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Fundamentals of Digital Systems Design


Admission requirements

Not applicable.


In this course, the students learn about the basic principles, techniques, and building blocks used to design today’s digital systems (such as controllers, processors, computers, etc). More specifically the following topics are covered: Digital Systems and Information, Number Systems, Binary Arithmetic Operations, Decimal and Alphanumeric Codes, Boolean Algebra, Combinational Logic Circuits, Logic Functions and Circuits, Arithmetic Functions and Circuits, Sequential Circuits, Memory Basics, Registers and Register Transfers, Computer Design Basics.

During the lectures the fundamentals of digital systems design are presented, i.e., theoretical foundations, basic digital circuits and building blocks, design algorithms and procedures, etc. In addition, several hands-on tutorials are given to train the students how to solve simple digital design problems in practice and how to use modern software tools to design digital circuits. Moreover, a design project is given to the students in order to apply the knowledge built during the lectures and hands-on tutorials by designing a simple 4-bit microprocessor. Furthermore, several home works are given to the students in order to understand better the material given at the lectures and to study alone additional material not given at the lectures.

Course objectives

The course gives a comprehensive overview and basic knowledge of the field through a series of lectures, hands-on tutorials, design project, and home works. The main goal is that the students gain insights into how the modern digital systems are designed and what their main building components are.


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

The design project, hands-on tutorials, and home works are mandatory components of the course.

Assessment method

The final grade is a combination of grades. A student will receive three Grades: one for the midterm exam (Gme), one for the final exam (Gfe), and one for the design project (Gp). All of them are important and will form the Final Grade as follows:

If (Gfe ≥ 6.0 and Gp ≥ 6.0) then

Final Grade = 0.4xGfe + 0.4xGp + 0.2xGme


Final Grade ≤ 5

Reading list

  • The following book is recommended but not mandatory for the course: M. Morris Mano and Charles R. Kime: Logic and Computer Design Fundamentals, 3th or 4th edition (NOT necessarily with CD-ROMs), 2008, Pearson Education ; isbn-13: 978-0-13-198926-9; isbn-10: 0-13-198926-9

  • Slides will be provided to the students for download.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information. An exemption is the fall semester for 1st year bachelor students, the student administration will enroll this group.

Please note that it is compulsory to register for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course.

Extensive FAQ on MyStudymap can be found here.


Education coordinator LIACS bachelors


Fundamentals of Digital Systems Design


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