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IL2203 Digital Design and Validation using Hardware Description Languages 9.0 credits

The course gives foundational knowledge in Design, Modelling and Validation of Digital Systems with the hardware description languages VHDL and Verilog/System Verilog with the help of common design tools (EDA-tools) used in industry. The target technology is foremost FPGAs. FPGA = Field Programmable Gate Array ASIC = Application Specific Integrated Circuit EDA = Electronic Design Automation.

Course offerings are missing for current or upcoming semesters.
Headings with content from the Course syllabus IL2203 (Autumn 2021–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

  • Introduction to hardware description languages
  • Introduction to general system design flow and implementation techniques; FPGAs versus ASICs
  • Modelling of digital systems by means of VHDL
  • Construction and analysis of combinatorial and sequential components
  • Asynchronous and synchronous state machines
  • The subset of VHDL that can be synthesized
  • Introduction to synthesis methodology
  • Synthesis for FPGAs
  • Microcontrollers/processors and data buses
  • Introduction to Verilog and SystemVerilog
  • Validation methods for embedded digital systems: Validation versus verification, randomised stimuli and constraints, code coverage, test coverage, regression test

Intended learning outcomes

After a passed course, the student should be able to

  • use hardware description languages to model digital hardware
  • mention and explain the different stages in the design flow for digital hardware
  • point out the subset of a hardware description language that can be synthesized
  • describe differences between the most common hardware description languages
  • describe different architectures for digital hardware implementation
  • design and validate digital hardware that is implemented on an FPGA
  • explain the fundamental functionality of a hardware description language for modelling and validation of digital hardware
  • use typical design and validation methods for combinatorial circuits, asynchronous and synchronous state machines and bus structures
  • describe the different validation stages of digital hardware.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

  • Basic digital technology equivalent to IE1204 Digital Design.
  • Basic knowledge of the structure of microprocessors and instruction execution equivalent to IS1200 Division of Computer Systems, basic course.
  • Basic knowledge of electric circuits equivalent to either IE1206 Embedded electronics, or EI1110 Electrical Circuit Analysis, Extended Course

Recommended prerequisites

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Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • LAB1 - Laboratory work, 3.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • LAB2 - Laboratory work, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • SEM1 - Seminars, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Written exam, 3.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course room in Canvas

Registered students find further information about the implementation of the course in the course room in Canvas. A link to the course room can be found under the tab Studies in the Personal menu at the start of the course.

Offered by

Main field of study

Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

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Supplementary information

Replaced by IL2234 from HT23.