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The University of Southampton

ELEC1202 Digital Systems and Microprocessors

Module Overview

To introduce digital system design, the principles of programmable logic devices, the implementation of combinational and sequential circuits, and the principles of hardware design using SystemVerilog, a state-of-the-art hardware description language.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Understand the logical behaviour of digital circuits
  • Understand the advantages and disadvantages of programmable logic devices
  • Know how to describe digital hardware using a software-style language
  • Understand how a basic microprocessor can be built from standard building blocks
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse combinational and sequential digital circuits
  • Design combinational and sequential digital circuits
  • Configure programmable logic devices using a hardware description language
  • Meet this module's contribution to the subject specific intellectual learning outcomes of ELEC1029
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Manage your time in a laboratory
  • Present and explain your work in written reports
  • Meet this module's contribution to the transferable and generic learning outcomes of ELEC1029
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Design combinational logic using Karnaugh maps
  • Design sequential logic using ASM charts
  • Design and verify combinational and sequential systems using SystemVerilog
  • Use a number of electronic design automation tools
  • Meet this module's contribution to the subject specific practical learning outcomes of ELEC1029.


Combinational Logic Design - Logic and Logic algebra - Combinational logic gates: AND, OR, NOT, NAND, NOR, EXOR, EXNOR - Logic Technologies - Truth tables - Combinational logic devices: multiplexer, coder, decoder - Combinational logic design - Logic minimisation and Karnaugh maps - Combinatorial Systems in SystemVerilog Sequential Logic Design - Introduction to sequential logic - Level-sensitive latches (RS, D-Type) - Edge-sensitive flip-flops (D-Type) - Clocks, synchronous and asynchronous circuits - Registers and shift registers - Counters (synchronous and asynchronous) - Timing glitches - Algorithmic State Machine (ASM) design - Moore and Mealy machines - Sequential Systems in SystemVerilog Programmable Logic - Programmable technology: PALs, PLDs and FPGAs - Hardware Description Languages: Introduction to SystemVerilog - Modelling of hardware behaviour in software - Test benches and interpreting simulation results - Hardware synthesis - Software tools Number Representation and Computer Arithmetic - Positional number systems - Unsigned binary numbers and arithmetic - Signed binary number representation and arithmetic - Conversion between number systems - Occurrence and detection of overflow - Half adders and Full Adders - Multi-bit Ripple Carry Adder/Subtracter Introduction to Chip Design - Performance requirements of integrated circuits - Basis of logic gates - MOS logic gates – NAND and NOR - CMOS performance - Logic timing and delays Introduction to Computer Architecture - Busses and contention - Tri-state buffers - Register-based architectures - Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU) - Instruction Sets - Introduction to the Fetch-Execute Cycle - Microprocessors and Microcontrollers - SystemVerilog Example(s)

Learning and Teaching

Wider reading or practice40
Follow-up work18
Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Completion of assessment task16
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

M M Mano, M D Ciletti (2007). Digital Design. 

J F Wakerly (2006). Digital Design - Principles and Practices. 

M. Zwolinski (2009). Digital System Design with SystemVerilog. 

M.S. Nixon (2015). Digital Electronics: A Primer - Introductory Logic Circuit Design. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessment on the module mixes practical and theoretical elements, and formative and summative elements. 4 Problem Sheets on different topics are spread throughout the module, to provide formative feedback. Three technical labs are also associated with the module; they are conducted under the umbrella of ELEC1029 but the marks contribute towards this module. These technical labs consider Discrete Digital Circuits, Bus Operation and Control, addressing the above-listed learning outcomes. An end-of-semester design exercise considers digital systems and microprocessors, addressing the above-listed learning outcomes. It is conducted under the umbrella of ELEC1029 but the marks contribute towards this module. Skills labs are conducted under the umbrella of the zero-credit ELEC1029 module and address its learning outcomes. The marks contribute to a number of ELEC12xx modules, including this one. An end-of-module exam provides summative assessment on all topics covered.


MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 30%
Final Assessment  70%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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