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The University of Southampton

ELEC3221 Digital IC and Systems Design

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This module aims to provide a coherent introduction to digital VLSI design in CMOS, and to give students a broad understanding of the main principles required for system-on-chip design. Advanced techniques such as timing analysis and asynchronous design will also be introduced. In addition, the module extensively covers hardware architectures and timing behaviours of fundamental computer arithmetic circuits.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • The Principles of CMOS Digital Circuits
  • Power-reduction techniques
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the principles of asynchronous circuits
  • Analyse the performance of synchronous systems
  • Describe architectures for Arithmetic Datapath Blocks
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Design and layout simple digital CMOS logic gates


Introduction to IC Design - IC system design options - CMOS processing, layout and design rules - Stick diagrams - Static complementary gates - System design using standard cells Timing Schemes in Digital Systems - Principles of Synchronous Design - Clock trees and clock management - Asynchronous Circuits - Design and implementation of Synchronisers - Metastability in Digital System Design of large digital Systems - Fundamental concepts of datapath and controller - Circuit Power Consumption, design tradeoffs speed-power, introduction to low power circuit design - Design hierarchy Architecture of Arithmetic Datapath Blocks (Adders and Multipliers) - Comparision of standard designs - Complexity analysis - Delay analysis

Learning and Teaching

Wider reading or practice50
Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Completion of assessment task6
Follow-up work18
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Zwolinski M, (2010). Digital System Design with SystemVerilog. 

Weste N, Harris D (2011). Integrated Circuit Design: A Circuits and Systems Perspective. 

Tanenbaum and Wetherall (2010). Computer Networks. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Design 10%
Examination  (2 hours) 90%


MethodPercentage contribution
Design 10%
Examination 90%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework marks carried forward 10%
Examination 90%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: ELEC2221 or COMP6238

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