Signals and Systems >> Content Detail




The information you will fill out in the Schedule Information Sheet attached at the end of this handout will be used to balance recitation sections. Note that in order to balance recitation sections, it may be necessary to reschedule some students from sections assigned by the Registrar and those which students attended on the first day of classes. Consequently, please check the schedule information prior to going to recitation.


Each week you will have a Tutorial that is taught by a TA. These Tutorials occur on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Please attend the recitation and tutorial to which you have been assigned. Balanced recitation and tutorial sizes are important, as are the opportunities for your recitation instructor and TA to get to know you.


While we have provided hard copies of the handouts for the first lecture, it is our intention to minimize the number of hardcopy handouts that you need to pick up either in lecture or in recitation. Problem sets, labs, and their solutions, as well as exam review packages, will be made available on-line through the server. We will make announcements in lecture to let you know when new handouts become available, but it is your responsibility to check the web page for new handouts to download and print and for meeting the deadlines on any assignments. Also, you can consult the detailed schedule provided in this handout for the dates on which various handouts will be made available (and the dates on which assignments are due).

Depending on circumstances, solutions to exams may either be posted on-line or handed out in lecture (we will let you know). Copies of lecture slides will be handed out in lecture and will not be available on-line. If you miss picking up a copy of the slides for any lecture, you can get a copy only from your TA.

If for any reason downloading and printing handouts is problematic for you, please contact your TA to make special arrangements.

Course Prerequisites

The prerequisite for 6.003 is 6.002. Note also that the prerequisites for 6.002 are 18.03 or 18.06. The subject matter of 6.003 focuses on some very important and broadly applicable analytical tools for signals and systems. As such, we rely on students having a basic understanding of at least one class of physical systems (circuits) and some basic facility with the mathematical techniques developed in the prerequisites on which we will build.


This course involves a number of activities, ranging from lectures, recitations and tutorials, to problem sets and computer labs, quizzes, and the final. All of these aspects of the course are intended to help you in developing your understanding of the material developed in 6.003 and in providing us with information on how you are doing. Consequently we believe that all of these activities are important, and we will pay attention to all of them when assigning grades at the end of the semester. Our intent in assigning grades is to do the best job we can in assessing both your level of achievement and mastery of the material covered in 6.003. An approximate breakdown of the weighting we will use in making this assessment is as follows:

Final Exam40%
Problem Sets, Labs, Instructor/TA Input20%

Specific details for each of these follow.

Problem Sets

For the most part, problem sets will be assigned on a weekly basis. Each will be made available on the web on the day of a lecture and collected in recitation. Due to irregularities in the schedule caused by holidays, quizzes, and vacations, some problem sets will be due on Wednesdays and some on Fridays. A detailed schedule of dates is included in the course outline and schedule included later in this handout.

These assignments are intended to provide you with practice using the ideas and concepts we will be developing and are an essential part of the process of mastering 6.003. Completing them is important to you in learning the material. Grading them is important to us in assessing how you are doing. Since we will be posting solutions to the problem sets shortly after they are due, we cannot grade problem sets that are handed in after the due date. In particular, you are expected to hand in each problem set in the recitation section to which you have been assigned on the date that the assignment is due. Unfortunately, due to abuses of the system, we can no longer allow students to drop off problem sets in the TA offices prior to 5:00pm on the due date unless you have made prior arrangements with your TA to do so. Problem sets that are handed in late will be acknowledged, but a grade of 0 will be recorded. Any student who does not complete most of the problem sets may receive an I, performance on tests and the final notwithstanding (for this purpose late homework that has been acknowledged will count as having been handed in). Solutions to each problem set will generally be made available on the day of the first lecture following the problem set due date. Solutions to problem sets due shortly before exams may be made available a bit sooner to ensure that you have them in sufficient time to prepare for the exams.

