EE4440: Communication Theory: Spring 2011




  1. The catalog description of this course is: “Amplitude and angle modulation and demodulation; digital baseband and carrier communication systems; performance of communication systems; and current topics in communication systems.” A specific schedule of topics is attached.
  2. EE 3220: Signals and Systems is the prerequisite for this course. Although there will be a review of applicable signal theory, you are responsible for knowing and, if necessary, reviewing the material covered in EE 3220. If you feel that you are weak in this area, take a look at reference 2.1, and/or come see me. The most important parts of EE3220 for this course are convolution, Continuous Time Fourier Series, and the Continuous Time Fourier Transform. This course makes little or no use of the Laplace and Z-Transforms, so don’t spend time reviewing them for this course.  Everything up to Exam 1 is either review or quite closely related to EE 3220 material.
  3. The topics covered in this course are one of the most interesting and applicable parts of EE.  They are the theory behind MANY everyday practical devices and technologies as well critical but more obscure applications.  No part of EE is untouched by some topic that is covered in this course which is why it is required.

Text and References:

  1. The required text for this course is B.P. Lathi and Zhi Ding, Modern Digital and Analog Communication Systems, Oxford University Press, 2009, ISBN: 0195331451.
  2. I also recommend the following as useful reference/tutorial materials: 

    1. B.P. Lathi, Linear Systems and Signals 1e, Oxford University Press, 1992.
    2. Hwei P. Hsu, Schaum’s Outline of Analog and Digital Communications 2e, McGraw-Hill, 2002.
    3. Nicholas S. Tzannes, Communication and Radar Systems, Prentice Hall, 1985. (Also available in paperback reprint)
    4. C. Richard Johnson and William A. Sethares, Telecommunications Breakdown, Prentice Hall, 2003. (PDF draft available from Sethares’ website, Google away)

Where’s The Beef?:

  1. There will be three in-class exams.
  2. There will be a comprehensive final exam. This exam will be administered in EN2110 on Tuesday, May 3 from 1:15-3:15pm.
  3. All exams will be open book, closed notes. DO NOT try to circumvent this rule by writing notes inside your books. If I discover that this is being done, you will complete the exam without the benefit of your book. You may tab pages if you like.
  4. There will be a homework assignment approximately every week. Homework will be assigned in class, and will be due at the beginning of class one week later. Homework should consist of legible and logical calculations, derivations, and diagrams. Homework assignments are not meant to be formal write-ups, but they are also not meant to be scratch paper gibberish. Your two lowest homework grades will be dropped. Late homework will not be accepted. You are welcome to work on homework together, however: you must turn in your own solution.  Copying homework is considered to be academic misconduct and can result in severe consequences for all parties involved.  
  5. There will be a short quiz in EVERY LECTURE.  The quiz will be over material from the previous lecture, and will be made up of conceptual and very short computational problems.
  6. I consider the lab section to be a nearly independent activity, unless there is compelling evidence that I should do otherwise I will accept the grade from the TA at face value.  If you have grading issues with the lab, take them up with the TA.  If you can not resolve an issue with the TA you may bring it up with me.  Traditionally, there is one formal lab report required for 4440, usually the FM lab. 
  7. Grading: 

    1. Item
      Class Exams
      Final Exam

    2. A curve may be applied to either exam grades or final grades at my discretion. The curve will not hurt any student relative to the standard 10 point scale. In the event that a curve is not needed I will not round grades up, anything less than a 90 is a B, less than an 80 is a C and so on. Please do not have attempt a conversation with me that along the lines of “there’s no such thing as an 89.5% B!” There is. If you have a concern about grading please bring it to my attention within one week of the day that the work is returned to you.
    3. There will be no makeup exams in this course. If you have a university excused absence your final exam grade will be substituted for the missed exam. If you do not have a university excused absence you will receive a grade of zero for the missed exam.
    4. Likewise, there will be no makeup quizzes.  The lowest three quizzes will be dropped.  Note that the quizzes represent one half of a letter grade that you can earn mostly just by being in class.


