SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHH623542
Module Leader Ryan Gibson
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Electronic Engineering
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Digital Programmable Systems 1 and 2 or equivalent

Summary of Content

This module provides an up-to-date and modern approach to digital logic design as an activity in a larger systems design context. Specifically hardware description language (HDL)-based design and verification is emphasized. Digital logic is treated as part of embedded systems design, this provides an understanding of the implementation methodologies needed in the analysis and design of systems incorporating both hardware and software components, providing an overview of modern computational architectures and hardware accelerators.


The teaching syllabus will cover the following areas: Review of combinational/sequential logic design and implementation on FPGA: Decoders, multiplexers, active low logic, flip-flops, registers, latches, counters, sequential datapaths and control, finite state machines, VHDL implementation Memories: Memory types, Asynchronous Static RAM, Synchronous RAM, Dynamic RAM, Ferroelectric RAM, Error Detection and Correction Implementation Fabrics: Integrated circuits, Programmable Logic Devices, Packaging and Circuit Boards, Interconnect and Signal Integrity Processors: Microcontroller and Processor Cores, MIPS/ARM/DSP architectures, Interfacing with memory, Cache I/O Interfacing: I/O Devices and Controllers, Parallel Busses, Serial Transmission, I/O Software Accelerators: General concepts, case study - video edge detection, accelerator verification Design Methodology: Design Flow, Design Optimisation, Design for Test

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the student should be able to:Describe computer architecture concepts and mechanisms related to the design of modern processors, memories, accelerators and networks Develop complex digital systems using VHDL, and prototype using FPGA Incorporate pre-existing logic cores into a designCreate and implement appropriate verification methodologies for digital designs Develop concise yet comprehensive technical reports that describe designs and explain the testing strategy used to verify functionality

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The University 'Strategy for Learning' documentation has informed the learning and teaching strategy for this module. The course material will be introduced through lectures and practical exercises based on lecture material will be applied during lab and tutorial sessions. Tutorials will be used to explain and elaborate on the lecture material. The laboratory work will provide the student with support to develop their digital design skills and verification methods using VHDL. This will involve real world case studies of designs and their testing strategies. These exercises have been specifically engineered to map to industrial requirements for embedded systems developers, skilled in both hardware and software. This summative assessment of these technical skills will be in a final project. Full use will be made of GCU Learn to provide Lecture-based and related study materials, along with sample solutions of Tutorial and Laboratory exercises, thus encouraging the development of independent learning and allowing self-reflective feedback on student performance. Staff-based feedback on student performance for submitted work will be provided in line with the University feedback policy, with summative feedback and grades on the coursework assessment utilising GCU Learn. The additional interactive discussion features of GCU Learn will be utilised, as appropriate to the module, to stimulate independent and flexible student learning outwith scheduled class time.

Indicative Reading

Both the learned and the popular literature on data analysis, probability and statistics will be used as a source of information for private study. The titles and electronic resources below are to be considered as indicative only. -357 1. Digital Design - An Embedded Systems Approach Using VHDL, Peter J. Ashenden, 2008 2. Digital Design and Computer Architecture; D. M. Harris and S. L. Harris 2nd edition, 2012 3. Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach; J. L. Hennessy and D. A. Patterson, 5th edition, 2012

Transferrable Skills

Specialist knowledge and application. Critical thinking and problem solving. Critical analysis. Communication skills, written, oral and listening. Numeracy. Effective Information retrieval and research skills. Computer literacy. Self confidence, self discipline & self reliance (independent working). Awareness of strengths and weaknesses. Creativity, innovation & independent thinking. Knowledge of international affairs. Reliability, integrity, honesty and ethical awareness Presentation skills. Commercial awareness

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Independent Learning (PT) 132.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00
Assessment (PT) 20.00
Tutorials (PT) 12.00
Practicals (FT) 24.00
Independent Learning (FT) 120.00
Practicals (PT) 12.00
Lectures (PT) 24.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 25.00 n/a Practical
Coursework 2 n/a 25.00 n/a Practical
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 50.00 35% Exam linked to Learning Outcomes