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Unit information: Signals and Systems in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Signals and Systems
Unit code EENG21000
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Nishan Canagarajah
Open unit status Not open

EMAT10100 or EMAT10004; EENG11002.



School/department Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


In this unit the characteristics and inter-relations of linear (continuous and discrete) signals and systems will be discussed. Principles of sampling theory, aliasing, correlation, convolution, and spectral analysis will be presented. Analysis of linear systems using Laplace and Z transform, and pole-zero representation of filter transfer functions will be considered. Stability analysis of linear systems in both continuous and discrete domains will be presented. The characterisation of systems in the time and frequency domains, impulse response, transfer functions, and frequency response will be discussed.

Introduction: objectives of the course - analyse, predict and control signals and systems; some example applications in electrical engineering (circuit analysis, communications, DSP and control); examples in other disciplines (economics, medicine etc.).

Signal Description: sources; representations (analytic and graphical); classification of signals (periodic, harmonic, random, deterministic, impulse and step functions); elementary operations on signals (scaling, time shifting, addition, quantisation); properties of signals (energy, spectrum, correlation).

System Description: system models; derive simple systems (RC networks, mechanical); classification of systems (continuous/discrete, linear/nonlinear, time-invariant/time varying, causal/acausal, stable/unstable); system representation (differential/difference);

System Response and Convolution: system characterisation: impulse and step response; convolution and its properties; convolution summation/integral; graphical interpretation of convolution; examples in communications (transmission channel) and DSP (filtering).

Transforms (Fourier, Laplace and Z): review of transforms; differential equations and Laplace; difference equations and z transform; properties of these transforms and their relationships to each other.

Continuous-Time v. Discrete-Time Systems: system description -differential and difference equations and solutions; steady-state and transient response; finding the impulse response; system analysis using Laplace transforms and z-transforms ; stability in the s-plane and z-plane; examples in circuit theory, communications and digital filtering.

Sampling and Sampling Theorem: sampling of continuous signals; sampling theorem; impulse sampling; signal reconstruction; spectrum of sampled signals;

Transfer Function and Frequency Response: transfer function representation of systems; pole-zero representation in s-plane and z-plane; derive frequency response from transfer functions; graphical methods of evaluating frequency response; stability and system behaviour.

Applications: Circuit Theory: RC networks and frequency response; Communications: amplitude modulation and equalisation; DSP: filter design and filtering; Control: system identification.

Students will be well prepared for any course on Communications, Control or DSP in the following years.

Intended learning outcomes

Having completed this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Analyse continuous-time systems and discrete time system in the time domain using convolution, transform domain or in the frequency domain.
  2. Distinguish between, and use, Laplace Transform, Z Transform and Fourier Transform.
  3. Design a continuous-time system or a digital filter using pole-zero locations and frequency response.

Teaching details

Lectures and Laboratory classes

Assessment Details

Technical note, 10% (ILO 3)

Exam, 2 hours, 90% (All ILOs)

Reading and References

As directed by the Unit Lead