Course syllabus


DAT116 Mixed-signal system design lp2 HT19 (7.5 hp)

This course is offered by the department of Computer Science and Engineering

Contact details

Role Name E-mail Phone Office
Lecturer, examiner Lars Svensson 772 1704 EDIT 4477
Lecturer Lena Peterson 772 1822 EDIT 4113
Lab TA Han Zhou
Lab TA Victor Åberg 772 1707 EDIT 4447


Course purpose

The course is intended to give the student insight into how analog and mixed-mode subsystems (particularly A/D and D/A converters and surrounding circuitry) are specified and implemented, and how they affect the performance of the systems they are part of.


A detailed schedule of activities can be found in the Canvas calendar.

Course literature

We will use the book "Data Converters" by Franco Maloberti as the main textbook.

This book is published by Springer and is available from the Chalmers library as an e-book. Here is the link to the e-book. Note that to access this e-book you have log in with your CID. It seems to be required always nowadays.

We will also use some parts of Maloberti's other book: "Analog Design for CMOS VLSI Systems". This book is also available as an e-book here. Links to specific chapters:

Chapter 5 CMOS Operational Amplifiers (we will use sections 5.1 and 5.2)

Chapter 6 Comparators (we will use section 6.1 and 6.2)

Both books can be downloaded as pdfs so you can read them offline.

Since these two books do not completely cover the topics we want to address, we will also use other material such as book chapters, articles etc.  Detailed week-by-week directions are given in the Resources page for each theme.

Course design

Broadly speaking, the course is organized around weekly topics. The core of the course are the labs. The course is designed to give you ample possibility for formative (helpful) feedback to aid your learning and engagement with the material, while limiting the teachers' work of grading resubmissions. This continuous  feedback is not part of the examination. The summative assessment (examination) is concentrated to the end of the course. It is designed so that for passing the course it focuses on the understanding of the lab contents and core concepts. See details on Examination below.


Each topic is treated in lectures on Monday and Thursday, after a brief video introduction at the end of the previous week.  There is material to be read for each topic, preferrably before the first "real" lecture.  The material consists of chapters of the main text, augmented with excerpts from other texts and with research papers.  Reading directions for each topic are given in the topic modules here in Canvas.


Exercise sessions are scheduled after the Monday lectures in weeks 2–7.  These sessions focus on the practical application of the theory from the lectures, such as the lab sessions (see below) and problem solving. 

Lab sessions

The main practical illustration of a week topic occurs in a lab session in the following week. 

The lab sessions, numbered 0 to 6, will take place in course weeks 1 to 7, on Tuesday afternoons from 13:15 to 17:00 and on Wednesday mornings from 8:00 to 11:45, in room 4220 in the EDIT building.

Labs are carried out in groups of two students (lab pairs).  Pairs will be assigned by the teachers at the beginning of week 2.  Ad-hoc pairing is used for Lab 0 in week 1.  In order for us to be able to assign you to sessions, please indicate which session suits you better here.

All lab sessions are compulsory.  In case of illness or force majeure, notify course staff as soon as possible, via email or Canvas message.  Include the string "DAT116" in the subject line of any course-related email messages.

Each lab PM contains preparation tasks to be carried out before the lab session.  Questions which arise about those tasks can be aired in the Monday exercise session before the lab in question.

An omnibus lab report covering labs 1–6 must be submitted at the end of the course (by 23:59 on Friday Jan 8, 2021 [so not Jan 10, 2020]). Optionally, reports for each of these labs may be submitted for feedback by 23:59 on the Friday following the lab in question.  The feedback is intended to help you improve the final omnibus submission, which will be graded (weekly submissions will not be graded).  Late weekly submissions receive no feedback. 

Each weekly lab report consists of two parts.  The first part deals with the tasks carried out; as the tasks were carried out in groups/pairs, these parts are submitted by group/pair.  The second part calls for individual reflection on the lab topics; these parts are to be solved and submitted individually.

The final omnibus lab report is also submitted individually; it may preferrably consist of the concatenation of all the weekly reports, updated in accordance with feedback received, if any.


