Posted in 2015

Blog 4: Time for well-deserved holidays :)

Hi guys (so fancy, this bold part),

I made it: I’m writing a blog before my holidays start:) Before I start, a fellow CE student is also writing a blog; you can find his blog here It could be worth to go see his blog too, to see another insight into CE. I recommend you all to check his blog out!

I finally got some results from Q1 back, yeey. I passed the MCA course with an 8, which I’m satisfied with. The oral defense for ACS went better than expected, partly due to the fact that the teacher was happy with our results (which I didn’t expect at all!). He didn’t give us an actual grade, but he told us we passed and with quite a good grade (8 – 9). Lastly, I got the result for my final presentation: an 8:) I passed all three courses of Q1 apparently, I am quite happy with that. It has been pretty rough at times, but in the end (apparently) it was worth it.

Let me update you on the goals I set in my last blog.

I handed in a draft version of my essay and it has been peer-reviewed. According to a fellow student my draft was quite good already, but he had some pointers for me. Yesterday I met with my Scientific Writing teacher to discuss these pointers. Overall, the essay is looking good, but some changes need to be made before I will upload my final essay.

I have started with the System Design lab. I have a good understanding what is expected from me. I am not sure I could say I’m “well on my way”, but I think it will be alright as long as I put time and effort into it. Look at the image below for a part of the lab. It’s a program consisting of additions/subtractions and multiplications which needs to be scheduled. The image shows the toolbox used to get a visual of the scheduled program.

Blog_SD(Toolbox is provided by Dr. Ir. Rene van Leuken for the ET4054 course)

My second IC design assignment has been signed off. Moreover, I have started with the lab together with my colleague. Our lab assignment consists of designing a Time to Digital Converter (TDC). We have decided on an architecture (several architectures exist) and we have started with the design of the cells (we cannot use standard cells). See the image below for our design of a 3-input nand together with testing results (green line is the output, the other 3 lines are the input).

Blog_IC_Schematic (Design is made in Virtuoso, made by Cadence)


Performance Analysis has been quite the same. I have finished all homework assignments up to assignment 4. Last week we had queueing theory, which was pretty interesting.

Overall, I am satisfied with my progress the last weeks. The last weeks combined with the rough first quarter make me feel that I deserved the holidays, I am so happy the holidays have finally started:D Last time I wrote some cool plans for my holidays; unfortunately I won’t do either of those! My aunt already had other plans, and it was too late to arrange other plans. I have decided I will travel to a few cities in the east of the Netherlands (it is very beautiful there with quite some old cities). After that, I will just stay with my family and enjoy the holidays.

Sad me – there is quite some university work to do for me. First of all, I have to work on the System Design lab – the deadline is the day of my oral exam, which is 19 January. Therefore, I don’t need to finish it during the holidays, but I plan to make good progress on it. Secondly, I need to finish all the cells for my IC design project (flip flops, counter, delay element and possibly more). I also need to write a midterm report for the lab. This report is due the 8th of January, so I should make progress during the holidays. Thirdly, I want to finish my essay (deadline 8th of January); this should not take too much time, but it will take some time. Lastly, I’m planning to do the fifth homework assignment of Performance Analysis.

So yeah, quite some work is ahead of me. However, there is also Christmas and New Year’s Eve, which will be fun. Most definitely I will visit some places, or go out to do fun things. And of course, lots of gaming will be done:) I don’t have a choice, do I? I have to unwind before I can start working on the things that need to be done, since my brain is almost exploding at the moment:P

That’s it for now (finally?). I wish everyone relaxing and amazing holidays, Happy Christmas days and a happy New Year (be safe with fireworks!). I hope to welcome you all back after the holidays with my next blog:)


Blog 3: Not so occupied, yet!

Hiya folks,

that was fast;) This quarter is not killing me with lots of work yet, fortunately, and that means I have time for the next blog:)!

