O and the RAM contents, then repeat with post-PAR sim observing PIO only. (be sure to simulate through four full counter cycles.) Verify that the memory accesses are the same between the two simulations. Please turn in your Verilog code, the simulations, and a brief commentatry on your experience and observations.
  4. Due Apr 7. Project 4. Solution slides.
  5. Due Apr 25. Project 5.
  6. Due May 9. ChipScope Exploration. Using this project archive, follow these steps. This video will provide helpful screenshots. (download to your desktop) Don't hesistate to ask for help! Jim's mini-lecture

Exams (55%)

There will be two semester exams and a comprehensive final, weighted equally, and closed book/open notes.  Please bring your own paper, a calculator, pencils, and an eraser to each exam.

  1. Feb 12. Topics
  2. March 26. Topics
  3. Final Exam, Thurs, May 15, 3-5pm. Topics

Lecture Information

Lecture Overheads

Class Handouts

Reference Material

Sutherland HDL

Sunburst Design

ASIC World - Verilog

Xilinx Documentation

High Speed Digital Design