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306 N. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
Ph: (217) 333-2300
Fax: (217) 244-7075

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Circuits are the basic building blocks of all electrical and electronic systems. These systems generate, store, and transmit information, process data, perform computations, make measurements, and transfer energy by means of electrical signals. A state-of-the-art microprocessor, at the heart of any modern computer, is essentially one large circuit containing several million transistors, housed in a small package. On the other end of the scale, the entire electric power distribution network of the U.S. is one huge circuit spanning distances of thousands of miles.

Circuits are usually classified as digital or analog. A digital circuit is a circuit in which the signals are quantized into discrete levels, typically two. For example, in positive binary logic circuits a high voltage (above a given threshold) represents a "one," and a low voltage (below a given threshold)represents a "zero." With such circuits, binary arithmetic can be performed, and various other signal processing functions can be accomplished. An analog circuit is a circuit in which the voltages and currents are not categorized into quantized levels. In many cases both digital and analog circuits are used in the design of an electrical or electronic system.

Modern circuits are integrated, in the sense that hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of transistors are fabricated and interconnected on a single piece of silicon, called a chip. Advances in integrated circuit technology over the past few years have led to the development of powerful hand-held computers, electronic watches, sophisticated electronic cameras and games, desk-top computers, supercomputers, sophisticated medical instrumentation, and powerful guidance and communication systems, among other hi-tech systems. In spite of all this progress, we will continue to see integrated circuit technology make rapid and significant advances in the areas of instrumentation, communication, computation, and control.

In order to learn about integrated circuits, one has to study fabrication processes, circuit theory, circuit design, and system design, all in an integrated fashion.

For additional aid and advice, contact any faculty member of the Circuits area: Milton Feng, Elyse Rosenbaum, and Naresh Shanbhag.

Courses in the Circuits area cover topics on the theory and fabrication of integrated circuit devices, the design of digital and analog integrated circuits, and very large scale integrated (VLSI) system design with computer aids. The following suggested electives explain these topics and provide an integrated and broad knowledge of the concepts necessary to carry out integrated circuit design.

Suggested ECE Electives

ECE 482 - Digital IC Design (requires ECE 290 and ECE 342). Design and analysis of VLSI circuits such as logic, memories, high-speed I/O and interconnects; low-power design. Offered every fall; mainly seniors.

ECE 483 - Analog IC Design (requires ECE 342). Basic linear analog integrated circuit design techniques using bipolar, JFET and MOS technologies and applications. A/D and D/A converters. Offered every spring; mainly seniors.

ECE 444 - IC Device Theory & Fabrication (requires ECE 340). Laboratory and lecture course on the physical theory, design, and fabrication of devices suitable for integrated circuitry. Offered every semester; lab; juniors and seniors.

ECE 425/CS 435 - Introduction to the VLSI System Design (requires ECE 385 & ECE 411 or CS 232). Design and layout of VLSI circuits using MOS technology. Offered every semester; includes hands-on design using computer-aided design tools; mainly seniors.

Other ECE Electives to Consider

ECE 361

Digital Communications

ECE 391

Computer Systems Engineering

ECE 310

Digital Signal Processing

ECE 411

Computer Organization and Design

ECE 412

Microcomputer Laboratory

ECE 428

Distributed Systems

ECE 438

Communication Networks

ECE 447

Active Microwave Circuit Design

ECE 448

Artificial Intelligence

ECE 453

Radio Communication Circuits

ECE 459

Communications I

ECE/CS 462 / Math 491

Logic Design

ECE 464

Power Electronics

ECE 486

Control Systems

ECE 490

Introduction to Optimization

Suggested Non-ECE Technical Electives

Math 415

Linear Algebra

Math 446

Applied Complex Variables

Stat 425

Applied Regression and Design

CS 225

Data Structures & Software Principles

CS 257

Numerical Methods

Area related faculty