ELE 201: Information Signals

Prof. Paul Cuff, Princeton University, Spring Semester 2014-15.

Course Description

Signals that carry information play a central role in technology and engineering — signals ranging from sound and images to sensors, radar, communication, MRI, ultrasound, touch-screens, GPS, and robotic control. This course teaches mathematical tools to analyze, manipulate, dissect, and preserve information signals. We discuss how continuous signals can be perfectly represented through sampling (Nyquist theorem), which leads to the use of digital signals. A major focus of the course is the Fourier transform — how, when, and why to use it. We also study linear time-invariant systems, modulation, quantization, and stability (using the related Laplace transform and z-transform). The learning is applied in design projects using Matlab, such as a “Shazam” music identification system.

(registrar course listing)


  • transforms for signal analysis (Fourier in particular)

  • convolution

  • linear time-invariant systems

  • filtering and signal processing

  • sampling and modulation

  • compression and error-correction

  • stability


  • Shazam music-identification system

  • MP3 audio compression

Lecture Videos

Lecture notes can be found in the lecture schedule.

Notes and lecture videos from 2014

Teaching Staff


Prof. Paul Cuff
Office location: B-316 E-quad
Office hours: Wednesdays 10-11am

Teaching Assistants

  • Burcin Cakir

  • Xinyu He

  • Sai Satpathy

  • Tiance Wang

Please use Piazza for communication with the teaching staff. See the explanation below on this page.

Time and Location


Room: Friend 008
MWF 9-9:50am

Lab Sessions

Monday: 1:30-4:20pm
Monday: 7:30-10:20pm
Tuesday: 7:30-10:20pm
Wednesday: 1:30-4:20pm

Office Hours

Wednesday: 10-11am (Prof. Cuff in B-316 E-Quad)
Thursday: 4:30-5:30pm (TA in F-110 E-Quad)


The following textbook is required:

Signals and Systems, second edition. Oppenheim and Willsky with Nawab.

Picture of Textbook 

Also, course notes provided by Prof. Kulkarni are available online.


Matlab will be used in each of the labs for this course. We don't assume that you have used Matlab before. The first few labs will be introductory.


Please use Piazza (www.piazza.com) for all electronic communications with the teaching staff rather than email. This approach should help you obtain answers speedily. Piazza is a question-and-answer platform specifically designed to get you answers fast. They support LaTeX, code formatting, embedding of images, and attaching of files. We encourage you to ask questions when you're struggling to understand a concept – you can even do so anonymously.

Announcement will be sent to the class using Piazza. All enrolled students should create an account with Piazza (www.piazza.com) by visiting their website. Click “enroll now” and select “Princeton University,” then search for “ELE 201.” Alternatively, this link should take you right there.


Blackboard will only be used for communicating grades on assignments and exams and for distributing solutions (not intended for the eyes of future students). The lab door code can also be found in the Blackboard announcements.