Digital Design

Frank Vahid

Publisher Wiley
ISBN 978-0-470-04437-7
RRP £34.95
Reviewed by Adrian Hibbert
Score 8 out of 10

Digital DesignFrank Vahid's Digital Design is not about the design of digital documents for the internet age, but is about the design of the digital circuits at the heart of the devices of the digital age. These devices include everything from day-to-day items such as mobile phones to life-saving medical devices.

The book is aimed squarely at students of digital design and distinguishes itself from older books by separating the topics of basic design and optimization. It is very much a course book and each chapter concludes with a series of exercises to reinforce what was covered in the text.

The author presents the material in a logical way covering basic implementations of digital technology and the underlying prerequisites of Boolean logic and algebra before addressing the architecture and building blocks of digital components.

Later chapters go into sufficient detail to illustrate the principles behind more complicated implementations including a digital video device, programmable ICs and hardware description languages.

Failure to grasp the initial concepts will have a knock-on effect to the later discussions. This makes the book more of a serial text rather than a reference document.

The topic of digital design is by its nature very technical and very complex. Good use of analogies backed up with illustrations helps to explain the concepts. Product profiles and personal profiles of digital engineers also provide some relief to the challenging concepts.
The author correctly identifies the need in industry for engineers who are both technically minded enough to be effective digital designers as well as personable enough to understand the requirements of end users.

However, his suggestion for verbally expressing base ten numbers in a more intuitive way in the hope that it might catch on and enable people to better understand binary numbers betrays how this might not be possible.

The author intersperses the text with interesting historical facts and anecdotes which help to break the technically heavy text by being both informative and entertaining.

As a course book, this text is undoubtedly robust enough to provide the curriculum. It would also prove useful to digital design students looking for a text to support them in their existing studies.

Further information: Wiley