I am stil waiting for my results of Q1, so I can’t tell you how it went as of now. What I am still waiting for: ASC Lab 2 and 3 results, MCA Reading assignment and lab results and Academic skills final presentation result. As you can see, that is quite a lot sadly. Next week Tuesday I have my lab defense of ACS, so I’ll probably get the ACS results then:)! I’m a bit nervous of it though. Apparently lots of groups had troubles with Lab 3, so that makes me a bit less worried:P.

So what have I been doing the last weeks and why didn’t it (barely) kill me you might wonder;) Well, mostly following lectures and working on assignments.

For Academic skills I have been quite busy with my essay. Last week Sunday was the deadline for my introduction. I was quite satisfied with it, and so were my teacher and the student peer-reviewing me; good start of my essay I’d say:)! The past weekend I have been working further on my essay. Currently I have roughly half of the required 1500 words. I have a good idea what I want to write with the remaining 700-800 words, so that should not be a problem. Deadline for this is Tuesday in 2 weeks by the way. I still want my final presentation grade though:(

Methods and Algorithms for System Design (let’s call it S.D.) has been following lectures mostly up till now. It has been more interesting lately as well, so that’s nice! I finally have access to the lab environment (remote access, meaning I can work on it at home or where ever I want), so that means I should start working on the lab. And that’s exactly what I was planning for tomorrow (and possibly Wednesday as well). I think that this lab is doable, if I put some effort and time into it.

Digital IC Design (let’s call it I.C.) has been the same as the beginning to be honest; the lectures are still intensive but interesting (lectures on combinational- and sequential logic were kind of a repetition from one of my bachelor courses though;)) Last week I signed off my first lab assignment (yeey) and I have been working on the second lab assignment (due this Friday). I and my partner are well on our way; we just need to get over some small bumps. I think we will be able to finish it before Friday; I will look at it Wednesday after the S.D. lab!

Performance Analysis (let’s call it P.A.) has been the same as well, except another PHD’er gave the last lecture, and will give the remaining lectures until the holiday starts (woohoo holiday). The first homework assignment went okay, except I made a small and stupid mistake. The second homework assignment went a bit better I guess, but the answers aren’t online yet. It’s still quite a lot of mathematics (more specifically stochastic processes), but the link with networks is becoming clearer, which is nice since that’s the reason we need to know these stochastic processes;)

Apparently I have enough to do until the holidays start. My goals, before it starts, are: Hand in a draft version of my essay, be well on my way with the S.D. lab, signed off assignment 2 of I.C. and started with the lab, finish all the homework assignments of P.A. and lastly, get all my results for Q1 (and pass ACS!!). Wow, that is depressing:P

After that, the holidays are finally there. I haven’t fully decided what my plans are. I’m thinking about going to my family in Limburg for a few days/a week. I’m also thinking about going to Germany with a friend (we did that last year; we went to the Japanese neighbourhood in Düsseldorf and it was a lot of fun). But maybe I’ll go to Singapore. Who knows, lots of things to do; I will have to decide that during the next weeks. What I do know is, however, that I really need some vacation. Q1 wore me out pretty much, and I have a feeling that the coming weeks will do the same. Regardless of where I will be, I will definitely take a good rest and make enough time to polish my gaming skills (not dropping out of Gold in League of Legends would be my main goal:)). Maybe it will snow and freeze and I can play on the ice, that would be awesome too:) And watch a lot of anime, too, of course. Obviously I will also work on my I.C. lab; Thursday after the holidays a mid-term design rapport needs to be handed in:(

Anyway, I can’t wait for the holidays, but I’ll work hard the coming weeks first. I suggest you all do the same, that way the holidays feel more deserved and are way nicer:) See you next time; probably just before the almighty holidays start!

Blog 2: Starting Q2

Hey guys (and girls),

not exactly 2 weeks later as I said, but here I am. I was so occupied with finishing the first quarter, that I didn’t have the time to write a blog.

Finishing all the courses of Q1 took some more time than expected, since my deadlines were postponed; one even to the end of the first week in Q2! Luckily, I have a decent feeling about it. For the Networking course I already received the result for my exam: an 8. -> first 5 ECTS of my master in my pocket:).

