BI2SP17-Signal Processing

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites: BI1MA17 Mathematics
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Sillas Hadjiloucas


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module is to introduce analogue and digital signal analysis including signal transform and representation. It is one of the most fundamental modules in the area of engineering. The module will also cover how signal processing can be used in different biomedical application areas.

By the end of the module, you will be able to choose appropriate signal processing methodologies for a given biomedical engineering application and be able to calculate how the output signals sensors produce can be de-noised and represented with few parameters in a parsimonious manner. Furthermore, you will understand how to model dynamic processes encountered in biomedical engineering. The module consists of lectures reinforced by laboratory practicals.

This module aims to introduce how Fourier and Laplace transform techniques can be used to describe and analyse signals. This module also introduces the topic of Digital Signal Processing (DSP).

Assessable learning outcomes:

An ability to apply fundamental concepts to describe and analyse signals in both the time and frequency domains. An ability to process signals in both the analogue and digital domains as well as describe the structure of a classical DSP system and the application of Laplace transforms and DSP to model processes encountered in biomedical engineering. Ability to solve biomedical engineering signal processing problems using Laplace transforms and Fourier theory. Ability to manipulate difference equations and Z-transforms of systems in order to find the impulse and frequency response of systems. An ability to use design tools to design filters and systems with similar responses in the time or frequency domain.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
Laplace transforms, inverse Laplace transforms and their application to the solution of differential equations. Linear systems, random noise and its properties. Autocorrelation, correlation, convolution and their properties. Fourier series, application to simple waveforms, complex form and applications. Convolution Theorem. Theory and properties of Fourier Transforms, and their applications including autocorrelation, power spectrum, convolution, frequency domain, sampling theory and Nyquist theorem Application of differential equations to problems in Biology.
Analogue, Discrete and Digital representations of signals. Digital functions (Dirac Delta, Kronecker Delta, Unit Step). Zero order sample and hold. Conversion from discrete to digital, overview of ADC and DAC. Digitization error and noise power. Generalized DSP systems. Discrete impulse response. Stability and causality.
Characterization and DSP tools: Difference Equations (for finite impulse response (FIR) and infinite impulse response (IIR)), The Z-transform, wavelet transforms. Designing filter systems, Discrete Fourier transform (DFT), Brief overview of Current DSP Processors. Applications to modelling the dynamics of biological processes.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module comprises 2 lectures per week, associated laboratory practicals, and some revision tutorials. Laboratory practicals are used to reinforce the relevant lectures.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 20
Tutorials 10
Practicals classes and workshops 12 12
Guided independent study 68 68
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Practical skills assessment 10
Set exercise 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One two-hour examination paper contributing 70% of the total assessment of the module.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Number and length of assignments and in-class tests, and submission date for each assignment  One assignment, Friday on the first week of Spring term

Three three-hour laboratory practical reports, each contributing 10% of the total assessment of the module. Submission dates throughout the Autumn/Spring terms depending on the scheduling of laboratory practical sessions for individual students.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Examination only.
    One 2-hour examination paper in August/September.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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