ECE 403     Integrated Circuit Design

Winter Term  (2016w)       last updated 2016-3-15

Course web page:
Course Resources
Calendar Description
Marking Textbook
Labs and term work
Lecture Notes
General Course Info Graduate Scholarships:
AITF (Feb 12, 2016), NSERC PGS (fall)

Lab and course announcements can be found here (and optionally delivered to your email).
Questions can be posted here.  If you know the answer to a question (a difficulty, not a marked course component), by all means post it.  Please read prior postings to see if your question has been asked and answered.  Create a new topic for most questions (unless it's a request for elaboration).
Use email for questions of a confidential nature.
Professor Duncan Elliott 780-492-5357 ICE 11-281
Lab Instructor Khaled Al-Amoodi

Lab TA
Amlan Nag


General Course Info

Lectures MWF 13:00-13:50 in ETLC e1-008

Labs Tues. 14:00-16:50 in ETLC e5-013 on scheduled dates.
   CAD lab ETLC e5-013 is open extended hours, use your CCID to log in to the workstations

Office hours
Prerequisites:     ECE 304 and (co-requisite) ECE 410 or consent of instructor


(ask more questions and we'll cover less material but in greater depth)


Tentative Marking scheme for ECE 403.

Items [that were] denoted with ?? are tentative and are to be decided by majority vote in class by deadlines set by instructor.
Bonuses (>100%) may be available on some marked materials.

Term work 15% Problem Sets or Quizzes on ??Fridays
Held Tuesdays
Starting Jan. 5, 2016
Final Exam 45%  4 aid sheets 8.5x11 inch, hand written, any information
 3 hours - scheduled by registrar's office

Problem sets are due at the beginning of the lecture before being solved in class.  Mutually beneficial collaboration is encouraged, provided that the names of all collaborators are cited on the problem set ("worked with ..."), immediately below the student's name.  Marking will be based on effort.  Please do not put student id numbers on problem sets or any other materials to be handed out in class.

Quizzes will be held unannounced at the beginning of selected lectures where problem sets are due.  The only aids are the student's own problem set and a calculator.  Individual work is expected.

Lab requirements are explained on the lab pages.  Lab 0 is not handed in.  Labs 1 and 2 are individual work.  Lab 3 can be done individually or in groups of 2.  The eClass forum can be used to share tricks about using the CAD tools.  Verbal discussions among classmates are encouraged, but no lab information should be shared in paper, electronic or equivalent form.

Past handouts, etc. can be picked up from a box near ECE reception.

Submissions will not normally be re-graded more than two weeks after the first day these have been returned in class. 

The following calculators are permitted for examinations in this course: faculty approved programmable calculators, faculty approved non-programmable calculators, instructor approved calculators,  slide rules, and instructor approved abacuses (if used quietly).  Programmable calculators will probably offer little or no advantage over non-programmable calculators.  Students must not distract other students during exams, so please turn off any calculator beep.

The final examination aid sheets must be in the student’s own handwriting (both sides, no photocopies or printouts), may be no larger than 21.59 by 27.94 cm paper, and may contain any information.

Deferred examinations and Re-examinations may contain multiple components (including an oral component) as designed by instructor.

Credit may only be received for one of ECE403, EE453, ECE553, EE483 and EE653.

Students requiring specialized support should provide letters from Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to the instructor in the first 2 weeks of lectures.

If you wish to discuss private information, let me know that you'd rather not talk in the classroom.

In the past, students have indicated that audio recording stifles the asking of questions in lectures.  To keep everyone comfortable, audio or video recording or photographs by students requires the written consent of all students, unless SAS indicates special needs.

Grade Determination Method

In this course, raw marks will be calculated up until after the final exam.  The percentage grade will be converted to a letter grade according to the calendar definitions of those grades and the degree of mastery of the material.

Code of Student Behaviour

The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour (online at and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.

Policy about course outlines can be found in §23.4(2) of the University Calendar.


CMOS VLSI Design - A Circuits and Design Perspective, 4th Edition
N.H.E. Weste & D. Harris     
Addison-Wesley 2011 including selected problem solutions

Lecture Notes

The most important material will be covered on the white board.  Please ensure you have a complete set of notes.
Selected lecture notes will be made available online one week after the lecture.  A preliminary version may be available beforehand.
Use your ccid (Campus Computer ID) to access course materials.


Several labs will start with a ~10 minute demo that will help clarify what you'll be doing with the CAD tools.
You may be required to demonstrate your work to a lab TA in a scheduled lab.
Use your ccid (Campus Computer ID) to access course materials.

Lab handouts are available on eclass.

Report Due Date
Jan 5
not handed in
Jan 12
Jan 19
Jan 26
Feb 9
Feb 23
Mar 1, 15, 22
Mar 29

Term Work

updated ~weekly
Past exams

in class & online
Jan 15
ps 1

Jan 22
ps 2
Jan 29
ps 3
Feb 5
ps 4
Feb 12
ps 5
Feb 26
ps 6
Mar 4
ps 7 solution
Mar 11
ps 8 quiz
Mar 18
ps 9
Apr 8 or earlier
ps 10