Course Grading

Grade Computation

Course Grading Policy : Your grade will be determined using the following scheme:

   Option 1  Option 2
 Projects (4)  70%  55%
 One Exam  25%  15%
 Short Assignments  5%  5%
 Final Exam    25%

You may choose between the two options. On the last day of class, you will be given the choice to either take or not take the exam. Your decision at that point is binding. You will know your semester grade at that point (everything will complete at that point), and can make an informed decission. No information on the final exam will be given until everyone has made their decission, other than the final exam will be cummulative of all covered information. The final exam will be during the regularly scheduled final exam period.

Grades will be assigned on a curve; however, I will guarantee the following grades if you reach the following percentages: 89% for an A, 79% for a B, 60% for a C, and 50% for a D. Rarely does the line for a C or D move as a result of a curve; the curve for an A and B vary significantly between classes.

Textbook : none . There will be some reference materials available for those who feel more comfortable with a text. The material we need will be available on this site through on-line materials. I expect most in the class appreciate not having to buy yet another expensive textbook as well at this point.

Projects : (4 this semester). Projects are both analysis (earlier projects) as well as design (later projects), and can be based on experimental work, on experimentally measured results , on simulation (SPICE), and / or analysis.

IC Design Tools used throughout the semester : This course is an IC design course, focusing on the details of IC design. The impact of device parasitics on the overall system design is critical. You will be using Cadence design tools for this course. Cadence Tools will be used throughout this semester, both for simulation and for layout. I will not be teaching these tools as part of the classr. Many of you in this class have already had exposure to these tools, and there are many tutorials, etc, to come up to speed on these tools.

Simulation Model : You will be building up your simulation model in your first project, and potentially improving it throughout the semester. You must use the EKV model (for MOSFETs) available in SPICE; other models will not be acceptable. Other models will often give incorrect results. If you use another model you will get no credit for that part of the assignment; this policy is firm, so don't test whether you will get away with an option.

Working in groups of two: You will work on your projects in groups of two. To forms these groups, I give you two options. First, you can choose grouping on your own. Second, I can choose a partner for you. You may change partners between projects, but not during an individual project. I will probably change partner groups before spring break somepoint, at least once.

If you choose to go alone, I will not make any concessions, but if your partner drops in the middle of a project, then I will take into account

You may discuss the questions in large groups, but each group must independently perform and write-up the required work.

I reserve the right to increase the number in a group if I see a need. Any such points will be clearly communicated during class.

Each Student has a Laptop : Remember GT policy is that everyone has a laptop of a given capability. You will need it throughout this semester.

Project Analysis will be done in MATLAB or equivalent (e.g. Scilab) type language for data analysis and plots (not excel). We do not need to see your MATLAB code, unless explicitly asked for. I don't need to see Cadence schematics. Circuits are required to be drawn in something other than Cadence for your writeup. You may send me additional .pdf file showing me the cadence schematics, where that is helpful. Only Cadence schematics will get no credit.

Project submission Here are some details about the project submission:

For the projects, we will require the following proceedure that we will use to grade these projects:

  • Deadlines are hard : You need to complete all required items for the project, which will include analysis, experimental measurements, some system level modeling, and data analysis. Each group might be somewhat different in terms of their particular project, which enables everyone in the class to see some different situations / cases.
  • Project Writeup : You will have a maximum of 7 minutes for video to present the result of your project that will be made available for the entire class to view. One should minimize the number of slides with only text You may do anything with your video; it will be the primary item you turn in that we will evaluate your project. If you wish to directly publish your video (i.e. Youtube), you can directly send me the link, assuming it stays easily availible for a at least a week after you submit the video. You are allowed to send us additional slides (.pdf) on data, analysis where desired; we will evaluate these materials based on available time. One should minimize the number of slides with only text.
  • Video is due the day beforei a project is due (thursday) by 5pm. Within two hours, we will have the videos available for the entire class to view, which is required before class the next day. We are making videos available instead of having class time taken up by presentations, as well as enabling a long-term record of results done in each project. All items are due by email to me (jennifer.hasler at In the e-mail please identify your name (of all people in the project), as well as on the project items, so I know who should get credit for the project. Projects handed in after this deadline will not be accepted. This policy is firm, so do not fall behind! The work load will not get any lighter later in the semester. Only one set of materials will be accepted per group.
  • For the day the project is due (friday), we will have a discussion for each group on their project. therefore each person must watch the videos before class. You are allowed one slide, in .pdf format (or .ppt), if you want to start your discussion, and you are allowed to highlight differences with other groups.
  • Extensions on due dates will not be granted unless there is a very compelling reason (e.g., a medical problem by a majority of the team). To get an extension, you must talk with me before the due date.

Examinations: Relavent information for exams

  • There will be one, closed book midterm examination of 50 minute duration
  • Rules of exam: 1 sheet of notes and a (simple) calculator. All other resources are closed.
  • Expect the unexpected: The exam will be over material covered in lectures (primarily), and handouts, but I reserve the right to make any / all problems not look like homework problems. I expect that you get the intuition of the key concepts from the homework; in the exam, I want to see if you can apply these concepts to slightly different problems.
  • All grades become final one week after they are returned in class.

Short Assignments : The purpose of these in-class assignments is to verify everyone will have completed the video watching and/or reading assignments before the class they are assigned. The questions could be a wide range of things, including working out an example problem in class, answering some simple objective questions, etc, and could happen anytime during class. Obviously, this approach means you want to be at the start of every class. Part of this item will help evaluate general class participation as part of your grade.