Course information

Spring 2021

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1) Course Description

The catalog description for the class can be found here.

2) Prerequisites

Both 8.02 and 18.03/2.087 are important prerequisites for taking 6.002; 18.03/2.087 may be taken as a co-requisite. 8.02 provides the electromagnetics background from which much of circuit element laws are derived, while 18.03/2.087 provide a background in the differential equations that describe the dynamics of circuits. It is difficult to focus on the concepts introduced in 6.002 without the physical and mathematical foundations that these prerequisites provide.

3) Schedule

Lecture and recitation

This term, 6.002 will be taught virtually. "Live" lectures are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00a - 12:00p ET, via Zoom. One-hour recitations are Wednesdays 11 am, 12 pm and 1 pm, all ET and via Zoom, with signups for particular recitation sections orchestrated during the first week of classes.

To enable even closer interaction between students and staff, tutorial sessions will be offered at a variety of times during the week (to be scheduled once classes commence). While live participation by students in the classes is strongly encouraged, recordings of the lectures and recitations will be made available via the course website for those students who can document a conflict during lecture/recitation time.

6.002 will feature an experimental lab component this term on Fridays. Every student will receive a kit with a USB-connected instrumentation system, as well as components and parts to build a wide variety of circuits this term. Please let us know if you have not received your kit by Feb. 18th.

Office Hours

We will seek to provide sufficient coverage of office hours to satisfy the time zone constraints of participating students. For starters we'll be doing the following:

  • Sunday 10am-12pm (Hannah Field)
  • Monday 6:30pm-9pm (Aidan Dowdle)
  • Tuesday 3:30-5pm (Prof. Luqiao Liu)
  • Tuesday 5pm-7pm (Nadim Chowdhury)
  • Tuesday 7pm-9pm (Quang Phuc N Kieu)
  • Thursday 4-5pm (Prof. Jeffrey Lang)
  • Thursday 5-6pm (Prof. Farnaz Niroui)
  • Friday 4pm-5pm (Prof. Tomas Palacios... If this doesn't work for you, just email me and we will find a different time to meet)

We will be be using the Catsoop queue system here, combined with the virtual environment here

We encourage students to hangout in the space while waiting on the queue or working on the psets.

If you cannot make any of these times, please let us know as we are flexible in moving/adding times to this schedule.

4) Homework

Homework will be made available online on the web site, typically released on Wednesday night and due the following week on Wednesday at 11:00 PM. They are online, and so completion is based on successful submission of the online homework exercises. Please familiarize yourself with our policies on homework collaboration.

5) Textbook

The principle sources for this course will be class handouts (including lecture and recitation notes), along with readings in the course textbook, Agarwal and Lang. The textbook – available at the COOP and on line – is required:

Foundations of Analog and Digital Electronic Circuits. By A. Agarwal and J.H. Lang, Morgan Kaufmann 2005.

The online version of the textbook is available via the MIT libraries. If you can't access it through this link directly go here then click on the "View Online" button on the left, and it should route you through all the login/authorization stuff.

Another book that might prove helpful on occasion is:

Engineering Circuit Analysis, Hayt, Kemmerly, and Durbin, McGraw-Hill, 2006.

6) Videos

Many online videos (Youtube, Khan Academy, etc.) are available to go over various topics in circuit theory. In particular, video lectures from an older OCW version of 6.002 are available for viewing on the web. These videos are great review of particular topics, just be aware that the topics, order, and particular emphasis of 6.002 has changed a lot since those videos were recorded!

7) Online circuit simulators

In 6.002, we will mainly use the online circuit simulator developed here at MIT by Prof. Jacob White and Prof. Chris Terman. You can find it here.

8) Mini-projects

Optional mini-projects are lab or homework extensions that we'll create throughout the term for students who want to delve deeper into a particular topic. These mini-projects will provide up to an additional 5% toward your grade, but you will not be penalized for not doing them.

To ensure that the mini-projects are truly “extra” credit, during final course grading we will set grade boundaries while blinded to the extra credit, and then use any extra credit earned to move students above grade boundaries if the credit causes enough change.

A few notes about mini-projects:

  • Mini-projects will be graded in a binary fashion (yes it worked completely, no it didn’t work completely). No credit for a mini-project that doesn't work just because someone spent a lot of time on it.