For the MCA course, I have finished writing the paper and the second lab assignment. I’m really proud of my work, and I think it will get a good grade. I have talked with the teacher, Sorin Cotofana, about the paper; he asked us some questions, like why did we choose this topic, why do we think that method A is better etc. He told us that the paper looked good, but we will have to wait for our grade. The second lab assignment took us quite some time, since running a simulation took easily over 2 hours. My colleague and I spent almost whole week 1.10 on this lab assignment. Afterwards we had a talk with one of the assistants; he also asked us some questions about our design choices. That went pretty well too, so I think I passed this course:).

For the ACS course, we just handed in the report last Sunday. The assignment was pretty hard and I’m not sure our report is sufficient, guess we will have to wait. We will also have a discussion with the teacher, Zaid Al-Ars, about the lab assignments. Let’s see how that goes;) I got 430 out of 500 points for the homework assignments and a 8.5 for the first lab assignment so I still have hope on passing this course!

The second quarter has started already and so do my courses. I have chosen three courses, meaning that I have again four courses (I still have Profile Orientation and Academic Skills). The courses I’ve chosen are: Methods and Algorithms for System Design (Track core), Digital IC Design and Performance Analysis (Specialization core).

M&ASD is about algorithms for system design. So far, the course isn’t that intensive and is mostly about algorithms and synthesization of a program. I think that the course is not so interesting yet, but that’s probably because it just started. We will have to do a lab assignment and I will have an oral examination for this course.

Digital IC Design is about the design of an Integrated Circuit; a big part of this course is the lab which has not started yet. Before we can start with the lab, we have to pass 2 assignments in which you can get used to the tools you will need to use in the lab. I finished the first assignment already with my colleague which we will be, hopefully, signed off next week. Besides the lab, there are also lectures and a written exam. The lectures so far are about the workings of transistors and an inverter, and are quite intensive but interesting.

Performance Analysis heavily focuses on stochastic processes meaning mathematics. There is only 1 lecture per week, which results in the teacher going over the material quite rapidly. The course is therefore quite intensive. Every week, a homework assignment is uploaded which will give you bonus points upon completion. I haven’t started yet, so I’m not sure about the level of the assignments. There is also a written exam for this course.

Yesterday I joined the Master Event as a promoter for Computer Engineering for the first time. It was quite fun, although my legs were almost dead after standing for 6 hours;) There were a lot of people there, but unfortunately I didn’t get to talk with a lot of them. On the other hand, 26 people attended the presentation by our coordinator Arjan van Genderen; hopefully I will see a few of them next year.

A question I got a lot yesterday, was: “What is the difference between CE and Embedded Systems?”. Since this is an interesting question, I decided to explain it here. For me, an important difference is the amount of choices you can make in CE; there are only 2 compulsory courses and for the rest you can choose, to some extent, the rest of your courses. Both CE and ES are inbetween Electrical Engineering (hardware) and Computer Science (software); the difference between them is that CE focuses a bit more on hardware, while ES focuses a bit more on software. However, there are enough software related courses in CE! A lot of the specialization courses are the same for CE and ES, however the track core of CE is what makes CE, CE. Therefore I would say, that if the track core of CE appeals to you, then CE is the right option for you. If, however, it does not, maybe ES is better for you (given that you like the compulsory courses of ES;)).

Well, that’s it for me this time. I’ll be working hard the coming weeks; the Digital IC Design lab will start, and so does the M&SD lab. I will also work on the essay I need to write for Profile Orientations. Hopefully I will be writing my next blog in a few weeks, before the Christmas Holidays. Till then!

Blog 1: Hello World!

Hey People,

the coming year I will blog monthly about my experiences as a first-year’s Master (Computer Engineering) student at the TU Delft. Let me kick off by introducing myself. I am Roberto, 21 years old and a student at the TU since 2012 when I started my bachelor in Electrical Engineering. I like to read books, watch anime/series, play videogames (a lot:)) and sport. I like to play tennis, and I am a member of the Ultimate Frisbee club here in Delft, Force Elektro.

