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Course Description

    This course provides an overview of the development of systems in computer engineering; primarily through hands-on design experiences and development of professional skills. The course provides information about the principles, methods and skills that are essential to engineering design. It investigates the concept of a life-cycle, nature of life-cycle models, and phases of typical life-cycles. The topics covered include quality issues, process, issue of teams, team selection, roles in teams, elements of teamwork, selection of support tools, standards, technologies, techniques and approaches associated with the different phases, special problems of design and the issues associated with tradeoffs, special problems of hardware/software tradeoffs, testing,  and project management.



    The course introduces students to the concepts and design process central to the development of modern computing systems by taking into account such dimensions as the management life cycle of a product (or service, or system) from beginning to end (operations, performance, test, manufacturing, cost, schedule, support, and disposal) with an emphasis on the integration among hardware and software components. The class meets 3 hours per week for lecture sessions.


    The course satisfies the computer engineering program outcomes a, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, m and k. These relationships are indicated in the course specific outcomes.  It contributes to both professional component and computer engineering program outcomes at varying degrees. The contribution degree is described below.


Contribution to the Professional Component

Contribution to Program Outcomes

0%  Math and Basic Sciences

75%  Engineering Topics
25%  General Education


Strong: (c), (d), (e), (f), (m)

Average: (a), (g), (h), (i), (j), (k)



Specific Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Understand the elements of systems life cycle and the iterative nature of design process [Program outcomes: a, c, h].
  2. Recognize and explain the possible interdisciplinary nature associated with the development of the range of computer-based systems [Program outcomes: h, i, j].
  3. Recognize the need for a disciplined approach to system development [Program outcomes: k, m].
  4. Apply one of a range of techniques to elicit and then describe the requirements for a particular system [Program outcomes: a, e, m].
  5. Create a high quality specification of a given system [Program outcomes: c, e, g, m].
  6. Select and implement an appropriate design approach for a range of possible applications [Program outcomes: a, e, m].
  7. Recognize the range of tests appropriate for each stage of the systems life-cycle [Program outcomes: a, c, e, m].
  8. Recognize and apply mechanisms that ensure maintainability of computer systems [Program outcomes: a, e, m].
  9. Demonstrate the ability to function in a team, and awareness of professional and ethical responsibility in the design of a system [Program outcomes: d, f].
  10. Understand and acquire the skills required for managing a project throughout its life-cycle [Program outcomes: f, k].
  11. Understand the process for executing the capstone design project at computer engineering department, Kuwait University and use the templates and rubrics associated with it.



    • ENGR-209: Engineering Economy

           Students must be familiar with the basics of engineering economics.

    • CpE-210: Computer Ethics and Professional Practice

           Students must be familiar with the ethical and professional issues in computing.

    • CpE-221: Introduction to Software Engineering

           Students must be familiar with software development cycle.

    • CpE-363: Introduction to Embedded Systems

           Students must be familiar with the software model of a processor and its instruction set, and be able to write programs in assembly language.

    Required Textbooks:

    “Design for Electrical and Computer Engineers”, by Ralph M. Ford & Chris S. Coulston, McGraw Hill, 2008

    “Software Engineering”, by Kassem A. Saleh, J. Ross Publishing, 2009.


    Reference Textbooks:




    Students are required to complete both individual and teamwork. In order to have a smooth learning experience, good time management skills are needed. If you face any time management issues, please let the instructor know and you will be provided with proper advice and references.


    Coursework in this class will be of the following categories: readings, homework, exams, CpE-495 project presentations reviews and the team formation, proposal and requirements phases of the capstone design project.



        Students are expected to read the assigned material before the related topic is presented in class. It is mandatory that students complete the required reading assignment to enhance their understanding of the material during lectures.



       Students are assigned problem sets either individually or in a team, and are required to turn in at, or before, the beginning of the lectures. Points are deducted for late submissions. While students are encouraged to collaborate when solving homework assignments, their solutions are written separately, with clear acknowledgement of all sources (e.g. classmates, WWW, etc.).


    Midterm Examination

    A closed-book midterm exam will be held on [month day, year].


    Final Examination

    A closed-book final exam will be held on [ month day, year.  (Start time – Finish time) ].


    Presentations Reviews

    Students are required to attend and write a review on [specified number] of CpE-495 final presentations.


    Capstone Design Project

        The phases of developing a computer system are illustrated in Figure 1. CpE-395 covers the first three phases in the development cycle, namely, the team formation, proposal and requirement preparation. See the Capstone Design Project Description for details.



    Tool Usage

    The following list of tools is used to support the course material and coursework.



    Requirements Analysis

    Rational RequisitePro, Rational Requirements Composer

    Project Schedule

    MS Project

    Model Drawing

    Rational Software Modeler, Visio

    Testing Tool

    Rational Systems Tester




    Administrative Polices

    Grading policy


    8 %

    Midterm exam

    10 %

    Final exam

    25 %


    54 %

    CpE-495 Project Presentations Evaluations



    Late policy

    [To be completed]


    Plagiarism and collaboration policy

    [To be completed]


    Lectures Policy

    Students are expected to attend the lectures, and failure to attend more than 6 lectures will result in receiving FA.



    Topics and Readings



    Life Cycle of a Product (2 hrs)

    -   Computer engineering project types and nature

    - Product life cycle and activities common to computer engineering projects

    Chapter 2 (Saleh)

    Teamwork (5 hrs)

       Characteristics of effective teams

       Team development stages

       Team members’ roles

       Team contract

       Team meetings

       Conflict resolution

    Chapter 9 (Ford)

    Project Management (7 hrs)

       Organizing teams

       Scheduling tasks

       Monitoring progress

       Reporting status of projects

       Quality assurance

       People Management

    Chapter 10 (Ford)

    Capstone Design Project (3 hrs)


       Using templates

       Understanding and using rubrics

       Rules and regulations

       Selection of support tools, standards and technologies

       Journal preparation

       Case study

    Engineering Analysis and Specification (5 hrs)

       The role of analysis

       The analysis process

    Chapter 3-4 (Saleh)

    Design Process (7 hrs)

       Design concepts

       Design process

       Design tools (Design Journals, Rapid Prototyping)

       Design tradeoffs

    Chapter 1- 6 (Ford)

    Testing (6 hrs)

       Validation and verification

       Testing Issues

       Unit Testing

       Integration Testing

       Test Planning

       Automated Testing Tools

    Chapter 7 (Ford)


    Chapter 8 (Saleh)

    Professional Skills (4 hrs)


       Oral presentations


       Professional ethics

    Chapter 11-12 (Ford)

    Case Studies (2 hrs)



    CpE department has won several awards

     Our "Undergraduate Computer Engineering Program" is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET

     Our CpE website had achieved the 1st place in His Highness Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah Informatics Award for the year 2010

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