Digital System Design (SS 2021)

Course Number 705044 | Sommersemester 2021


The goal of the course Digital System Design is to teach the central aspects of designing digital integrated circuits by a systematic approach and methodology. The course covers the whole spectrum of the design: it starts with specifications on system-level and ends at the generation and verification of layout masks, which are needed for production. The content offered in the lectures is accompanied by a lab exercise where participants have the chance to put the knowledge into practice by using the latest professional design tools as they are used in the semiconductor industry.

The lecture notes are available as PDF documents and show one slide per page.

Topic Slides Recording
01 Introduction & Motivation Download
02 Digital Design Flow Download
03 HDL Introduction, Verilog Tutorial Part 1 Download
04 Verilog Tutorial Part 2 Download
05 Architectural Design and Design Methodology Download
06 Processor Design Download  Download
07 Testing and Verification Download 
08 Formal Verification for Hardware Designs Download 
09 Synchronous Design and Clocking Download
10 CMOS Gates and Design for Low-Power Download
11 Backend Design Download
12 Invited Lecture: Cryptographic Engineering Download

The practical lab of Digital System Design covers the design of a digital integrated circuit. During the work the following tasks have to be accomplished:

  • System-level specification
  • Algorithmic evaluation
  • Architectural choices
  • Register-level transfer modeling (VHDL, Verilog, System Verilog)
  • Dynamic functional verification (HDL simulation)
  • Synthesis
  • Place & Route
  • Back-end verification

The practical work is committed with professional CAD tools – mostly from Cadence that are used in industry too. The outcome of the lab is the layout of a CMOS circuit that is nearly suitable for tape-out (production).



  • Previous course information: SS2020

Administrative Information

Groups. The Digital System Design KU is done in groups of two. Look out for a group early.

Computers, Accounts, Software, Design flow. For the duration of the practicals, participants have access to the research cluster located at IAIK via a studentnet account.

Newsgroup. Relevant info about the practicals will be published in the Newsgroup Please monitor this newsgroup throughout the semester. Questions and discussions are welcome there.

Discord. Discussions with other students are possible in the #dsd channel in Discord.

Exams. The practicals is a team work of two students. The final submission of deliverables is graded during a colloquium / discussion.

Practicals: In the lab practicals, students design an integrated digital circuit that implements an algorithm with relevance in digital communications. By applying a hierarchical structuring of the circuit, many principles of digital system design become clear. The lab centers on the description of circuits using hardware-description languages but it also covers algorithmic improvements and optimizations on circuit level.

Topic Download
Cadence Software Usage Agreement Download
Design Document Draft Download
IAIK design-flow presentation Download
IAIK design-flow video tutorial Download
Assignment Sheet (updated for Task 2) Download
Assignment 1 presentation Download