Year 2 Sem 1

Year 1 passes and Year 2 arrives. You will be invited to attend a Year 2 briefing by the course coordinators. Mostly the same information but now reminding students to think about electives. The major warning they give is that Year 2 is very hard. Now it’s already Year 2 Sem 2 but I think it is okay so far.

EE2020 – Digital Fundamentals (I was taught by Prof Akash Kumar and Prof Ashraf Kassim)
This module introduces digital fundamentals in two parts. Part 1 is basics of boolean algebra, logic gates, logic circuits and MSI elements. This should be easy if you paid attention in part 2 of CG1108. Part 2 is VHDL programming. You will learn VHDL programming and how to simulate circuit designs using VHDL language on the Xilinx IDE. As part of VHDL, you will learn about flip-flops and clocked devices. This module has lab and in the lab you will have a component that will be a VHDL test. Not a problem if you know the VHDL programming concepts well. The other lab component is digital logic ‘problem-solving’ using 74-series packaged ICs which can be quite difficult. On a side note, Xilinx was the first fab-less company in the semi-conductor industry. (Fab-less means they only design their chips and outsource the production to another company.) The Xilin package is a whooping 12GB but don’t delete the installation after the semester. You will have to use VHDL in future semesters.

EE2021 – Devices and Circuits (I was taught by Prof Tan Leng Seow and Prof Heng Chun Huat)
Here you will learn two different areas which were originally two different and very difficult modules. The devices component taught by Dr Tan covers the PN-junction, Diode, BJT and MOSFET devices and the maths behind it. (Yes, you better remember MA1506 Chapter 1 on differential equations) Part 2 taught by Dr Heng covers circuits, BJT and MOSFET circuit characteristics and its applications in amplifiers. Basically the part by Dr Heng will teach most of the things you will need to know on amplifiers. No lab, but the theory alone in both parts are remarkably difficult until Prof Heng starts teaching the ‘short-cut, refer to table, ignore resistors, ignore 10% error methods’ that will speed up circuit analysis.

CG2271 – Real-Time Operating Systems (Good ‘ole Colin Tan)
A simple module really. It teaches basic computer architecture and focuses on real-time systems. It’s a breadth for embedded systems. Tied up with the lab, you will be programming ‘bare-metal’ C programming on an Arduino board. For my semester, Arduino was the first time being used and he said that the project could be finished in one week. At the end of the semester, after more than 4 weeks since release, we were all still struggling with it… Turns out that some assembly programming was needed. Embedded systems are fun. Go look up Imperial March on Floppies on youtube. Controlled using the Arduino. I could not complete the exam but ended with a very good grade. That’s how difficult it is. The Arduino is programmed using the Atmel AVR Studio IDE. It’s a IDE using a Visual Studio 2010 shell so the interface will be familiar to you.

ACC1002X – Financial Accounting (This sem was by Elaine Tan and Dr Zhang Weining)
I felt that this module was somewhat useful to get an understanding of Financial Reports. The take-away knowledge behind this module if you are not planning to major in Accounting is how to read company financial statements. However, the apparent bell-curve is very steep. It is really no use getting full marks for the mid-terms when everyone else also averaged 29/30 marks. The final exam was also disastrously straightforward if you studied well. I guess the determining factor for the final grade was the project in which you had to digest a given company’s financial report and answer questions. Not happy with my grade for this one.

GEK1045 – Introduction to World Religion
Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism. The module looks at the beliefs and practices of these religions in a non-ideological way. Instead it focuses on the history and classification as well as how these religions are intertwined with history and culture of their respective followings. You will do one essay on a new and emerging religion (controversial) for the term paper. There is IVLE forum participation. The final exam is the standard essay writing type. Look up past year exam papers for practice questions.

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