Digital System Design (SS 2023)

Course Number 705044 | Sommersemester 2023


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 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).


Topic Slides
01 Introduction & Motivation Download
02 Digital Design Flow | Cipher Spec Download  Cipher_specification
03 HDL Introduction, Verilog Tutorial Part 1 VerilogHDL Video of Verilog coding
04 Architectural Design Methodology Part 1 SDFG_and_CFG source_mpadder
05 Architectural Design Methodology Part 1 (continuation)
06 Architectural Design and Design Methodology Part 2 DFG_transformation
07 Architectural Design Methodology Part 2 (continuation) AES_as_a_case_study
08 Synchronous Design and Clocking Clocking
09 CMOS Gates and Design for Low-Power Download
10 Backend Design Download
11 Verification and Validation Download
Course Intro: Crypto on Hardware Crypto_HW2023
Sample questions for Architecture Design part only SampleQuestions_for_Architecture_Design_part

Administrative Information


Exam. There is one written exam at the end of the semester. An additional exam date is planned for the end of September. Other exam dates are offered on request.


Practicals: In the lab practicals, students design an integrated digital circuit that implements a cryptographic algorithm. 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.

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.

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.

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


Sujoy Sinha Roy
Sinha Roy

Associate Professor

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