Now we got that out of the way, let’s continue with Computer Engineering. Computer Engineering has been given a complete make-over to fit in with other Master Programmes. The program consists of 120 ECTS and it would take a nominal student to graduate in 2 years. The program consists of 5 parts.

The first one is the “Common Core” courses, which consists of 9 courses that are the same for the Master Programmes in EEMCS. 2 courses are mandatory – Profile Orientation and Skills (3 ECTS, Q1 and Q2 in the first year), which is about improving your presentation skills and writing an essay of 1500 words, and System Engineering (3 ECTS, Q3 in the first year). Out of the other 7 courses, which are all worth 5 ECTS and given in Q1, you are required to choose at least one. The variety is nice, you can choose a course on networking but also on EM-waves. The Common Core has to be at least 11 ECTS.

The second part is the “Track” courses, which consists of 6 courses that are more specific to Computer Engineering. You have to choose at least 4 of them with a minimum of 20 ECTS. These courses are worth either 5 or 6 ECTS and are given throughout the year. Then there is the “Specialization’ courses, which consists of a lot of courses that are more specialized (duh) to a specific area. This part has to be worth at least 29 ECTS.

The fourth part is the “Free Electives”, which is wort 15 ECTS. You can put (almost) anything in this; homologation courses (max 10 ECTS), courses you didn’t take of the 3 parts above, an internship and so on.  The 4 parts mentioned above should be at least worth 75 ECTS.

The last 45 ECTS (3 quarters!) are for your Master Thesis, in which you will do research at one of the available research groups or at a company!

The past quarter I have been following 4 courses: Profile Orientation and Academic Skills, Networking (common), Advanced Computing Systems (common) and Modern Computer Architectures (track). Now it is the 9th week of Q1 (week 1.9), which means I am in the middle of the exam period. Yesterday, I had the Networking exam and I think that I passed it 🙂 (with a bit of luck). Strangely enough this was my only exam this quarter. The other 3 courses don’t have exams.

FOr POAS, we needed to prepare 3 presentations in groups of 2. The first 2 needed to be recorded and one of them needed to be done in class. The final presentation needed to be done in class too. Networking had 2 lectures a week. For this course there was an exam (like I just said). Besides this exam you could also do a project on a voluntary basis, which could give you 2 bonus points on the exam, I decided not to do it with all the labs I already had. ACS had only 1 lecture per week. To pass this course you have to make 5 homework assignments and do 3 lab assignments. The lab assignments are of a good level and are quite interesting; in the second lab assignment we had to program a GPU! MCA had 2 lectures a week, but 1 lecture turned into a lab session around week 5. There is no written exam, but instead we have 2 lab assignments and a reading assignment. In the lab assignments you have to design a processor that has both a good performance and power- and resource utilization. For the reading assignment you have to read (duh) 3 to 5 papers about a topic and write a paper, in IEEE style, in which you discuss their contributions and compare their performance. My topic was “indirect branch prediction”; I learned a lot doing this assignment!

So it’s week 1.9 now and that means that after next week Q2 starts. However, I am not finished with Q1 yet. The last 2 days I’ve been working hard with my colleague on the reading assignment. It is almost finished, I think. I just need to write the abstract and the conclusion and then make sure it’s not too long (5 pages maximum). At the same time and with the same colleague I also need to work on the 2nd lab assignment of MCA. Hopefully we can finish that next week (deadline is next Friday). Next week I also need to work on the 3rd lab assignment of ACS, with my lab group. That deadline is November 16th, but I prefer to finish it as soon as possible.

Let me finish this blog, pff 819 words already (now 823:P), by giving my first impression. Q1 has been quite busy, because besides the lectures (which admittedly didn’t take so much time), there was quite some lab work to do. I have to admit that in the last quarter, I worked more in groups than on my own, which is quite a change from my bachelor;) Master is definitely a level higher than bachelor, but I see it as a challenge. So far I like the program, the courses I’ve chosen were interesting and that made up for the hard work I had (and will have) to put in (at least occasionally).

As you have read, there is quite some work for me to do. Let me get on it then! I will be back with you, hopefully, in a week or 2:)

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