ELEC 320: Signals and Linear Systems
Bucknell University
Fall, 1998


Our goal in this course is to understand the basic analysis and design techniques for signals and linear systems. We will study both continuous-time and discrete-time signals and systems, and we will learn to work in the time domain as well as various transform domains. The material in this course is fundamental to many areas of electrical engineering, including communication systems, digital signal processing, control systems, image processing, speech processing, biomedical signal processing, analog and digital filter design, acoustics, radar, artificial neural networks, and others. The techniques that we study are general and also apply to other engineering systems, including optical, mechanical, thermal, and chemical systems.

Instructor and Office Hours:

Richard J. Kozick
Office: Room 220 Dana
Phone: (717) 524-1129
FAX: (717) 524-1822
Email: kozick@bucknell.edu
Web: http://www.bucknell.edu/~kozick

Tentative office hour schedule for Fall, 1998 is as follows:
(Refer to the course home page for the most up-to-date office hours)
M  11:00 AM - 12:00 PM 
T   1:30 PM -  2:30 PM 
W  11:00 AM - 12:00 PM 
R  11:00 AM - 12:00 PM 
Other times by appointment -- please send email or call to arrange.


ELEC 220 (Analog Circuits) and MATH 212 (Differential Equations).

Required Textbook:

Edward W. Kamen and Bonnie S. Heck, Fundamentals of Signals and Systems Using MATLAB, Prentice-Hall, 1997.

Optional Books:

Z.Z. Karu, Signals and Systems Made Ridiculously Simple, ZiZi Press, Cambridge, MA, 1995.

B.D. Hahn, Essential MATLAB for Scientists and Engineers, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1997.

Some students have found the Karu book to be a useful supplement to the required textbook. Karu presents a summary of the key ideas in signals and systems, along with examples. No assignments will explicitly refer to the Karu book. It is made available to you as a supplement, if you choose to use it.

The Hahn book is an introduction to MATLAB, which is a computer software package that is widely-used for signal processing, system design, and many other engineering applications. The recent availability of free MATLAB tutorials along with the extensive on-line help facilities in MATLAB may make the purchase of Hahn's book unnecessary.

Further information about the free MATLAB tutorials is available at the URL http://www.eg.bucknell.edu/~kozick/tutorials.html

Other Books:

The library has many books that cover the topics of this course. The titles usually contain the words ``linear systems'' or ``signals and systems''.

Course Home Page:

The home page for the ELEC 320 course is located at the URL
It can also be accessed by following the link from my home page at

The course home page contains the homework assignments, lab assignments, syllabus, and other course information. Data files and sample MATLAB programs will occasionally be posted on the home page that you will download and use for homework and laboratory assignments.


5 30-minute quizzes at 5% each     25%
Final exam                         30%
Brief quizzes                       5%
Labs and presentations             25%
Homework                           15%
The grading in this course will be objective, so that you are not competing against one another for a limited number of high grades. There is no ``curve'' that prescribes the number of A's, B's, C's, etc. - it is possible for the entire class to earn A's. The intent of this policy is to encourage cooperation among the class. I hope everyone does well, and I hope we can all work together to grow in our understanding of signals and systems concepts.

Quizzes and Final Exam:

Instead of hourly exams, we will have five 30-minute quizzes throughout the semester. Most of the quizzes will occur on a Wednesday, and the dates for the quizzes are listed on the tentative course outline below. The course will conclude with a comprehensive final exam.

Short quizzes (announced or unannounced) will also be given to check your understanding of the material as we proceed through the course. Missed quizzes cannot be made-up, but your lowest quiz grade will be dropped.


Homework will be assigned regularly. It will be due at the beginning of class on the specified due date. Late assignments will be accepted but reduced in grade.

You are encouraged to work on the homework with groups of your classmates. The purpose of the homework is to practice with the material and to improve your understanding. I encourage you to learn from each other, and also to ask me when you have questions. However, the homework solutions that you submit for grading must be written individually . Be sure that you understand the reasoning for each problem, even if you initially solved the problem with help from your classmates. Keep in mind that most of your grade in this course is determined by exams and quizzes, which you will have to do by yourself.


Students will work in pairs on the labs for this course. Some of the lab exercises will serve as illustrations of the course material, while others will be design projects in which you choose the topic. You will be asked to write a lab report and/or present your project to the class.

I recommend that you keep a lab notebook for this course, but I will not collect your notebooks. The lab notebook will serve two purposes. First, it is a good way to organize the notes and data that you'll need to prepare the lab report. Second, it provides a good reference for future labs that you can use to remember how to perform certain operations with the instruments.

Tentative Outline:

The corresponding chapters in the Kamen/Heck text and the quiz dates are indicated.
Week 1:
Review of EE 102 and ELEC 220: impedance, phasors, amplifiers, filters, frequency response.
Lab: Analysis, design, and experimental validation of analog filters.

Weeks 2-3: (Chapter 1)
Signals, systems, and classification of systems (linear, time-invariant, causal).
Quiz 1: Wednesday, September 9, 1998

Weeks 4-6: (Chapters 2 and 3)
Modeling systems in the time domain: differential and difference equations.
Convolution: how to do it, why it works, and why it is significant.
Applications of convolution to data communication systems.
Lab: Matched filters for data communication in the presence of noise.
Quiz 2: Wednesday, October 7, 1998

Week 7: (Chapters 4 and 5)
Continuous-time signal analysis with the Fourier series and Fourier transform.
Applications to filtering.
Lab: Real-time spectral analysis with the FFT.

Fall Recess:
Begins Friday, October 9 at 5 PM and ends Wednesday, October 14 at 8 AM.

Weeks 8-9: (Chapters 4 and 5)
Continue with theory and applications of the Fourier transform.
Applications to analog modulation and digital communication systems.
Lab: Sampling, aliasing, and digital signal processing.
Quiz 3: Wednesday, October 28, 1998

Weeks 9-10: (Chapters 5 and 6)
The sampling theorem, reconstruction of continuous-time signals from discrete-time samples, basic concepts of Fourier analysis of discrete-time signals (DFT and FFT algorithms).
Lab: Design project.
Quiz 4: Wednesday, November 11, 1998

Weeks 11-13: (Chapters 7 and 8)
Laplace transform: partial fractions, solving differential equations. Applications to linear systems: poles, zeros, block diagrams, transfer functions, stability, frequency response.
Quiz 5: Monday, November 23, 1998

Thanksgiving Recess:
Begins Tuesday, November 24 at 10 PM and ends Monday, November 30 at 8 AM.

Week 14: (Chapter 10)
Basic idea of the Z transform and its application to discrete-time systems.