Signals and Systems

Subject ELEN30012 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

July, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 06-Jul-2015 to 31-Jul-2015
Assessment Period End 07-Aug-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 10-Jul-2015
Census Date 17-Jul-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 24-Jul-2015

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours of lectures (3 one hour lectures per week) and up to 24 hours of workshops
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


Prerequisites for this subject are

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:


either of the following subjects

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
Summer Term, Semester 1, Semester 2


Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2


Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:


Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:


  • BMEN20001 is a suitable alternative to COMP20005 or COMP20007 for students enrolled in the B-SCI or the B-BMED undertaking a major in Bioengineering Systems.
  • COMP20005 Engineering Computation may be taken concurrently.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Knowledge of the following subjects is recommended

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Non Allowed Subjects:

431-221 Fundamentals of Signals and Systems

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Robert Schmid



Subject Overview:


The aim of this subject is twofold: firstly, to develop an understanding of the fundamental tools and concepts used in the analysis of signals and the analysis and design of linear time-invariant systems path in continuous–time and discrete- time; secondly, to develop an understanding of their application in a broad range of areas, including electrical networks, telecommunications, signal-processing and automatic control.

The subject formally introduces the fundamental mathematical techniques that underpin the analysis and design of electrical networks, telecommunication systems, signal-processing systems and automatic control systems. Such systems lie at the heart of the electrical engineering technologies that underpin modern society. This subject is one of four that define the Electrical System Major in the Bachelor of Science and it is a core requirement in the Master of Engineering (Electrical). It provides the foundation for various subsequent subjects, including ELEN90057 Communication Systems, ELEN90058 Signal Processing and ELEN90055 Control Systems.


Topics include:
Signals – continuously and discretely indexed signals, important signal types, frequency-domain analysis (Fourier, Laplace and Z transforms), nonlinear transformations and harmonics, sampling;

Systems – viewing differential / difference equations as systems that process signals, the notions of input, output and internal signals, block diagrams (series, parallel and feedback connections), properties of input-output models (causality, delay, stability, gain, shift-invariance, linearity), transient and steady state behaviour;

Linear time-invariant systems – continuous and discrete impulse response; convolution operation, transfer functions and frequency response, time-domain interpretation of stable and unstable poles and zeros, state-space models (construction from high-order ODEs, canonical forms, state transformations and stability), and the discretisation of models for systems of continuously indexed signals.

This material is complemented by exposure to the use of MATLAB for computation and simulation and examples from diverse areas including electrical engineering, biology, population dynamics and economics.

Learning Outcomes:


Having completed this subject it is expected that the student be able to:

  1. Apply fundamental mathematical tools to model, analyse and design signals and systems in both time-domain and frequency-domain
  2. Recognise the broad applicability of the mathematics of signals and systems theory, particularly within electrical engineering
  3. Recognize the similarities and differences between the mathematical tools needed for dealing with continuous-time systems/signals versus their discrete-time counterparts
  4. Use MATLAB to study the behaviour of signals and systems as they arise in a variety of contexts.
  • One written examination, not exceeding three hours at the end of semester, worth 60%;
  • Continuous assessment, consisting of project work and assignments, not exceeding 30 pages in total over the semester (approximately 30-35 hours per student), worth 30%;
  • A one hour mid-semester test, worth 10%.

Hurdle requirement: Students must pass the written exam to pass the subject.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) 1-3 are assessed in the final written examination, the mid-semester test, assignments and workshop project reports. ILO 4 is assessed as part of the workshop project reports.

Prescribed Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Ability to apply knowledge of basic science and engineering fundamentals
  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution
  • Ability to utilise a systems approach to design and operational performance
  • Ability to communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large
  • Capacity for independent critical thought, rational inquiry and self-directed learning
  • Expectation of the need to undertake lifelong learning, capacity to do so.


The subject is delivered through lectures and workshop classes that combine both theoretical tutorial and MATLAB programming activities.


Students are provided with lecture slides, lecture notes, practice worksheets and answers, a workshop manual and reference text lists.


Exposure to industry applications via guest lecturers.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: B-ENG Electrical Engineering stream
Bioengineering Systems
Electrical Systems
Master of Engineering (Electrical with Business)
Master of Engineering (Electrical)
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG.
Selective subjects for B-BMED

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