ECE 461 - Spring 2020

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Course description: Reliable communication of one bit of information over three types of channels: additive Gaussian noise, wireline, and wireless. Emphasis on the impact of bandwidth and power on the data rate and reliability, using discrete-time models. Technological examples used as case studies.

Lectures: TR, 9.30am-10.50am, 3013 Electrical & Computer Eng Bldg.

Instructor: Prof. Juan Alvarez, alvarez@, 3046 Electrical & Computer Eng Bldg (ECEB), 300-5452.

Teaching Assistant: Grant Greenberg, gcgreen2@

Lecture Attendance Policy: We invite relevant questions and comments during lectures. Address your questions and comments to the entire class; avoid disruptive behavior such as talking to neighbors, unless the instructor invites you to form discussion groups. Kindly turn off or mute cell phones, laptop computers, and other electronic devices during lectures.

Course notes:

Prerequisite: The basic prerequisites are a probability course (such as ECE 313 or STAT 410) and some basic signal processing background (such as ECE 210).

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Course Outline

Communication Systems are the basic workhorses behind the information age. Examples include high speed communication networks, wireless and wireline telephone systems, high speed modems, etc. The basic currency of information is digital: bits . Broadly speaking, this course is centered around a single theme: reliably communicate bits over an unreliable physical medium. The emphasis is on how to transfer this currency between a transmitter-receiver pair. The transfer involves a physical medium, whose input-output characteristics are not deterministically known. The curriculum has three broad parts:

These three parts are discussed in the course in the context of three specific physical media:

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Office hours

Office hours (starting January 23, through May 4):

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HW # 1

due: Tuesday, February 4 @ 10.50am


Written homework assignments will be posted above every other Tuesday (starting on 2/4) and will be due by 10.50m on Tuesdays on the due date by handing it to the instructor or by dropping it in box # 49 at the northwest corner of the 3rd floor next to the service elevator.

Late homework will receive no credit.

Your lowest homework grade will be dropped to account for possible sickness, travel or emergencies.

Homework format: Your homework assignment should be readable, clearly written. In the case it isn't, students will be penalized with reduction of points or zero credits. The header should be in the following format: left side up corner: course number, section, and semester; right side up corner: student name and netID; and in the middle HW # 1, #2, etc. See the following picture as an example:

Regrades: If you want to request a regrade of your homework, you must do so within a week of it being initially handed back during lecture (if you pick it up late you do not get an extension). To request a regrade, on a separate piece of paper, write why you think you should get more credit. Staple this paper to your homework and then hand it to the instructor.

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Exams scheduled for these dates: