ELE 301: Signals and Systems

Prof. Paul Cuff, Princeton University, Fall Semester 2011-12.

Course Description

This course focuses on analyzing signals (sound, voltage, communication transmissions, pressure, images, etc.) and the systems that act on them (circuits, physical echos, mechanical dynamics, modulation, etc.). We concentrate on the Fourier transform and linear-time invariant systems, providing a depth of tools for sampling, manipulating, preserving, and interpreting information signals. The course also has a weekly lab component which includes building a “Shazam” music identification system and controlling an inverted pendulum.


  • linear time-invariant systems

  • Fourier, Laplace, and Z-transforms

  • system stability and design

  • signal analysis

  • sampling and modulation

  • (possibly) wavelet transforms and principle component analysis

Labs include “Shazam” and inverted pendulum

Teaching Staff


Prof. Paul Cuff
Office location: B-316 E-quad
Office hours: T/Th 3-4pm (after the lectures).

Teaching Assistants

David Eis

  • Office Hours: F-115, Tuesdays, 5:30-6:30pm

Curt Schieler

  • Office Hours: F-115, Wednesdays, 4:30-5:30pm

Eva Song

  • Office Hours: F-115, Wednesdays, 3:30-4:30pm


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

Time and Location


J-201 (in the J-wing of the E-quad)
T/Th 1:30-2:50pm


Monday or Tuesday: 7:30pm-10:20pm

Required Text

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

Picture of Textbook 


Matlab will be used in each of the labs for this course. Please consider attending the Matlab short course on Sept. 19-20.


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. The quicker you begin asking questions on Piazza (rather than via individual emails to a classmate or one of us), the quicker you'll benefit from the collective knowledge of your classmates and instructors. 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 in Piazza (www.piazza.com) by visiting their website. Click “enroll now” and select “Princeton University,” then search for “ELE 301.”


Blackboard will only be used for communicating grades on assignments and exams and for distributing solutions (not intended for the eyes of future students).