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ENG2025 : Digital Electronics

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Domenico Balsamo
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module will provide know-how on designing digital circuits and systems. Students will learn to critically evaluate combinatorial and sequential circuits from the designer's point of view. This module will also focus on experiencing computer-aided digital design techniques and hardware description languages (VHDL), mainly for programmable logic devices, logic synthesis and simulation. At the end of the module, students will be able to design digital circuits and systems, including computer arithmetic circuits and synchronous and asynchronous sequential logic circuits based on programmable logic.

Outline Of Syllabus

Students will be asked to bring curiosity about hardware design. Together, we will develop the ability to design standard arithmetic and combinational logic circuits, move to synchronous and asynchronous sequential logic, and address finite state machines.

In particular, one important aspect covered in this module is handling hardware description language such as VHDL. These are used to describe, simulate, and create hardware for digital circuits such that these can be simulated before being implemented in the hardware.

Upon completing this module, which spans one semester, students will become familiar with hardware description languages such as VDHL and gain experience designing the core building blocks used in digital electronics.

Through these outcomes, students will more naturally learn other hardware programming languages (e.g., Verilog) that are useful for career advancement.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion18:008:00Revision for Exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion401:0040:00General reading; reviewing lecture notes; solving practical problems including formative assessment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion114:0014:00Open book assignment (problem solving) (14 hours of budgeted prep time)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:002x1hr lectures per week over 11 weeks
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Written exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical72:0014:00VHDL hardware description language
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Besides regular class activity in which slides (whose PDF printouts are available from the course's CANVAS page before lectures) are used and discussed during class hours, allowing students to focus on the discussed concepts and take notes. A relevant part of the course will be spent in a computer cluster to learn hardware description languages and digital design tools. Laboratory sessions and tutorials will focus on practising VHDL using CAD EDA tools.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A80Exam workload 2 hours.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises2M20VHDL assignment
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Prob solv exercises2MProblem solving exercises on VHDL programming
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination allows the student to demonstrate their understanding of the course material. The VHDL assignment enables students to demonstrate that they can apply their digital design techniques knowledge and their analysis and synthesis skills using computer-aided and hardware description languages. The formative problem solving exercises provide the opportunity for students to demonstrate their abilities.

Reading Lists