Digital systems have revolutionized our world. From television to cell phones to GPS to warfare to automobiles to medicine to distance education, computers and digital processing have reshaped the way we live and work. The semiconductor industry has grown from $21B in 1985 to $412B in 2019, making it one of the largest sectors of the economy. Computers are also a vital part of daily practice in every field of science and engineering.
Previous generations of engineers learned the “nuts and bolts” of the profession by doing hand-on projects such as disassembling and rebuilding engines. As technology has advanced, cars have become too complicated for the average person to work on. Ironically, the same advances have made computers much easier to build. While most fields of engineering require extensive mathematics and complicated analysis of even rather simple components, digital systems merely require counting from 0 to 1. Their challenge, instead, is in combining many simple building blocks into a complex whole. In this class, you will experiment with digital systems, building simple circuits from logic gates on a breadboard and designing more complex systems with a logic simulator. You will learn how to systematically create digital systems with a desired function. By the end of this course, you will have the knowledge and experience to design digital systems and be prepared for more advanced coursework.
Upcoming start dates
- Self-paced Online
Who should attend?
This course assumes you have programmed before, at a level equivalent to a 1-semester course. C programming experience is helpful but Python or another language is sufficient.
This course also assumes you are reasonably comfortable with mathematics, but has no specific knowledge requirements beyond second year high school algebra.
Course delivery details
This course is offered through Harvey Mudd College, a partner institute of EdX.
7-12 hours per week
- Verified Track -$149
- Audit Track - Free
Certification / Credits
What you'll learn
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
- Build digital systems at levels of abstraction from transistors through circuits and logic.
- Manage complexity using the digital abstraction, static and dynamic disciplines, and hierarchical design.
- Design and implement combinational and sequential digital circuits using schematics and hardware description languages.
- Analyze and trade off performance, cost, and power consumption of digital circuits.
- Begin the practice of implementing and debugging digital systems with appropriate lab techniques including breadboarding and interpreting datasheets.
- Simulate digital circuits with a free version of ModelSim, a professional simulation tool.
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