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Taking ECE 190 with ECE 110

There are a few concepts and skills that one learns in ECE 110 and that are expected from students who want to enroll in ECE 190 to have. We believe that the topics can be self taught (see list below). The major issue in taking these two classes together is in the pace at which topics are covered in both classes. ECE 190 is faster paced than ECE 110. Most freshmen already find the pace of ECE 110 to be quite fast, and some of the topics to be challenging. This is, after all, the first engineering class, very different from your regular science class. As Page XXI of the ECE 190 book emphasizes, an engineering class will ask from students more an understanding of principles than a memorization of rules. ECE 110 and 190 are the first ECE classes students will take. A good start in the major is very important, and therefore a student should consider taking them both in the same semester only after very careful thought.

Will have to be learned independently
before the start of the semester:

  • Computer System, software/hardware. Read Chapter 1 of Introduction to Computing Systems, Patt and Patel (ECE 190 book). It is important to have an idea of what ECE 190 will cover, and the approach taken in the class (some of the concepts will be seen in many parts of ECE 110). ECE 110 and ECE 190 were not designed to be taken together. The same topics will be covered in a very asynchronous way, and with a different approach (different pace and depth). This will be challenging for most.

  • Binary Information and Numbers. Read part 2.1 of Patt and Patel for a start. ECE 110 and 190 both cover binary information, binary representation (binary digits), binary addition (and logic circuits –adders). For a more complete background proceed to parts 2.2.1 (only unsigned integers are covered in ECE 110), 2.4 (conversion binary/decimal) 2.5.1 (only addition is covered in ECE 110), and 3.3.3 (full adder).

  • Logic Operations and Gates. Read Part 2.6 for a description of basic logic functions and Parts 3.1-3.2 for logic gates. Transistors are covered in more depth in ECE 110.

Will not be necessary, but will give you a head start

(covered in both ECE 110 and ECE 190 at different times):

  • Complete the reading of portion of Chapters 2 and 3 of Patt and Patel that are missing from above: 2.5.3 (overflow), 2.7.3 (ASCII code), 2.7.4 (Hexadecimal Notation), 3.3 (Combinational Circuits), and 3.4 (Basic Storage Elements). What is not in the list is simply not covered in ECE 110.

Will be beneficial:

  • Programming experience. As with any programming class, you will have an advantage if you are already familiar with a programming language. This is especially true if attempting ECE 190 with ECE 110 (one less new thing to worry about).

So what’s the bottom line? If you plan to take ECE 110 and ECE 190 concurrently you’ll probably want to go to the library and read through the relevant sections of Patt and Patel (ECE 190 book), do some of the exercises, and then decide.