ECE Course Outline


Physical Foundations of Computer Engineering (3-0-3)

ECE 2020/2030 [min C] and ECE 2040 [min C]
Catalog Description
Basic principles governing the physical realization of computing systems and their relationship to characteristics such as performance, energy, and robustness. Implementation technologies.
Marilyn Wolf, The Physics of Computing (1st edition), Elsevier, 2016. ISBN 0128093811, ISBN 9780128093818 (required)

Topical Outline
1.	Introduction to a digital information processing system

2.	Fundamental principles and requirements of representations of a bit
   a.	distinguishability and conditional change of states
   b.	physical implementation of a bit - Barrier Model and other models 

3.	Physics of CMOS based Computation - Barrier Model
   a.	Use of energy barrier to represent and modulate a bit
         *  Relation to semiconductor physics 
   b.	Engineering energy barrier in practice 
         *  MOSFET and device physics
         *  Switches as computing devices
   c.	Physics of interconnected switches to process information
         *  Relationship to RC circuit analysis 
   d.	Physics of data communications via signal propagation through wire 
         *  Relationship to electromagnetism and Transmission lines
   e.	Physical attributes of a computing system
         *  Performance, Energy, and Robustness/Error 
         *  Relation to semiconductor physics, circuit theory, and wires
         *  Interaction of performance, energy, and robustness 
         *  Understanding the physical limits CMOS circuits

4.	Other computing systems and models 
   a.	Fundamentals of CMOS based analog computing
   b.	Alternative computing models - e.g. concepts of quantum computing, biological computing etc.