6.973 | Spring 2006 | Graduate

Communication System Design


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Tutorials: 1 session / week, 1.5 hours / session


6.011 and 6.111


The course will focus on four major categories as outlined below:

  1. Introduction to digital communications
    • Modulation and detection, vector channel representation
    • Equalization
    • Multi-channel systems (modulation methods, waterfiling, bit loading)
    • Practical examples including 802.11a
    • Coding – sequence detection, gap, convolutional and block codes
  2. ASIC design fundamentals
    • ASIC design flow, tools, system-on-a-chip design issues
    • Micro-architectures and transformations (parallelism, pipelining, folding, time-multiplexing)
    • Hardware description languages: introduction to Bluespec™ and Verilog® review
  3. Theory and building blocks
    • Fast fourier transform (theory, fast algorithms and VLSI implementations)
    • Convolutional and Trellis codes, and Viterbi algorithm (theory, algorithms and VLSI implementations)
    • Synchronization (phase and frequency tracking loops, algorithms and VLSI implementations)
    • Block codes (Hamming, BCH, Reed-Solomon), basic theory and VLSI implementations
  4. Wireless channel fundamentals
    • Properties and modeling (fading, Doppler effect,…)
    • Channel estimation (theory and VLSI implementations)


Midterm 15%
Final 25%

Four major homeworks (10% each)

Channel estimation

Two minor problem sets (5% each) 10%
Final presentation and write-up 10%


The calendar below provides information on the courses lectures (L) and Tutorials (T) sessions.

L1 Course overview

T1 CppSim

L2 Introduction to practical digital communications

L3 Multi-tone systems Problem set 1 out
T2 Verilog® review

L4 802.11a transceiver architecture

L5 ASIC design

Problem set 1 due

Problem set 2 out

T3 802.11a PHY standard

L6 Micro-architectures and transformations

L7 Bluespec™ overview Problem set 2 due
T4 Bluespec™

L8 Fast fourier transform: theory and algorithms Problem set 3 out
L9 Fast fourier transform: practical aspects and basic architectures

T5 Design flow, part 1

L10 Fast fourier transform: advanced VLSI architectures Problem set 3 due
L11 Convolutional codes

T6 Design flow, part 2

L12 Trellis codes

Exam 1

L13 Viterbi algorithm

L14 Viterbi algorithm (cont.)

L15 Viterbi algorithm (cont.)

L16 Viterbi algorithm (cont.)

L17 Synchronization introduction

L18 Synchronization OFDM

L19 Synchronization: implementations

L20 Wireless channels

L21 Channel estimation

L22 Block codes: introduction

L23 Block codes: code classes and Reed-Solomon codes

L24 Block codes: implementations

Exam 2

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2006
Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets with Solutions
Lecture Notes