  • They may require leveraging of concepts not in 6.002 (microcontrollers, signal processing, controls, etc.).

  • Mini-projects are intended for students to explore and have fun! They are not intended to get a few extra points to make up for poor performance in other parts of the class. To that end, we don't know the total number of the mini-projects that there will be, nor when the last of the mini-projects will be.

  • No extensions for mini-projects, since these are purely optional.

9) Grading

Numerical aspects of grading will be based on three components: Homework (40%), Labs (30%), and Review Questions (30%). The review questions will be part of the last check-off of every weekly lab and they will be based on the previous week's homework. Translating numerical grades into letter grades per MIT policy requires considerable discussion among the teaching staff at the end of the term. During the final grading discussion, we will examine the general trend of your performance in 6.002 over the course of the semester, and may also consider participation in class (lectures, recitations, tutorials) and office hours. This discussion can affect your letter grade, particularly if your initial grade is on a letter-grade boundary.

9.1) Homeworks

Homework assignments will be issued weekly and will be due the following week as specified in the assignment. The primary goal of the homework assignments is educational. We ask you to work through these materials because we feel that the experience will cement the basic technical ideas and lead you to think about bigger conceptual issues.

We understand that discussing the course material with other students and gathering advice from the teaching staff can be useful for learning. However, there are limits to the degree of collaboration that is allowed to ensure that everybody has a good individual learning experience. Homeworks are intended to be primarily individual efforts. You are encouraged to discuss approaches with other students, but your final formulation and submission must be your own. You may not use materials produced as course work by other students, whether in this term or previous terms, nor may you provide work for other students to use. Submitting homework copied from someone else is a serious breach of ethics, and will be handled by the Committee on Discipline.

There are two components to the weekly homeworks:

  • The auto-graded assignments. These are meant to be shorter individually and give you practice/prep on the content. They are done inside the class website and are automatically (immediately) graded. These assignments can be turned in late for partial credit (see below)!
  • The "free-response" assignments. These will be provided to you in a printout format and you are to do them by hand or externally. You are then to upload the completed work to Gradescope by the due date/time. These cannot be turned in late for partial credit so make sure you turn them in on time (usually 6pm on Wednesdays for any given week).

9.2) Review Questions / nano-quizzes

Starting with Lab 2, every lab will have one special check-off during which 6.002 students will be tested on the concepts covered by the Homework due that week. These nano-quizzes will be graded from 0 to 3 with the following rubric:

3 – The student can solve the problems without help. 2 – The student can solve most of the problems, although some help is needed. 1 – The student needed significant help to understand the questions and cannot answer most of them. 0 – The student did not do the nanoquiz

There will be 11 nano-quizzes in total. When calculating the final grade for the class, we will only consider the top 10 scores for each student.

9.3) Late Submissions

In each homework assignment, automatically-graded problems (not the free-response questions) can be turned in late for partial credit. We provide a lateness penalty for late submissions of problem sets, along with dropping the lowest problem set grade. Due dates for online problem set are posted on the web site.

The grades for late submissions will be multiplied by a lateness penalty P that is calculated from n, the number of minutes late:

P = max(0.0, min(1.0, 1-float(n)/(7*24*60*2)))

as shown below:

The lateness multiplier for late assignments decreases linearly from 1.0 at 0 minutes late to 0.0 at 14 days late. Assignments completed more than 2 weeks after the due date will not receive credit. The following table shows some numerical examples:

Submitted Max Credit Received
on time 100%
1 hour late 99.7%
8 hours late 97.6%
24 hours late 92.8%
2 days late 85.7%

This penalty is applied to each question or checkoff independently, so questions that were completed on time will not be penalized, even if other parts of the same exercise were completed late.

If you are experiencing personal or medical difficulties that prevent you from completing some of the work in 6.002, please talk with a dean at S^3, and, with their support, we can offer additional extensions or alternative arrangements. Without written support from Student Support Services, we cannot offer any exceptions to the rules outlined on this page.

10) Staff

You can contact the 6.002 instructors (Tomas, Jeff, Luqiao, Farnaz) via ``. You can contact the TAs via ``.