EE 279 – Introduction to Digital Communication

Course Information


Lectures are on Mondays and Wednesdays 12:50–2:05 pm in TBA, problem sessions time and place TBA.


Digital communication is a rather unique field in engineering in which theoretical ideas have had an extraordinary impact on the design of actual systems. The course provides a basic understanding of the analysis and design of digital communication systems, building on various ideas from probability theory, stochastic processes, linear algebra and Fourier analysis.

Topics include:

  • Detection and probability of error for binary and M-ary signals (PAM, QAM, PSK etc.)

  • Receiver design and sufficient statistics,

  • Controlling the spectrum and the Nyquist criterion

  • Bandpass communication and up/down conversion

  • Design trade-offs: rate, bandwidth, power and error probability

  • Coding and decoding (convolutional coding and Viterbi decoding).


The main text is ‘‘Principles Of Digital Communications: A Top-Down Approach’’ by Bixio Rimoldi. This is a textbook in preparation and will be available electronically to registered students. The following books have been reserved in the Engineering Library for supplemental reading.

  • Digital Communications by J. Proakis

  • Principles of Digital Communication by Gallager

  • A Foundation in Digital Communication by Lapidoth

  • Digital Communication by Lee, Messerschmitt


Basic Probability and Stochastic Processes (EE178, EE179, EE278B or equivalent), Linear Systems and Fourier transform (EE102A or EE261) and Linear Algebra (EE263 or equivalent).

Course requirements

  • Weekly homework
    Assigned each Wednesday and due the following Wednesday before 12:30 PM.

  • Midterm examination
    Date: February 12, 2014 in class. Closed book/notes except for one sheet of personal notes (double sided A4).

  • Final examination
    Date: Announced on Registrar's website. No make-up finals allowed. Please talk to us now if there is a possible clash.


  • Homework: 30%

  • Midterm examination: 30%

  • Final examination: 40%