MAS.160 | Fall 2007 | Undergraduate

Signals, Systems and Information for Media Technology


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Recitations: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session

Combined Undergraduate/Graduate Subject

The undergraduate and graduate versions of this class meet together. MAS.160 is the undergraduate subject number. The graduate version has additional assignments, and is split into a pair of half-semester subjects, MAS.510 and MAS.511.

First Half: MAS.510 Signals, Systems, and Information for Media Technology

  • Fundamentals of signals and information theory with emphasis on modeling audio/visual messages and physiologically derived signals, including sampling, sampling rate conversion, reconstruction, quantization, Fourier analysis, entropy, and noise. Shannon’s fundamental theorems.

Second Half: MAS.511 Systems and Signal Processing for Media Technology

  • Fundamentals of signal processing and linear systems theory as applied to audio/visual messages and physiologically-derived signals. Linear systems, difference equation, Z-transforms, convolution, filtering. Additional topics may include filter design, feature detection, communication systems.


18.02 Calculus II

For MAS.511, the prerequisite is either MAS.510 or 6.003 Circuits and Systems.



McClellan, J. H., R. W. Schafer, and M. A. Yoder. DSP First: A Multimedia Approach. East Rutherford, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1998. ISBN: 9780132431712.

Shannon, C. E., and W. Weaver. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1998. ISBN: 9780252725463. [Download a copy of the original 1948 paper by Shannon (PDF - 4.43MB), upon which the book is based, from Bell Labs.]

Karu, Zoher Z. Signals and Systems Made Ridiculously Simple. Huntsville, AL: ZiZi Press, 1995. ISBN: 9780964375215.

Computer Facilities

MATLAB will be used throughout the semester.


There will be two in-class quizzes. Both are open-book and open-notes, and we suggest bringing along a calculator that knows about trigonometric functions.


Your grade will be determined as a weighted average:

Homework 40%
Quizzes 50%
Class participation 10%

Obligatory Policy Statement

We think collaboration is a fine thing, and encourage studying in groups and discussing the topics covered in class. However, for homework problems the work you hand in should be done at least 95% by you alone. If you can think of a system that gives a good evaluation of individual performance and is even better at facilitating learning of this material, please suggest it to us.

Late Homework

We realize that many of our students lead complicated and demanding lives, and will allow you to hand in up to two problem sets late — without penalty — as long as you get permission from one of the faculty or TAs at least a day in advance of the regular due date. The delay is limited, however, and under no circumstances will you receive credit for a problem set after we have made available the solutions.


The calendar below provides information on the course’s lecture (L) and recitation (R) sessions.



Overview of subjects to be covered during the term; basic math concepts; notation; vocabulary. Representation of systems

Problem set 1 out
R1 Sinusoids and complex exponentials  


Complex exponentials



Spectrum plots, AM

Problem set 1 due

Problem set 2 out

R2 Periodic waveforms, Fourier series  

Periodic waveforms

Fourier series, frequency modulation (FM)


Basis functions and orthogonality

Definition of orthogonality; Walsh functions and other basis sets; discrete Fourier basis matrix

Problem set 2 due

Problem set 3 out

R3 Periodicity  

Sampling I

Sampling theorem, aliasing

R4 Periodicity, spectrum of a periodic functions, basis functions, D-to-C conversion  

Sampling II


Problem set 3 due

Problem set 4 out


Psychophysics, psychoacoustics, and other physiological signals

R5 C-to-D conversion, folding, aliasing, resampling, unsharp mask, psychoacoustics  
R6 Introduction to information theory, Markov processes, entropy coding  

Communication theory I

Ergodic processes/Markov models; choice, uncertainty and entropy; Shannon’s fundamental theorem for a noiseless channel; entropy coding


Communication theory II

Discrete channels with noise; continuous channels; error detection and correction

R7 Noisy channels, repeat rodes, Hamming code error correction  

Pre-quiz wrap-up

Problem set 4 due
L12 Quiz 1  
End of MAS.510; start of MAS.511

Discrete-time systems I

FIR filters. Impulse response. Convolution

Problem set 5 out

Discrete-time systems II

Implementations of general LTI systems


Quiz review

FIR filters, impulse response, convolution, block diagrams


Frequency response I

Response of FIR systems; properties

Problem set 5 due

Problem set 6 out


Frequency response II

R9 FIR filters, impulse response, convolution review, frequency response  

Z-transform, I

Definitions; convolution and the Z-transform; poles and zeros

Problem set 6 due

Problem set 7 out

R10 Frequency response, system response, Z-transform  

IIR systems

Definitions; impulse response and frequency response


Z-transforms II

Inverse Z-transform; stability; partial fraction expansion

Problem set 7 due

Spectrum analysis I

The DFT; fast algorithms

Problem set 8 out
R11 Inverse Z-transform, zeros, partial fraction expansion, long division, DFT, FFT  

Spectrum analysis II



Practical filter design

R12 Phase, equivalent system representation, filter design, windows, and cepstrum analysis  

Pre-quiz wrap-up and practical communication systems

Real-world modulation and demodulation methods; spread-spectrum

Problem set 8 due
L24 Quiz 2