  1. This course is bound by all applicable UW regulations. Your responsibilities as a student are addressed by UW Regulation 8-30 and are described in the UW Student Code of Conduct. You should also be aware of UW Regulation 6-802 which pertains to academic dishonesty. These regulations can be found on the UW website.
  2. If you have any type of disability that requires accommodation please inform the instructor immediately. Any such disability must be registered with University Disability Support Services which is located in Knight Hall room 330.
  3. It is important that you attend class, but you are all adults who are responsible for managing your time as you see fit. Accordingly, if you have a more pressing matter during class time such as: doing homework for another class, loudly eating your lunch/snack/dinner, reading the newspaper, doing crossword/sudoku/The Jumble, sending and receiving text messages, using your laptop/Blackberry/iPhone/iPod/iPad/Android to check your e-mail/Facebook/eBay auction status/other, conducting a conversation with your neighbor, etc. please feel free to take care of that elsewhere. As a practicing engineer you will attend many meetings, and each of them will have some alleged purpose. Be aware that the sole purpose of our class meetings is for you and your classmates to learn about communications theory, and that any activity detrimental to that purpose is not acceptable. Avoid coming to class late, but if you must arrive late please do so a quietly as possible.
  4. If you do miss class, and you come to office hours to ask questions that were addressed in the lecture you missed, please do not be offended if you are asked to come back after you have read the relevant portion of the text book.
  5. You are welcome to come to my office outside office hours. However, the fact that you have free time does not imply that I have free time. I reserve the right to delay your visit until a mutually agreeable time.
  6. Class participation is more than welcome. Your questions are one of the most important parts of the course. If you have a question, please do not let your ego interfere with asking it. If one student has a question it is likely that others are wondering the same thing.  Have the courage to make the most of class time.  The class will be far more valuable and enjoyable if it is a dialog rather than a monologue. If class participation is low, I will begin going down the course roster asking students questions to stimulate discussion. Asking and answering questions is a portion of your quiz grade.
  7. What if I don’t show up? If I have not arrived to class by 1:00pm, class is canceled.

Tentative Schedule

Week,Day"Lecture TopicHW/Exam/etcSource,Lab
101/11"Course Introduction Motivation
Chap 1

01/13"Introduction to Signals IHW1 AssignedChap 2
201/18Introduction to Signals II

01/20Signal Analysis and Transmission IHW1 Due HW2 AssignedChap 3
301/25Signal Analysis and Transmission II

Lab 1: FFT Scopes

01/27Complex Signals IHW2 DueHandout
402/01Exam 1 Review

02/03-->Exam 1 (HW1 and HW2)

502/08Amplitude Modulation I
Chap 4

02/10Amplitude Modulation IIHW3 Assigned

Lab 2: AM
602/15Angle Modulation I
Chap 5

01/17Angle Modulation IIHW3 Due HW4 Assigned

02/24Superheterodyne ReceiverHW4 Due HW5 Assigned
803/01Complex Signals II
HandoutLab 3: FM

03/03Special Topics IHW5 DueTBD
903/08Exam 2 Review

03/10-->,Exam #2 Covers HW3-5



1103/22Sampling I
Chap 6

03/24Sampling IIHW6 Assigned
Lab 4: Sampling
1203/29Differential Coding

03/31Quantization and A/D Noise AnalysisHW6 Due HW7 Assigned
1304/05Digital Baseband Signaling I
Chap 7 Lab 5: Line Codes

04/07Digital Baseband Signaling IIHW7 DueHW8 Assigned
1404/12Digital Passband Communications I

04/14Digital Passband Communications IIHW8 Due

1504/19Exam 3 Review

Lab6: Eye Diagrams

04/21-->Exam #3 Covers HW6-8

1604/26Special Topics II

04/28Final Exam Review

Homework (Links will be added as the semester progresses)

Homework 1(posted 1/12/11 due 1/20/11)
Solution 1(posted 1/20/2011 )
Homework 2(posted 1/20/11 due 1/27/11)
Solution 2(posted 1/28/2011 )
Homework 3(posted 2/10/11 due 2/18/11)
Solution 3(posted 2/27/11)
Homework 4(posted 2/17/11 due 2/25/11)
>Solution 4(posted 2/27/11)
Homework 5(posted 2/27/11 due 3/6/11)
Solution 5(posted 3/8/11)
Homework 6(posted 3/25/11 due 4/1/11)
Solution 6(posted 4/14/11)
Homework 7(posted 4/4/11 due 4/11/11)
Solution 7(posted 4/14/11)
Homework 8(posted 4/4/11 due 4/15/11)
Solution 8(posted 4/18/11))