Syllabus and Policies

Here is the standard syllabus for 370.

Basic Logistics

Lecture location and times: Electrical Engineering 037
  Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 10:30-11:20

Lab location and times: Hardware lab, CSE 003
  Section A: Tuesday, 9:30-12:20
  Section B: Wednesday, 3:30-6:20
The number of people who can be accommodated in the labs is limited. If you would like to attend a lab session other than the one you are signed up for, please contact the TAs. If you need to switch lab sessions just for one week because of special circumstances, please make your best effort to contact the TAs at least one week in advance.

Textbook: Contemporary Logic Design, Second Edition, Katz and Borriello
There will be weekly reading assignments from the textbook that complement the material presented in lecture. I do not guarantee that the exam questions will cover only material presented in lecture, though I will try to highlight when I skip textbook material in lecture.

Course Staff

Instructor: Benjamin Ylvisaker (pronounced Ill'-vi-soccer) ben8@cs
  office hours: Wednesday, 1:30-2:30 and Thursday, 9:30-10:30 in CSE 210
My actual office is CSE 402, but I encourage you to come to come to 210 during my official office hours. If you need to talk about something and cannot make those times for whatever reason, please email to arrange a meeting.

Teaching Assistants (TAs):
  Nikhil Subramanian (Primary Wednesday lab TA) niksubr@ee
    office hour: Friday, 11:30-12:30, in lab
    office: EE 307L
  Ramkumar (Primary Homework TA) ramkumar@u
    office hour: Monday, 9:30-10:30, in lab
  Joshua Snyder (Primary Tuesday lab TA) snydej@cs
    office hour: Tuesday, 1:30-2:30, in lab

Lab Assistants (SLAs):
  Ray Li email
  Leilani Marie Battle email
  Tracy Hartford email

Grading and Late Policy

370 is a 4 credit course. We will do our best to make the workload similar to other 4 credit CSE courses.

Your grade in 370 will be based on a weighted average of your grades on:
ComponentNumberPercentage of Overall Grade
Homeworksabout 1030%
Exams2 during the quarter22%
Final Exam125%
Daily quizzes61%

I make no promises about how many students will receive a particular letter grade (strict curving) or what letter grades will correspond to what numerical averages exactly. At the end of the course, I will calculate all of your averages for the entire course, plot them, and assign letter grade cut-offs where it seems appropriate. The cut-offs will probably be close to the traditional 90, 80, 70, ... system, but not exactly. I will also probably bump up a few students who land just below a cut-off, if they have done things that give instructors warm fuzzies, like participating in class and showing interest beyond just getting a grade and getting out. After the first exam, I will try to periodically send out grade information, so that you can double-check our records, and you will know what grade you would get "if the class ended today".


Homeworks are an important part of your grade in 370, because design skills are an important part of the course, and there is no way to acquire them other than practice. Homeworks are due at the beginning of lecture. Homeworks that are turned in after 10:30 will be marked one day late. Late homeworks are penalized according to the following schedule:
1 day10% of the total possible points subtracted from your score
2 days25% ...
3 days50% ...
4 or more days100% ...
"Turning in" a homework consists of handing it to a course staff member, putting it in their mailbox, or sliding it under their office door. In the latter two cases, email the staff member to let them know that you left a homework for them somewhere. Turning in a homework any time after the beginning of lecture, or the next day counts as one day late. The weekend counts as a single day. So, if a homework is due on Wednesday, and you turn it in the following Monday, it will count as 3 days late. We will not accept partial turn-ins, a.k.a. homeworks completed on the installment plan.

Extensions without penalty will be granted on a case-by-case basis only in case of unavoidable circumstances. Email the TAs or instructor as soon as you know that you need an extension, with a short message explaining the cause of the delay and the date on which you will turn in the assignment.

Revision: Your lowest homework grade will automatically be dropped from your total homework score before calculating final averages.