Computer Labs

During the semester there will be three MATLAB® - based assignments that are intended to complement the problem sets by providing you with a different experience in mastering and gaining an appreciation for the course material. The dates on which these will be handed out or posted on the web and the dates when they are due (in recitation) are listed in the course outline and schedule provided later in this handout. Unlike the problem sets, handing in the labs is required. Any student who does not hand in all the labs will receive an I for the course. As with problem sets, if a lab is handed in late, it will be acknowledged and counted as having been turned in but will receive a grade of 0.

The write-ups for the labs should be fairly concise. It is our hope that you will enjoy the content of the labs, since they provide you with a chance to experiment with real world problems. We, therefore, do not want to burden you with writing lengthy lab reports. However, the lab reports should include enough documentation (such as graphs, Matlab® code, brief descriptions of what you did, etc.) to let your TA know that you understood the content of the lab. The details of what exactly should be turned in will be given with each lab assignment.

In order to help you get started in using MATLAB®, we have included some basic exercises as parts of Problem Sets1 and 2. These exercises, which are taken from several sections of the Buck, Daniel, Singer MATLAB® workbook, contain introductions and tutorials on basic MATLAB® functions as well as problems that should help you familiarize yourself with using MATLAB® and prepare to complete Lab1 without difficulty or severe time pressure. As always, the TAs will be available during office hours to answer questions about these problems and any other aspects of using MATLAB®.


MATLAB® is engineering software that is very useful in manipulating, analyzing, and simulating data. Your primary access to MATLAB® will most likely be MIT Server. Be aware that some labs may involve listening to various sounds on the computer. For these labs, you should use headphones, so that you do not distract other students in the computer lab.

Note : You may access MATLAB® using the computers. Please be aware that 6.003 shares the lab with 6.002, and they will have priority during their lab weeks.

As a final method of access, some of you may want to use the student version of MATLAB® on your home computer. Further information about this and other MATLAB® products can be found at the web page of the vendor. The data files which accompany the computer exercises book may be obtained through public ftp . Note, however, that you need to obtain the data files specifically tailored to the course assignments by following the methods described in Computer Lab assignments.

Throughout the semester you will see several demos given in lecture that are generated using MATLAB®. You have access to these demos to view and use them on your own time from MIT Server.

Cooperative Work

We fully recognize the potential value of students working or studying together, and we do not have any objection to this kind of cooperation, so long as all participants are involved in all aspects of the work, not with each doing only a fraction of the assignment. In particular, when you hand in a paper with your name on it, we assume that you are certifying that the details presented are entirely your own work and that you played a substantial role at the conception stage. If part of the work was done cooperatively, that part should be indicated and the names of the students involved in the collaboration should be listed on each submitted paper.


There will be two quizzes during the semester. Students will have two hours to complete each quiz, although it is our intent to design the quizzes so that you should be able to finish each one in less than that time. All quizzes are closed book, but you will be allowed one (8.5×11) sheet of notes (both sides) for Quiz 1 and two (8.5×11) sheets of notes (both sides) for Quiz 2. Calculators are not allowed. Lectures are cancelled on the days of each quiz.

To help you in preparing for each quiz, we will handout some additional material shortly before the quiz date, we will schedule a review session, and the TA's will schedule additional office hours. Details will be announced prior to each quiz.

Final Exam

There will be a regular three-hour final examination given during the Final Examination Period. The final will cover all of the material in the subject, but may be weighted more heavily on material not covered in the two quizzes. The final exam is closed book (and, again, calculators are not allowed), but you will be allowed three (8.5×11) sheets of notes (both sides). As with the two tests, we will handout some additional material before the final, we will schedule a review session.

Class Representatives

In an effort to obtain feedback from the class, class representatives from each recitation will meet weekly with the lecturer. The names and email addresses of the class representatives will be posted so that all students can provide feedback, criticisms, suggestions, lavish praise, etc., to their class representatives or to any staff member.

Electrical Safety Information/Form

Although it is unlikely that you will need to check out or use any equipment in the lab, you are required to fill out the back sheet of the electrical safety information handout and return it so that it can be placed on file in the lab. If you have the form ready at the end of the first recitation or lecture, you can hand it in together with the information we need for scheduling recitations. If you fill it out later, you should hand it in to your TA who will make sure that it is filed in the lab.


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