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Laboratory of Digital Systems

Code: EEC0006     Acronym: LSDI

Classification Keyword
OFICIAL Electronics and Digital Systems

Instance: 2011/2012 - 1S

Active? Yes
Responsible unit: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Course/CS Responsible: Master in Electrical and Computers Engineering

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
MIEEC 329 Syllabus (Transition) since 2010/2011 1 - 7 77 189
Syllabus 1 - 7 77 189

Teaching language



The course has three main objectives: 1) to explain the theoretical foundations and practical aspects of the analysis and synthesis of digital systems (combinational and sequential), 2) to offer an introduction to the design of digital systems using hardware description languages and CAD tools for their specification, simulation and synthesis, and 3) to introduce fundamental concepts related to the organization and operation of microprocessors, and to programming in assembly language.

After completion of the course, students should be able:
- to represent and manipulate integer (positive and negative) and fractional numbers, and to realize simple arithmetic operations (sums and subtractions), using different bases (decimal, binary, octal, hexadecimal);
- to obtain formal representations (truth table, logic expressions) from informal descriptions of combinational functions, and to perform transformations that reduce their complexity and simplify the circuits that implement them;
- to analyze and design simple digital circuits using basic combinational digital blocks, such as logic gates, multiplexors, encoders/decoders, adders and comparators;
- to understand the behaviour of bi-stable digital devices (flip-flops) and their use in the realization of synchronous sequential circuits;
- to obtain formal representations of finite state machines (status table and state transition diagrams) from informal descriptions of their intended behaviour.
- to analyze and design simple sequential circuits based on flip-flops, registers, counters and shift registers;
- to understand the organization and the operation of the data path of a microprocessor (ALU, registers (ALU, registers and busses) and of its control unit (instruction decoding and sequencing);
- to develop and analyze simple programs written in assembly language, with logic and arithmetic operations, tests and jumps;
- to identify the fundamental blocks of a microprocessor based system and to understand the basic forms of communication with peripherals;
- to interpret and describe the structure of a digital system using a hardware description language (Verilog) taking advantage of the concepts of modularity and hierarchy;
- to use software tools for schematic capture, simulation and synthesis (ISE and MoldeSim) to implement digital systems in programmable logic (FPGAs);
- to identify the main characteristics of the more common technologies in use today for the physical realization of digital integrated circuits.

In the classes of this curricular unit particular attention will be given to the correct written and spoken expression by the students of ideas and concepts, and to the development of professional personal and interpersonal skills (group work, communication).


Number systems and representation of positive and negative numbers. Binary arithmetic. Boolean Algebra: application to the simplification of logic expressions and circuits. Analysis and synthesis of combinational circuits using logic gates and more complex functional blocks such as multiplexors, decoders and comparators. Bi-stable digital devices (flip-flops) end their use in the realization of synchronous sequential circuits and finite state machines. Analysis and synthesis of state machines using counters and shift registers. Structural description, simulation and synthesis of digital systems using the Verilog hardware description language. Introduction to the architecture of a microprocessor and identification of its main units. Data path and instruction decoding and sequencing. The stored program model. Assembly language programming. Fundamental blocks of a microprocessor-based system and basic forms of communication with peripherals.

Mandatory literature

José Carlos Alves; Sistemas Digitais, Autor/FEUP, 2005
António José Araújo; Exercícios propostos para Laboratório de Sistemas Digitais, Autor/FEUP, 2009

Complementary Bibliography

Guilherme Arroz, José Monteiro, Arlindo Oliveira; Arquitectura de Computadores: dos Sistema Digitais aod Microprocessadores, IST Press, 2007. ISBN: 9789728469542
John F. Wakerly; Digital design. ISBN: 0-13-089896-1
David A. Patterson, John L. Hennessy; Computer organization and design. ISBN: 978-0-12-374493-7

Teaching methods and learning activities

Theoretical (T) classes are intended to introduce new material, to integrate and relate fundamental concepts and to present and discuss laboratory assignments. Other classes are either theoretical/practical (TP) or laboratory (L) and their attendance is mandatory. TP classes include lecturing, presentation of illustrative examples and solution of exercises. L classes are used for the realization of lab work introducing techniques for the analysis and design of digital systems with computer-aided design tools.


ModelSim (http://model.com/content/modelsim-downloads)
Xilinx ISE (http://www.xilinx.com/support/download/index.htm)


Technological sciences > Engineering > Electrical engineering
Technological sciences > Engineering > Computer engineering

Evaluation Type

Distributed evaluation without final exam

Assessment Components

Description Type Time (hours) Weight (%) End date
Attendance (estimated) Participação presencial 85,00
2nd mini-exam Exame 1,00
2nd lab exam Exame 1,00
Laboratory assignments preparation Trabalho escrito 18,00
1st mini-exam Exame 1,00 2011-11-15
1st lab exam Exame 1,00 2011-12-07
Total: - 0,00

Amount of time allocated to each course unit

Description Type Time (hours) End date
Study for the 1st mini-exam Estudo autónomo 10
Study for the 2nd mini-exam Estudo autónomo 10
Study for the 1st lab exam Estudo autónomo 10
Study for the 2nd lab exam Estudo autónomo 10
Self-study Estudo autónomo 42
Total: 82,00

Eligibility for exams

Assessment is distributed along the semester and is based on two components: MT (two mini-tests) and FL (two laboratory fiches). Students are required to obtain a minimum average grade of 6 (out of 20) in each of these components.

Calculation formula of final grade

For the students satisfying the minimum requirement specified above, the final grade (NF) will be computed according to the following formula:
NF = 0,5*MT + 0,5*FL
MT = (MT1 + MT2)/2 (average of the marks in the two mini-tests);
FL = (FL1+F2)/2 (average of the marks on the two laboratory fiches).

Students who satisfied this minimum requirement in previous academic years, but did not pass the course, may choose between this distributed evaluation scheme and a final exam.

Special assessment (TE, DA, ...)

The students whose special statute allows them not to attend classes, will be subject to oral or written exams on the MT and FL components, with the same weights used in the distributed evaluation followed by those students attending the course for the first time.

Classification improvement

Improving a grade obtained in a previous academic year can be achieved by realizing a final exam.


The instructors are available to meet students and answer their questions at class meeting time but also at any other time. Students should contact them in advance, preferably by email, in order to set up a meeting:
- Prof. António José Araújo (AJA) - aja@fe.up.pt - Gab. I236
- Prof. José Silva Matos (JSM) - jsm@fe.up.pt - Gab. I235
- Prof. José Carlos Alves (JCA) - jca@fe.up.pt - Gab. I228
- Prof. Vítor Grade Tavares (VGT) - vgt@fe.up.pt - Gab. I234

The language of instruction is Portuguese.
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