EECS20N: Signals and Systems




  • Lectures: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30-2PM, 10 Evans.
  • Problem/Discussion Sessions
    • Wed 9-10AM 241 Cory
    • Wed 1-2PM 285 Cory
    • Wed 2-3PM 285 Cory
    • Wed 3-4PM 241 Cory
    • Wed 4-5PM 289 Cory
  • Labs (all in 105 Cory)
    • Mon 12-3PM - Alan
    • Mon 3-6PM - Avital
    • Tue 9-12PM - James
    • Wed 12-3PM - Siddharth
    • Thu 3-6PM - Andrew
    • Fri 9-12PM - Dorsa

Course material

Your primary sources for this course are:

  • Lectures: Lectures form THE most important component of this course. According to a detailed statistical study, a student who attends all the lectures does, on average, an astonishing 34 points better than a student who attends none of the lectures, or almost 6 grade levels better, the difference between a C and an A! You are responsible for all material covered in the lectures, whether it is covered in the text or not, even if it is not posted on the website. Webcasts from previous offerings of the course may be useful:

    The Webcasts do not relieve you of the responsibility to attend the lectures. Despite the extensive material on the Web, lecture attendance is a required component of this course. We will enforce this, at least in part, by administering unannounced, pop quizzes. This has the side benefit of providing additional incentive to keep up with the material. For additional reasons for the pop quizzes, see the analysis of the Spring 2000 class.
  • Textbook: Structure and Interpretation of Signals and Systems, by E. A. Lee and P. Varaiya, 2011. The book is available in two forms: Free PDF download and low-cost paperback. Please, under no circumstances should you use a University printer to print the PDF. If we catch anyone printing the text on a university printer, it will be treated as an abuse of campus resources. If you are considering printing it on your own printer, please keep the following in mind: Tom's hardware estimates the cost per page of inkjet printing ranging from 3 to 30 cents per page. This means that the cost of printing a 720 page book ranges from a low of $22 to a high of $220. This makes a bound paperback at $35 very competitive...

  • Discussion Sessions: Discussion section is a venue to review material from lecture and explore them further with more involved examples. While there is a tendency in college students to skip discussion when demands on their time mount, students should be aware that compensating for missing an hour of discussion may take more than an hour of self-study later.

  • Lab sections: Labs are a key component of the course, where students have the opportunity to make the equations in lectures concrete by implementing them in LabView and experimenting with parameter settings. Students who find lecture and homework abstract may find labs especially useful.

  • Web site:
    The Web pages contain a wealth of goodies, including Java applets illustrating many of the concepts discussed in lectures or in the textbook; exams and their solutions from previous semesters; potentially useful links; etc. You should make a point of navigating around the site and making use of its contents.
  • Piazzza: The main mode of electronic communication between students and staff, as well as amongst students, will be through It is intended for general questions about the course, clarifications about assignments, student questions to each other, discussions about material, and so on. We strongly encourage students to participate in discussion, ask and answer questions through this site. The course staff will monitor discussions closely. To sign up, go to the Piazzza website and sign up with "UC Berkeley" and "EE20N" for school and class.
  • bSpace: Log in using your CalNet ID and passphrase. If you do not see the EECS 20N tab appear after you log in, contact us immediately. When you contact us, you need to give us some critical information, such as the full spelling of your name AND your UID (not to be confused with your student ID). To find your UID, visit the UC Berkeley Directory. Lookup your name and make a note of the UID which appears in the top-right corner of the search result corresponding to your name. We need this number to add you to the bSpace access list.

Teaching Staff

The lectures will be given by:

  • Pieter Abbeel (pabbeel@eecs); Office hours: Fridays 10am-noon, 511 Soda
  • Edward A. Lee (eal@eecs); Office hours: Thursdays 2-4 PM, 529 Cory

Teaching Assistants (Also known as GSIs):

  • TA Office Hours: Tues & Wed 5-6pm, (212 Cory)
  • Siddharth Dangi, Reader Coordinator, Newsgroup Coordinator,
  • James Fung, Head TA, jgf1123@gmail
  • Andrew Lee, Lab Coordinator, a.lee@berkeley
  • Alan Malek, malek@EECS
  • Dorsa Sadigh, dsadigh@berkeley
  • Avital Steinitz: steinitz@EECS

For the entire three-hour lab session, the TAs are available to assist you with homework, lecture material, lab material, or other course-related issues. The GSI holding the title "Grader/Reader Coordinator" is responsible for handling your questions or concerns about grading of homework, labs, or exam s.


You are required to meet the following obligations:

  • Keep up with the reading assignments
  • Turn in all homework on time
  • Complete all lab assignments
  • Midterm Exams: Two midterms will be held during the lecture period and in our assigned lecture hall. The schedule will be posted here.
  • Pop quizzes (in class, not announced in advance).


Grades will be weighted as follows:

  • 10% Problem Sets
  • 10% Labs
  • 10% Quizzes
  • 20% Midterm 1
  • 20% Midterm 2
  • 30% Final

NOTE: We will drop (a) your lowest quiz score; (b) your lowest two problem set scores; and (c) your lowest lab score before we compute your final weighted average score for the course, which will then form the basis for your final course grade. We do NOT drop the lowest midterm score.

COROLLARY: Unless you face a difficulty that causes a protracted inability to turn in work for the course or take a pop quiz (e.g., an extended illness or injury or severe personal problem), we do not wish to hear about an upcoming job interview or one-time medical appointment or any other event that causes you to miss one quiz, up to two problem sets, or one lab report. Our lowest-score-drop policy is designed precisely to provide you with a cushion for such short-duration disruptions in your schedules. PLEASE do NOT ask for a make-up quiz, or an extension on a problem set or lab deadline.

However, you should bring it to our attention if you encounter any difficulty with ramifications beyond these cushions. For example, if you expect to miss the lecture session in which there is a midterm, you must bring it to the instructor's attention in well in advance of the date in question.



An engineer rarely works alone. Cooperation and collaboration are realities of the working world. Learning to collaborate effectively is important. In view of this, we encourage you to collaborate in teams of up to FIVE current EECS 20N students on homeworks and lab reports. However, each student must turn in his or her own homework and lab report, indicating the names of the other team members.

However, caution is in order. It is up to you to ensure the full participation of each team member. In particular, you should not partition the work, nor should you carry a slacker out of charity. The purpose of the homework and labs is primarily to reinforce the lecture material and to help prepare you for the exams. You must actively participate in the solution to each problem for this to be effective; by turning in a problem set solution you testify that you have made substantial contribution to your team's efforts.

Cooperation or collaboration on exams is strictly prohibited and, if discovered, will be fully prosecuted. In general, we consider student misconduct in any aspect of the class to be a serious matter, and will prosecute any violation of the code of student conduct fully.