To pass the course, you must:

  • Attend all lab sessions
  • Submit an individual omnibus report as outlined above
  • Attend and pass an oral examination session partly based on the report, or pass a sit-down exam later the same week

In other words: If report and/or oral session is not passable, you may still pass the course by the sit-down exam at the end of the exam period (the actual date will be set in the first week of the course).

Report criteria

To be passable, a report has to fulfill the following criteria:

  • Clearly marked with name and date
  • Complete (all tasks must be addressed)
  • Substantially correct
  • Written in functionally correct English and with readable graphs and illustrations

As a further help, here is an elaboration of what we want to see in a lab report: A good lab report

Submissions are accepted in PDF format only.  Please don't use a two-column format. 

Oral session

The student must be able to explain key concepts of the course, and discuss the contents of his or her own individual omnibus report.  This is a 30-minute individual session.  There will be a possibility to sign up for timeslots when the course is drawing to an end. The oral sessions will be scheduled in the beginning of the regular examination period for study period 2, which in 2021 starts on Monday January 11.

Bonus points

Teachers may award bonus grading points for the final report, provided that the minimum requirements are fulfilled. Bonus grading points will be awarded based on overall report quality, on responses to the individual reflection questions that are part of the final report, and on the performance in the oral session.  To 75% they are based on technical content and to 25% on clarity of presentation. A maximum of 16 bonus grading points can be awarded.  Note: as the bonus points are based in part on the oral discussion, no bonus points are awarded to a student who does not show up for the oral session.

Bonus grading points are valid for one year only, so expire before the next regular sit-down exam.  They may be claimed in re-sit exams during the year, if any. 

Sit-down exam

The final exam is open-book: any printed or written material may be used.  The maximum overall score for all problems is 60 grading points.  At the time of writing, no decision has yet been taken about how sit-down exams at Chalmers will be carried out in January; more information will be forthcoming in a Canvas announcement. 

In accordance with  Chalmers regulations, it will be necessary to sign up for the sit-down exam in advance.  Signup will be handled locally by the teachers. 

Final grade computation

If your omnibus report and discussion were not acceptable, your final grading points are equal to the number of grading points scored at the sit-down exam.

If your omnibus report and discussion were acceptable, your grading points are calculated by taking the maximum of the points scored at the exam and 30.  To this result, any bonus points are added to form the final grading points.

A final grading point count of at least 50 will earn you the grade of 5.  A count of at least 40 will earn you the grade of 4.  A count of at least 30 will earn you the grade of 3.  


A 7.5-credit course is supposed to correspond to five weeks of full-time work. One work week is 40h, so 5 full-time weeks is 5 x 40h = 200h.

The scheduled time in this course is 7 x 4h (for labs) + 42h (for lectures and exercises) = 70h.  We estimate that lab preparations and reports will take around 8h for each of the six labs: 8 x 6 = 48h, for a total of approximately 120h. 

Thus, the scheduled activities and prelab preparations and postlab reports will require roughly three-fifths of the total time allotted. A significant amount of additional time must be spent reading the course literature and solving problems on your own.

Exchange students

Timing issues etc for exchange students will be solved on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact the examiner.

Changes made since last year

Adapted the course to the Covid-19 situation with remote participation.

Updated some of the lab PMs.

Learning objectives and syllabus

After passing the course, the student will be able to assess requirements for a mixed-signal subsystem to propose a top-level design, taking into account fundamental limitations as well as cost limitations, and verify the design through simulation.

Specifically, the student will be able to:

  •  Select sample rates and converter resolutions which make the required system performance attainable.
  • Estimate the influence of the converter imperfections on converter and system performance.
  • Identify requirements on analog interface components for a given converter solution.
  • Starting from technology and component specifications, assess achievable cost and performance of analog subsystems, based on examples and calculations.
  • Model a mixed-signal subsystem using software tools in order to verify assumptions and hand calculations.

Syllabus (studieplan)

Course summary:

Date Details Due