ECE 3500: Fundamentals of Signals and Systems

Semester: Instructor: Time and location: TH - in WEB L102 Office Hours: TH 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM or by appointment in MEB 3116

Course Description

In one form or another, all engineering disciplines analyze how data, waveforms, and information (signals) are affected by processes, devices, and mediums (systems). In circuit design, we analyze how electronic devices and circuit configurations (our systems) change current and voltage measurements (our signals). In radio and communications systems, we analyze how the air, buildings, and land (our systems) distort radio waves (our signals). In biomedical applications, we study how x-rays, ultrasound, MRI, and other medical imaging modalities (our signals) respond to materials in the human body (our system). In this course, we explore the fundamental concepts used to analyze these relationships.

We begin the course by discussing the definitions and properties of signals and systems to establish a common language used by both academics and professionals in industry. We then focus on one common type of system, the linear time-invariant system. We discuss and analyze how linear time-invariant systems process and manipulate signals through the use of Fourier analysis, the Laplace transform, and other related mathematical operations. These topics are illustrated first with continuous-time signals (e.g., AC voltages and currents) and then discrete-time signals (e.g., data found in a computer). Throughout our discussions, we demonstrate how this fundamental framework is applied to more advanced topics in signal/image processing, communications, and controls.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Understand the language of signals and systems
  2. Apply convolution to continuous-time and discrete-time systems
  3. Analyze a system's input-output relationship using Fourier theory
  4. Design and implement simple systems in MATLAB for practical applications
  5. Discuss the use of signals and systems for advanced applications
  6. Communicate signals and systems concepts through a technical report


ECE 2240, Math 2210 and 2250, or equivalent.

Grade Distribution:

Midterm Exam I(16+2/3)%
Midterm Exam II(16+2/3)%
Midterm Exam III(16+2/3)%
Quizzes (best 5 out of 7)15%