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.
Feynman, Allen, & Hey, Feynman Lectures on Computation, Westview Press, 2000. ISBN 0738202967, ISBN 978-0738202969 (required)

Pierret, Semiconductor Device Fundamentals, Addison Wesley, 1996. ISBN 9780201543933 (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.