Digital Electronic Systems

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
16 June 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BENGH650 Computer Systems Engineering,
BENGH651 Computer Systems Engineering (Including Year Abroad),
BENGH750 Computer Systems Engineering (Including Foundation Year),
BENGHP50 Computer Systems Engineering (Including Placement Year),
BENGGH46 Computers with Electronics (Including Foundation Year),
BENGGH4P Computers with Electronics,
BENGGH4Q Computers with Electronics (Including Year Abroad),
BENGI1H6 Computers with Electronics (Including Placement Year),
BENGH610 Electronic Engineering,
BENGH611 Electronic Engineering (Including Year Abroad),
BENGH61P Electronic Engineering (Including Foundation Year),
BENGHP10 Electronic Engineering (Including Placement Year),
MENGH613 Electronic Engineering,
MENGH614 Electronic Engineering (Integrated Masters, Including Placement Year),
BENGH641 Communications Engineering,
BENGHP41 Communications Engineering (Including Foundation Year),
BENGHPK1 Communications Engineering (Including Placement Year),
BENGHQ41 Communications Engineering (Including Year Abroad),
BENGH615 Robotic Engineering,
BENGH616 Robotic Engineering (Including Year Abroad),
BENGH617 Robotic Engineering (Including Placement Year),
BENGH618 Robotic Engineering (Including Foundation Year),
BSC GH01 Computing and Electronics,
BSC GH02 Computing and Electronics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC GH03 Computing and Electronics (Including Placement Year),
BSC GH3P Computing and Electronics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC H631 Electronics,
BSC H632 Electronics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC H633 Electronics (Including Placement Year),
BENGH730 Mechatronic Systems,
BENGH731 Mechatronic Systems (Including Year Abroad),
BENGH732 Mechatronic Systems (Including Placement Year),
BENGH733 Mechatronic Systems (Including Foundation Year),
BENGH169 Neural Engineering with Psychology,
BENGH170 Neural Engineering with Psychology (including Placement Year),
BENGH171 Neural Engineering with Psychology (including Year Abroad),
BENGH172 Neural Engineering with Psychology (including Foundation Year),
BSC H737 Mechatronics,
BSC H738 Mechatronics (including Placement Year),
BSC H739 Mechatronics (including Year Abroad),
BSC H167 Neural Technology with Psychology,
BSC H168 Neural Technology with Psychology (including Year Abroad),
BSC H176 Neural Technology with Psychology (including Placement Year),
BSC H717 Robotics,
BSC H718 Robotics (including Placement Year),
BSC H719 Robotics (including Year Abroad)

Module description

This module will examine how data are represented within digital systems, including floating point, 'text' and 'data' files, and how the conversions between internal and human-readable forms are performed. The design and applications of higher-level logic elements such as counters, registers and multiplexers are discussed, as well as the more general concept of the finite state machine and its design. Transmission of digital data between systems is introduced by examination of the RS232 protocol.

Module aims

This module aims to develop the fundamental concepts introduced in the Autumn term module, CE161, Digital Systems Architecture. The majority of the information in the world is in analogue format. Fundamental decisions are made as to how such sources should be represented in the digital domain.

Module learning outcomes

After completing this module, students will be expected to be able to:

1. demonstrate an understanding of number systems, and conversion methods between number bases, including fixed and floating-point binary.
2. design digital circuits incorporating higher-level logic elements such as counters, registers and multiplexers.
3. perform forensic byte-level interpretation of data file contents using standard tools.
4. describe and implement a serial data transmission system.
5. select appropriate system parameters for digital representation of analogue signals.
6. be aware of methods to perform simple manipulations of digital image and audio data.

Module information

Outline Syllabus

Revision of binary number representation and binary arithmetic.
Number conversions between arbitrary bases.
Representation of floating-point binary numbers and applications in digital systems; accuracy of numerical calculations.
Use of Karnaugh map techniques in logic design, including variable-entered map logic design.
Sequential logic: Asynchronous and synchronous counters; finite state machines and their design; sequence detectors.
Asynchronous serial data transmission.
Analogue to digital and digital to analogue conversion techniques.
Sampling in theory (Nyquist's theorem) and in practice (sample and hold circuits). Quantization and quantization accuracy.
Frequency spectra and frequency domain representation of sampled data. Fourier series.
Data compression concepts.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures and Laboratories


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Progress Test     25% 
Coursework   Assignment 1 - Part 1- Week 17: Introduction to Computer Aided Design for Digital and Analogue Systems  26/01/2024  6.25% 
Coursework   Assignment 1 - Part 2 - Week 18: Introduction to Computer Aided Design for Digital and Analogue Systems  02/02/2024  6.25% 
Coursework   Assignment 2 - Week 21: CAD Digital Design Exercise  23/02/2024  25% 
Coursework   Assignment 3 - Week 30: Report, digital hardware design  25/04/2024  37.50% 
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 120 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
40% 60%


Coursework Exam
40% 60%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Nikolaos Thomos, email: nthomos@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Nikolaos Thomos
School Office, email: csee-schooloffice (non-Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create full e-mail address), Telephone 01206 872770



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 47 hours, 20 (42.6%) hours available to students:
27 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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