30.110 Digital Systems Laboratory

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Lectures and labs are conducted on digital logic, flip flops, FPGAs, counters, and finite state machines. The subject prepares students for the design and implementation of a final project of their choice: games, music, digital filters, wireless communications, video, or graphics. It requires extensive use of Verilog to describe and implement digital system designs. Students engage in a group-based lab and project.


Course Lead/Main Instructor


The goal of the subject is for students to get familiar with digital circuit design.

Learning Objectives

  • Design a complicated digital system as a member of a small team, and give effective presentations describing design decisions.
  • Explain the elements of digital system abstractions such as digital logic, Boolean algebra, flip-flops, finite-state machines (FSMs), and microprogrammed systems.
  • Design simple digital systems based on these digital abstractions, and the “digital paradigm” including discrete, sampled information.
  • Use basic digital tools and devices such as digital oscilloscopes, PALs, and VHDL.
  • Work in a design team that can propose, design, successfully implement, and report on a digital circuit design project.
  • Communicate the purpose and results of a design project in written and oral presentations.

Measurable Outcomes

  • Use Boolean Algebra and resulting logic for control and data paths.
  • Carry out simple design with basic digital building blocks such as multiplexors, selectors, and shift registers.
  • Characterize binary signals in terms of: input levels, output levels, and “noise margins”, specifically using the TTL specification.
  • Design and implement a simple FSM.
  • Design, implement and program a simple microprogrammed sequencer.
  • Use component parts, including complex parts, through their specifications.
  • Use programmable logic parts for implementation of logical component and system realizations.
  • Use industry standard CAD software that implements VHDL and can be used to program devices
  • Evaluate a design concept for appropriateness and achievability.
  • Organize a design concept into specific parts.
  • Debug and test an implementation of a digital design.
  • Give oral and written reports on all aspects of a design project.


Cohort based learning, homework, exam, lab, and project.

Text & References


  • In-class participation 10%
  • Homework 10%
  • Exam 20%
  • Lab 30%
  • Project 30%


Attending exam is compulsory.