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Implementing a Signal Integrity Course in Undergraduate Education

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Aldo Morales Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg

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Dr. Aldo Morales was born in Tacna, Peru. Dr. Morales earned his B.S. in Electronic Engineering, with distinction, from Northern University (now University of Tarapaca), Arica, Chile. He has an M.Sc. Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from University of Buffalo, The State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY. Currently, he is a professor of electrical Engineering at Penn State Harrisburg. Dr. Morales was the PI for a 3-year Ben Franklin Technology Partners Grant that established the “Center of Excellence in Signal Integrity” at Penn State Harrisburg. He was a co-author for the Best Poster Paper Award at the IEEE International Conference on Consumer Electronics 2007, Las Vegas, Nevada, for the paper "Transmitter Pre-emphasis and Adaptive Receiver Equalization for Duobinary Signaling in Backplane Channels''. In addition, of Best Paper Award at the IEEE Asia Pacific Conference on Circuits and Systems 96, Seoul, Korea, for the paper "Basis Matrix Representation of Morphological Filters with N-Dimensional Structuring Elements''.

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Sedig Salem Agili Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg

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Sedig S. Agili received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Marquette University in 1986, 1989, and 1996, respectively. Currently he is a Professor of Electrical Engineering teaching and conducting research in signal integrity of high-speed electrical interconnects, electronic communications, and fiber optic communications. He has authored numerous research articles which have been published in reputable peer refereed journals and conference proceedings. He is the Co-director for The Center of Excellence in Signal Integrity at Penn State Harrisburg. He was honored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) with Best paper award at the IEEE International Conference on Consumer Electronics 2007, Las Vegas, Nevada, for the paper " Transmitter Pre-emphasis and Adaptive Receiver Equalization for Duobinary Signaling in Backplane Channels.'' He was also honored by DesignCon for 2013 Best Paper Award Finalist, for the paper “A Rapid Prototyping of FPGA - Based Duobinary Transmitter/Receiver for High Speed Electrical Backplane Transmission,” Santa Clara, CA, January 2013. He received the 2010 Technical Achievement Award from the Central Pennsylvania Engineers Week Council. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and a full member of Sigma Xi.

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Signal integrity has been identified as one of the key areas for scientific education and research at the national level. Nationally, few universities offer courses in signal integrity (SI), and there are none in the immediate area. Therefore, there is critical need for signal integrity training and support. This is especially important in the Harrisburg metropolitan area given the high concentration of electrical connector companies.

In this paper, the authors describe the implementation of a signal integrity course that include up-to-date topics, modern laboratory experiences and speakers from industrial settings. The topics include: basics of simulation tools to visualize time and frequency domain signals as well as transmission line modeling using PSPICE; introducing a Time Domain Reflectometer as a fundamental tool in signal integrity; crosstalk, including practical examples of where and how it occurs. The following topic is using a Vector Network Analyzer (VNA): this is another critical instrument used by the signal integrity community. The use of this equipment will require to perform the following tasks: calibration, frequency range setup, average setup, and collection of S-parameter data using a VNA. Another critical topic is to understand digital communication channel behavior by observing an eye diagram, including how to obtain and analyze an eye diagram using a modern Bit Error Rate Tester. In addition, a high frequency structural simulator is used to obtain S-parameters for different communication structures. Finally, the authors invited guest speakers from industry nearby to talk about practical applications in the SI field. The expected outcome is to produce graduates with hands-on signal integrity experience, who will transfer to the workplace with competitive skills and who will be positioned to extend their academic goals in graduate school.

The authors will also make the course content available to other programs, universities and nearby community colleges. Moreover, the authors intend to align signal integrity course with the extensive electrical connector business in the Central Pennsylvania.

The Authors thanks National Science Foundation award 1429941 for their support.

Morales, A., & Agili, S. S. (2017, June), Implementing a Signal Integrity Course in Undergraduate Education Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28478

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