The labs are graded on a pass/fail basis. Most of the laboratory assignments involve building a circuit of some sort, either virtually with the design tools, or physically. At the end of the lab you will be asked to demonstrate your design for the TA, and perhaps answer some questions about it. If you complete the task on time, to the TA's satisfaction, you will get full credit for that lab. Completing labs late will result in partial credit according to the following schedule:
1 day0% deduction
2 days10% ...
3 days20% ...
4 days30% ...
5 days40% ...
6 or more days50% ...
Notice that the deduction is capped at 50%; this is because completing all of the labs is very important. Again, the weekend counts as a single day. If you are unable to get checked off on a particular day, because you can't find a time to meet with a TA, the late penalty applied will be based on when you are ready to get checked off, not when you actually meet with the TA.

There is one exception to the normal late lab policy. Sometimes hardware and/or CAD tools behave exceptionally badly. For example, breadboards sometimes maliciously destroy any chips placed in them. If you encounter strange situations like this, notify the TA as soon as possible. If the TA is not able to help you figure out the problem in a reasonable amount of time, them the TA has the option of giving "free" extra days to complete the lab. ActiveHDL crashing once or twice, or one or two chips not working properly do not count as exceptionally bad behavior.


There will be two in class exams and one final. They will be conventional "Do problems like the homeworks and labs"-style exams. They will emphasize more recent material, but the course is naturally quite cumulative, so you will not be able to completely forget earlier material later in the course and expect to do well on the homeworks and exams.

Makeup exams will only be given in extraordinary circumstances. If you cannot attend class on an exam day, then you can take the exam early, at a time arranged with the instructor.

Daily Quizzes

Each lecture will start with a very short, one question quiz. Finishing these quizzes should take no more than 5 minutes. They will be graded on a simple 4-level system:
 3: Complete and correct answer
 2: Reasonable answer, but not complete or completely correct
 1: Incorrect answer, but at least some appropriate work shown
 0: No answer, or some work that does not answer the question
The quizzes are intended to provide quick feedback on how well you understand the course material. If you understand the lectures and readings, the quizzes should not be difficult. I hope that the quizzes will also provide motivation for you to complain quickly if anything in lecture is unclear or confusing.

As you can see above, the total influence of the quizzes on your grade is small (approximately equivalent to one homework assignment), so you should not be terribly concerned about scoring badly or missing one or two quizzes. Absolutely no make-ups will be given for the quizzes, because we will go over the answers directly after taking them. If you have an excellent reason for not being able to make it to lecture on time on a regular basis, please talk to me.

Challenge Exercises

On homeworks, labs and exams there will be a few "challenge" exercises. These challenges are not graded like normal homeworks, labs and exams. If you do a good job on one of the challenges, I will record that fact in the grades spreadsheet. At the end of the quarter, if your "regular" grades leave you near a letter grade cut-off, having done a good job on a challenge or two, may very well boost you up to the next letter grade. I strongly recommend only spending time on the challenges if you are done with the rest of the work and find the challenge interesting.


Assignments: Unless specifically stated otherwise, we encourage collaboration on assignments, provided

  1. you spend at least 15 minutes on each and every problem alone, before discussing its general concepts with others
  2. you only discuss general concepts or related examples - not the specifics of a problem on the assignment
  3. you write up each and every problem in your own writing, using your own words, and understand the solution fully
Copying someone else's work is cheating (see below), as is copying the homework from another source (e.g., prior year's notes, etc.). The exam problems will often be similar to the assignment problems; if you truly understand the assignments, then the exams will be easy.


Cheating is a very serious offense. If you are caught cheating, you can expect a failing grade and initiation of a cheating case in the University system. Basically, cheating is an insult to the instructor, to the department and major program, and most importantly, to you and your fellow students. If you feel that you are having a problem with the material, or don't have time to finish an assignment, or have any number of other reasons to cheat, then talk with the instructor. Just don't cheat.

To avoid creating situations where copying can arise, never e-mail or post your solution files in public directories. You can post general questions about interpretation and tool use but limit your comments to these categories. If in doubt about what might constitute cheating, send the instructor e-mail describing the situation.

Academic Accommodations

If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Student Services, 448 Schmitz, 206-543-8924 (V/TTY). They will give you a letter requesting academic accommodations, and we will make every effort to provide the accommodations you might need for class.
Comments to: