ACS134 Digital & Embedded Systems 

Module Description 

This module is intended to equip students with the core knowledge of `how hardware works' in digital systems and introduce the concept of embedded systems using examples/case studies. The module covers introduction to embedded systems, number systems, boolean algebra, logic gates, logic expressions, combinational logic, A/D and D/A converters, computer systems and architectures. The content is delivered as a combination of lectures, tutorials and laboratory sessions that provide students with a fundamental understanding of embedded systems and their applications. A group-based design project in semester two will reinforce the theory and understanding of the content taught in the first semester. This module also covers important skills needed in the workplace, such as project management and teamwork, as well as other crucial employability skills.

Credits: 20 (Academic Year)

Module Leader

Dr George Konstantopoulos

Amy Johnson Building

If you have any questions about the module please talk to me during the lectures or the labs in the first instance. It is likely that other students will learn from any questions you ask as well, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Outside of lectures please contact me via email, or drop in to see me.

Other teaching staff

Dr Tara Baldacchino:

Ben Taylor: 

Craig Bacon:

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to:

  • Understand, apply and demonstrate problem solving skills in digital electronic systems based on fundamental digital design theory [SM1p, EP3p]
  • Describe, and appreciate the hardware and software parts, as well as example applications, of modern embedded systems [SM1p, EA4p]
  • Identify and reflect on strengths and development needs as a student aspiring to become a professional engineer, and have an awareness of the personal attributes needed to work in different roles for an engineering team. [EP9p, ET1p].
  • Demonstrate and develop independent problem solving skills and creativity by working on open-ended embedded systems engineering project. [EA4p, D3p, D4p]
  • Demonstrate oral communication skills to discuss and report on an engineering project, including evidence of project management. [D6p, ET3p]
  • Apply industry standard software and hardware to analyse systems and control related problems. [EP2p, EP3p]

This module satisfies the AHEP3 (Accreditation of Higher Education Programmes, Third Edition) Learning Outcomes that are listed in brackets after each learning outcome above. For further details on AHEP3 Learning Outcomes, see the downloads section of our accreditation webpage.



This module includes these topics:

  • Number systems, boolean algebra, logic gates, logic expressions, gate-level minimisation, combinational logic.
  • Introduction to embedded systems, A/D and D/A converters, computer systems, computer architectures.
  • Group project design, team-working, project management and employability skills.
Teaching Methods

Learning and Teaching Methods

The teaching methods will involve a mix of lectures, labs, tutorials, group work and
independent study in order to achieve all of the learning outcomes:

  • Lectures: 35 hours
  • Tutorials: 12 hours
  • Labs: 33 hours
  • Independent Study: 118.5 hours
Teaching Materials

Learning and Teaching Materials

All teaching materials will be available via MOLE and a university shared server (accessible via MUSE and on the main network).



Formal Exam (50%): Assesses the students ability to analyse and interpret embedded systems as well as solve mathematical and engineering problems in digital design. LO 1, 2, 6

Assignment (13%): Assesses the students understanding in fundamental digital design theory and the generic concept of embedded systems LO 1, 2

Labs (10%): 5 labs over both semesters will be done by the students in the Diamond. These labs reinforce the theory learnt in lectures. LO 6

Group project (20%): Students work in small group to achieve a project outcome which will be assessed by a combination of methods including giving a presentation. The students also need to explain their individual contribution to the group project and show project management. LO 3, 4, 5

Employability report (7%): A report written by students individually to reflect on the skills they have acquired and how they are suited for the engineering workplace. LO 3



The assignment in semester 1 is designed to give students fast quantitative feedback on their progress in that it allows students to assess explicitly to what extent they have mastered different topics. Demonstrators will also be present in all tutorial sessions to answer questions. The module leader has set 1h per week to answer any other queries related to the module.

Student Evaluation

Student Evaluation

Students are encouraged to provide feedback during the module direct to the lecturer. Students will also have the opportunity to provide formal feedback via the Faculty of Engineering Student Evaluation Survey at the end of each semester.

Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

M. Morris Mano, M. D. Ciletti, Digital Design, 5th Ed., Prentice Hall, 2012.

M. Wolf, Computers as Components: Principles of Embedded Computing System Design, 3rd Ed., Morgan Kaufmann, 2012.