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A Jitter Education: An Assessment Of The Freshman Jitter Intro

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Electromechanical Capstone and Design Projects in ET

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.52.1 - 12.52.12



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Paper Authors


Gene Harding Purdue University

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GENE L. HARDING is an assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology at Purdue University. He worked with logic analyzers and oscilloscopes for three years at Agilent Technologies, and has over 21 years of experience with the U.S. Air Force doing technical research, electronic warfare, wide- and metropolitan-area computer network management, technical intelligence analysis, and missile warning system software support. He holds MSEE and BSEE degrees from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Jitter Education: An Assessment of the Freshman Jitter Intro Abstract

This is the third in a series of papers addressing jitter analysis education in the Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) curriculum. The first paper, “A Jitter Education: Finding a Place for Jitter Analysis in the EET Curriculum,” described the basic types of jitter, their underlying causes, jitter measurements and displays (two related but distinctly different topics), and proposed a spiral approach to incorporate jitter analysis into a four-year EET curriculum.1 The second paper, “A Jitter Education: An Introduction to Timing Jitter for the Freshman,” explained how to introduce the subject of timing jitter to a first-year EET student, as well as how Purdue University’s freshman curriculum lays a good foundation for understanding some jitter basics.2 The focus of this installment is an assessment of the performance turned in by a “test class” of freshmen after an introduction to timing jitter in their second-semester digital electronics course.


The following excerpt, taken from the second paper in this series, applies equally well here.

“For the purpose of this paper, timing jitter is defined as ‘the phenomenon seen when a digital waveform’s transition appears before or after the expected time.’1 When jitter displaces the signal’s transition so much that it happens in an adjacent clock cycle, the result is a data error on the bus. Because of the high speeds…of today’s systems, jitter that used to be negligible is now very significant, and can prevent a system from working correctly.1 Today’s designers need the ability to analyze jitter, trace its root cause(s), and mitigate or eliminate the cause(s).

In order to effectively analyze jitter, one must understand its nature, the various measurements, how those measurements can be displayed, and the tools used to do the measurement and display. The first section provides a brief review of these jitter topics. For a more detailed discussion, see the first paper in this series and its source references.1

The premise of this series of papers is that it is preferable to teach jitter analysis a little at a time, in several courses, as students progress through their undergraduate curriculum. Given that approach, several topics are appropriate to work into one or more first-year courses, in order to lay a foundation for a more in-depth treatment in later years. The basis for this discussion will be the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology (ECET) curriculum at Purdue’s College of Technology. Jitter analysis fits within Purdue’s ECET program objective outcome 3.1: Analyze, design, and implement electronic systems using control, communication, computer, or power systems.” 2

Harding, G. (2007, June), A Jitter Education: An Assessment Of The Freshman Jitter Intro Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2078

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