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ZUG3026 – Signal processing

Undergraduate – Module

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this module is offered.


Business, Engineering and Technology


South Africa
On-campus block of classes

  • Semester 2, 2020 (Mainstream Programme)
  • Semester 2, 2021 (Extended Programme)

12 credits, NQF Level 7


The principal aim of this module is to provide students with the theoretical fundamental of signal processing, and to expose them to some of the application areas. Signal processing plays an extremely important and continually growing role in a wide variety of engineering systems. Furthermore, technology and algorithms for signal processing continue to develop rapidly. While only a short time ago signal processing systems were predominantly analogue, integrated circuit technology has made digital signal processing often preferable and more cost-effective.


On completion of the module, students will be expected to be able to:

1Represent discrete-time signals and systems, both in time and frequency
domains and converts between the different domains for discrete-time signals (z-plane, h[n], DFS, DFT, etc.).
2Critically discuss, Identify and classify  Discrete-time Fourier transformers, Z-transforms, wavelet and other joint time frequency transforms, and their applications
3Describe the implications of a signal/system representation in any of the above-mentioned domains.
4Use signal processing for filtering applications
5Understand and apply the deterministic auto and cross-correlation relationships between the input and output signals of an LTI system, for example to detect a signal hidden by noise and to identify a system.
6Understand how the multiplication of FFTs leads to circular convolution and how to linearize this by explain the concepts/ structure of time-frequency duality.
7Design, Develop and Calculate IFFTs, FFTs of two real N-point sequences as well as the FFT of a 2N-point sequence using a single N-point FFT.
8Implement the above-mentioned techniques by means of computer programs and development boards


Coursework assessment: 40%
Final Examination: 60%

Workload requirements

This module is an introduction to the basic concepts and theory of signal processing. The background assumed is calculus, experience in manipulating complex numbers, and some exposure to differential equations. Prior exposure to the fundamentals of circuits for electrical engineers is helpful but not essential.

Both for pedagogical reasons and as a reflection of the nature of modern signal processing systems, the concepts associated with continuous-time and with discrete-time signals and systems are treated together in a closely coordinated way. Among other things, this approach emphasizes both the similarities and the differences in the two classes of systems. There will be a combination of lectures that include interactive elements, practical assignments to include application aspects of embedded DSP device using a development board, tutorials in which students will do individual work (self-assessments; reflecting on learning aspects), group work (PowerPoint presentations on aspects of the module, role-play and group discussions), Moodle, for sharing learning aids, to help students test their own knowledge through informal quizzes, and to administer short formal tests, and Flipped Classroom approach for aspects of the course. All outcomes will be assessed by means of tutorial work, laboratory, class tests and a final examination.

Chief examiner(s)





Signals & Systems