ECE3084B: Signals and Systems (Fall 2012)

ECE3084B: Signals and Systems (Fall 2012)

ECE3084B: Signals and Systems (Fall 2012)


  • This class is going to be awesome.

Course Description

This webpage constitutes the class syllabus.

Aaron Lanterman (office Van Leer W431; e-mail
if you e-mail me about anything related to the class please put “3084” in the
subject line)

Teaching assistant: TBD

When: TuTh 3:05-4:25;
Where: Van Leer C456

Course description: Continuous-time linear systems and signals, their mathematical representations, and computational tools. Fourier and Laplace transforms, convolutions, input-output responses, stability.

Prereqs: (ECE2025 or ECE2026) and ECE2040


None posted yet.


It’s unlikely that the listed topics will match up exactly on the listed dates.
This is just a rough estimate of how the material will flow to give you a sense
of where we are headed.

  • Introduction
    • 8/21: Introduction and course outline
    • 8/23: Approximations and abstractions
    • 8/28: Continuous-time signals
    • 8/30: Systems with or without memory; linear and time-invariant systems
  • Frequency analysis
    • 9/4: Review of Fourier series
    • 9/6: Introduction to Fourier transforms
    • 9/11: Properties of Fourier transforms
    • 9/13: Convolutions and impulse responses
    • 9/18: Frequency response v. 1; review for Quiz 1
    • 9/20: Quiz 1
    • 9/25: Frequency spectra in discrete time; Nyquist sampling
    • 9/27: Lab 1: Fourier and guitar strings
  • Laplace transforms
    • 10/2: Differential equations
    • 10/4: Laplace transforms (forward and inverse)
    • 10/9: Key properties; initial and final value theorems
    • 10/11: Transfer functions v. 1
    • 10/16: Fall break — no class
    • 10/18: Connections between Fourier and Laplace; review for Quiz 2
    • 10/23: Quiz 2
  • Linear systems
    • 10/25: Solving differential equations; partial fraction expansions
    • 10/30: Zero-state and zero-input responses
    • 11/1: Transfer functions v. 2
    • 11/6: Modes, poles and zeros; stability
    • 11/8: Lab 2: Circuit system identification
    • 11/13: Frequency response v. 2; review for Quiz 3
    • 11/15: Quiz 3
  • Feedback
    • 11/20: Block diagrams; closed-loop systems
    • 11/22: Thanksgiving break — no class
    • 11/27: Control design
    • 11/29: P and PI regulators
    • 12/4: Lab 3: Control of a DC motor
    • 12/6: Review for final exam
  • 12/13: Final exam – 11:30-2:20


Textbook: Chi-Tsong Chen,
Signals and Systems, Third Edition, Oxford University Press, 2004.

Grading: Your responsibilities in this class will fall into four categories:

  • The homework sets, consisting of 6 homework assignments,
    5% each = 30% total.
    The credit will be divided between programming assignments and theoretical exercises.

  • Three in-class labs, 5% each = 15% total. You cannot “ditch” the labs!
    These labs are to be completed during a single class period (see schedule).

  • Three in-class quizzes, 10% each = total of 30%.
  • The final exam will cover all the material presented in the class.
    It will be a closed-book exam, contributing to a total of 25%.

The objective with the homework programming assignments is to see how to bridge the gap between what’s done in class and how to actually apply it. (The actual programming involved will be very minor.) The assignments will be MATLAB-based.

In-class labs:
As part of this course, three in-class labs will be conducted to make some
practical sense out of the theoretical developments in the class. The labs
will be based on the NI myDAQ board, and the boards will be provided for the
in-class labs. If you want more time or want to probe further, you can either
buy this board (available
here or use the devices in Van Leer E383 and E375 on Mondays and Fridays from 7:30 am to 8:00 pm.
The three lab topics will be:

  • Fourier and vibrating guitar strings
  • Circuit system identification
  • Feedback control of a DC motor

Looking for feedback: This is the first semester this class
has been taught (although the first month overlaps heavily with the last third
of the former ECE2025), so there may be some rough edges. We welcome any thoughts
you might have that could improve the course, both in content and structure.

Coordination with the other section: Prof. Magnus Egerstedt is teaching
the “A” section of ECE3084 this semester, and we are co-developing the material.
His class meets MWF and mine meets TuTh, so it will be impossible to stay perfectly
in sync, and the homework due dates, quiz dates, lab dates, etc. will vary,
but we’ll try to stay in the same ballpark. You should consider us a team;
his students are welcome to ask me and my TA for help and vice-versa.

Office hours:
Shortly before assignments are due,
I will post an announcement on Piazza describing when and
where I will be sure to be available for questions.
This will tend to change slightly from week to week,
so look for that announcement.
(Also, if you walk by my office and happen to see my
VL431 office door open,
you are welcome to pop in with questions about the class and/or life in general.)

Of course you are always welcome
to e-mail me and we can set up a specific time to meet. Again, put “3084” in the subject line.

On-line discussions: We will use
to facilitate class discussions. We will try
to check Piazza at least once a day. You are welcome to post questions about anything
related to the course material, and also answer other student’s questions, as long as
you don’t “give away the answer” or post chunks of code that are more than a few lines.

Honor code:
Although you are encouraged to work together to learn the course material, the exams and homework are expected to be completed individually. All conduct in this course will be governed by the Georgia Tech honor code.

Major emergencies:
If you have some sort of major life emergency – serious illness or injury,
death in the family, house burns down or is flooded, etc. – that seriously
impedes your progress in the class, please let me know as soon as possible
so we can work something out.
You will find professors can be quite reasonable if you keep us in the loop.
Please don’t disappear with no warning half way through,
making me think that you dropped the class, and then reappear out of
nowhere the week before finals asking what you can do to make things up.
(Yes, this has happened quite a bit, in both undergrad and grad classes.)

On things that beep and blink:
Please silence all cell phones and pagers
before entering class. If you forget to do so and receive
a call, please shut the noisemaking device down as quickly as possible,
and return the person’s call after class. (Of course, there
are reasonable
exceptions, i.e. if your wife is in the 9th month of her pregnancy and may
give birth at any moment or your
kid isn’t feeling well but he or she
went to school anyway and their school nurse
may need to call you, leave your
phone on vibrate, and answer it as quickly as possible and
immediately step out
of the room to handle the call.)

In general, please do not instant message, websurf, Facebook
(can I use it as a verb?),
play games, etc. during class
It can be quite distracting.
Unless I say otherwise, the preferred position for laptops during
class is in your backpack

The Twitter exception:
Prof. Lanterman says something particularly brilliant and clever during lecture,
you are allowed to
use your phone to Tweet it or post
it to Facebook.