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Digital Engineering - ELE00094H

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  • Department: Electronic Engineering
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Gianluca Tempesti
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

The module will introduce tools and methodologies for the design and implementation of advanced digital circuits, covering technology and design flows targeting application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Techniques to improve performance will be considered at different levels. Technology scaling, performance (timing)/power/area (PPA), standard cell libraries, full-/semi-custom ASIC design. Timing, pipelining, clock domain crossing, place and route on FPGA. Approaches for designing testable circuits will be developed, including verification, fault models, design for testability. Where possible, concepts will be implemented in lab exercises.

Professional requirements

Related modules

Pre-requisite modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Additional information



Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

Subject content aims:

  • To teach concepts of CMOS design techniques, simulation and test using schematic entry, transistor-level SPICE simulation of digital circuits within the framework of industry standard design tools (e.g. Cadence, Mentor).
  • To introduce and compare measurement and characterisation techniques for electronic hardware including examples from ASICs and FPGAs.
  • To provide experience in the design of complex FPGA-based circuits, taking into account performance parameters
  • To introduce the use of IP components for circuit design
  • To provide experience in the verification and simulation of complex circuits
  • To introduce concepts relative to test, verification, and fault tolerance in digital circuits
  • To define the requirements for an effective technical documentation of a circuit

Graduate skills aims:

  • Gather information from reliable sources, analyse it critically and put it into context of the lectures and labs.
  • Use qualitative and quantitative methods to explain digital microelectronics circuits and phenomena.
  • Communicate effectively with peers, and form learning/working groups.
  • Effectively solve problems and identify and prioritise tasks.
  • To concisely and accurately report the results of experiments

Module learning outcomes

Subject content learning outcomes

After successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Be able to use and understand the complete design flow (synthesis, place and route, floor-planning, timing analysis, etc.) required to implement complex digital designs

  • Be able to implement, characterise and use digital standard cells and simple circuits within an ASIC design.

  • Be able to implement and use complex IP modules within a FPGA design

  • Understand and describe advanced circuit design techniques

  • Be able to develop complex testbenches for circuit verification and devise appropriate verification strategies, including post and pre route simulation

  • Appreciate the strengths and limitations of fault modelling and detection in digital circuits and integrate test logic in a design

Graduate skills learning outcomes

After successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Be able to concisely and accurately report the results of experiments.

Module content

Topics covered include:

  • ASIC vs. FPGA technology

  • Performance characterization at digital cell level

  • Digital standard cell libraries

  • Full-/Semi-custom design

  • Performance and metrics for digital circuits

  • Testing and design for testability

  • Synchronisation and clock domains

  • Variability and timing closure

  • Advanced computer architectures


Task Length % of module mark
Digital Design Lab Report 1
N/A 25
Digital Design Lab Report 2
N/A 25
Digital Design Lab Report 3
N/A 25
IC Design Lab report
N/A 25

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

The reports consist, for the most part, of schematics, HDL code and simulations screenshots. They allow formative feedback to be given at each stage.


Task Length % of module mark
Digital Design Lab Reports
N/A 75
IC Design Lab Report
N/A 25

Module feedback

'Feedback’ at a university level can be understood as any part of the learning process which is designed to guide your progress through your degree programme. We aim to help you reflect on your own learning and help you feel more clear about your progress through clarifying what is expected of you in both formative and summative assessments. A comprehensive guide to feedback and to forms of feedback is available in the Guide to Assessment Standards, Marking and Feedback.

The School of PET aims to provide some form of feedback on all formative and summative assessments that are carried out during the degree programme. In general, feedback on any written work/assignments undertaken will be sufficient so as to indicate the nature of the changes needed in order to improve the work. The School will endeavour to return all exam feedback within the timescale set out in the University's Policy on Assessment Feedback Turnaround Time. The School would normally expect to adhere to the times given, however, it is possible that exceptional circumstances may delay feedback. The School will endeavour to keep such delays to a minimum. Please note that any marks released are subject to ratification by the Board of Examiners and Senate. Meetings at the start/end of each term provide you with an opportunity to discuss and reflect with your supervisor on your overall performance to date.

Indicative reading


The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.