6.331 (H) Advanced Circuit Techniques

Becoming One With the Transistor
(4.8 14.5 12.5)

Lecturer: J. Roberge
Next Term: Not Offered
Lecturer's Rating: 6.0/7.0
Prerequisites: 6.301, 6.302, real-world experience, time
Response rate: 8 out of 8
Difficulty: 6.0/7.0
Overall Rating: 6.2/7.0
Term Evaluated: Spring 98

Lecturer's Comments:

This class covers circuit design from an advanced point of view. 6.331 extensively uses examples to teach the material. Students should enjoy the material and be prepared to keep up with the work load. This class should be taken by those who want a career in circuit and/or feedback system design. 6.331 is not a required EE subject.

Students should always start a design problem assuming that it can be done. The first design attempt should be close to the final design. Students should not design in a hurry and then try to beat the project to death in the laboratory.

6.331 is a design class which covers a wide range of analog electronic circuits. Topics include analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters, power converters, phase-locked loops, and oscillators. Students taking the class (all of whom were Course VI seniors or graduate students) enjoyed the class as it provided good examples of real world circuits and helped develop solid problem-solving techniques for analog design. All students felt that there was a good balance between application and theory, though a few mentioned that they would have preferred that more time be spent discussing RF design. In general, students wished that more topics were discussed in less detail.

Student take 6.331 to develop good design skills. One student said that he took the class because it has "the best professor in analog circuit design." Be warned, however, that the class is strong in design, so students warn not to take another very time-consuming class concurrently.

All students found lecturer J. Roberge very knowledgeable, clear, well-paced, and friendly. One student suggested that his handouts should provide more explanations, and another disliked the fact that Roberge does not solicit questions during class, thus restricting interaction. On the whole, however, students considered J. Roberge to be a great lecturer.

Recitation Instructor K. Lundberg was very clear and organized. He taught material relevant to completing the assignments, and answered questions well. He was a difficult instructor as he adhered to the "sink-or-swim" style of teaching: he does not provide much help outside of class. One student feels that K. Lundberg is overworked as he is also the recitation instructor for 6.301 which may account the lack of availability outside of class.

Problem sets in 6.331 were challenging but very educational. An average problem set took 11 hours to complete, 70% of which was challenging, 20% grunge, and 10% utter frustration. Feelings about collaboration on problem sets were mixed. While some felt that collaboration was absolutely essential in completing the problem sets, others said that they were not too difficult and can be done independently. All students agree that bibles should not be used to complete problem sets.

Labs were considered to be excellent tools for learning the material. Students did mention that the specifications are very difficult to meet and that the labs are very time consuming, sometimes taking as long as 30 hours to complete. Of the time spent doing the labs, 70% was challenging work, 20% was mindless grunge, and 10% was utter frustration.

There is no required text for 6.331, but handouts are often taken from one of J. Roberge's old texts. One student commented that the notes were so good, he wondered why the book had gone out of print. Another student commented that one of the suggested texts by Grebene was a very useful tool.

A grade distribution was not provided, but there are no exams in 6.331. The entire grade is based upon performance on labs and problem sets.

"Be sure to have a blank schedule when taking this class."

"I will now lead a lascivious life because I no longer feel like hell."

Dated: June 1, 1998
Eta Kappa Nu, MIT