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Information and Policies

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Table of Contents


1) General Information

Subject Description

Fundamentals of signal processing, focusing on the use of Fourier and related transforms to analyze and process signals of contemporary interest, including signals of one dimension (such as sound and music), two dimensions (such as images), and three dimensions (such as video). Applications include filtering, convolution, noise reduction, compression, coding, and feature detection.


The prereqs for 6.003 are 6.0001 and 18.03. The 6.0001 prereq will be strictly enforced. The 18.03 prereq is recommended, with prior exposure to complex exponentials and Fourier Series being most important.


2) Schedule

Lectures: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2-3pm, 3-270

Recitation Sections:

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3-4pm, 5-234
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3-4pm, 36-156

Office Hours

Tuesdays4-5pm5-234 and 36-156
Thursdays4-5pm5-234 and 36-156

Weekly Homework:

  • Posted online: Tuesdays at noon
  • Due online: Tuesdays at noon


3) Staff

Name Role Office Email (@mit.edu) Picture
Dennis Freeman Lecturer 36-889 freeman Denny
Sixian You Instructor 36-393 sixian Sixian
Jing Kong Instructor 13-3065 jingkong Jing
Elaine Ng TA -- elaineng Elaine
Josh Talbot TA -- jrtalbot josh
Franklin Zhang TA -- nilknarf Franklin
Deniz Sert LA -- dsert Deniz
  • Contact E-Mail: 6.003-instructors@mit.edu


4) Homework

Weekly homeworks consist of exercises, problems, and labs, as described in the following sections.

4.1) Exercises

Exercises are designed as exercises to reinforce 6.003 concepts and to develop basic skills in applying these concepts in simple contexts. Answers to exercises are submitted online and are automatically graded to provide immediate feedback. Exercises are intended as a resource to help you prepare for more advanced work or to review the fundamentals while struggling with more difficult problems. Completion of the exercises will not directly affect your grade.

4.2) Problems

Problems are designed to help you to develop a solid understanding of the subject matter and to become proficient in the skillful use of these concepts. These problems are self-contained, well-specified, and generally have a single correct answer. These problems will be graded by a combination of automatic and manual methods.

4.3) Labs

Labs are designed to illustrate the kinds of applications that can be addressed using signal processing techiques. Labs are generally more open-ended than conventional exam-style problems and can usually be solved in multiple ways. They often have multiple valid answers.

Part of each lab is a required check-in that is due three days after the lab is posted. This check-in is intended to make sure that you understand the problem (which is somewhat open-ended by design) and have formulated an appropriate approach. As part of the check-in, the staff will generally ask questions about the first part of the lab, but we encourage you to feel free to ask about any part of the lab or homework.


5) Grading Policies

5.1) Deadlines and Lateness Penalties

Homework assignments will be posted on Tuesdays. Lab check-ins are due on the following Friday at 3pm. Homeworks (including labs) are due at noon on the Tuesday after they were posted.

Late submissions will be penalized by multiplying by a lateness factor. Each day you are late results in a 25% reduction of the maximum score for the assignment. This 25% penalty accrues linearly over a 1-hour period immediately after the date/time the assignment was due. Lateness does not accrue on Saturdays or Sundays, and lateness for checkoffs does not accrue on any day with no office hours.

If you have any questions about this policy or its impact on your grade, please send an e-mail to the instructors (6.003-instructors@mit.edu).

5.2) Extensions

To help you manage your obligations, each student will be given three automatic 4-day extensions for late homeworks. The extensions are automatic: they are granted by an algorithm that is run at the end of the semester. The algorithm applies the extensions to the three weeks that minimize your loss of credit due to lateness.

You may use your three automatic extensions for sports, music, interviews, projects, or any other reason. You do not have to ask for the automatic extensions to be applied.

If you are experiencing personal or medical difficulties that prevent you from completing some of the work in 6.003, please talk with a dean at Student Support Services, 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.

5.3) Quizzes and Final Exam

Quizzes will be given during regular class times on October 5 and November 2. The quizzes will cover all materials contained in lectures, recitations, labs, and homeworks up to the date of the quiz (including material covered on previous quizzes).

A three-hour final exam will be given during the Final Examination Period at the end of the semester. The final exam will be comprehensive across all materials in this subject; however, materials since the quizzes will be weighted more heavily. The final exam will be scheduled by MIT's Registrar's Office. Conflicts with the scheduled time must be resolved by scheduling a conflict examination with MIT's Registrar's Office.  

Quizzes and the final exam will be graded in a two step process. First, each question will be awarded points based on technical correctness and reasoning. The total points will then be translated to a "GPA" scale and associated letter grade as follows:

where the grade boundaries are based on MIT's definitions of letter grades. Grades on the "GPA" scale are computed from total points using a piecewise linear interpolation that preserves differences between high and low A's (for example) and also eliminates roundoff errors at the boundaries between letter grades.

5.4) Overall Grade

Your final grade in 6.003 will be computed as a weighted average of the following components:

  • Homework: 10%
  • Lab check-ins: 5%
  • Lab submissions: 15%
  • Quiz 1: 15%
  • Quiz 2: 25%
  • Final Exam: 30%

where each component grade is expressed on a GPA scale (as described above). The weighted average (a number between 0 and 5) will then be converted back into a letter grade using the conversion described above.


6) Collaboration Policies

We encourage students to discuss 6.003 concepts and approaches with other students and with the teaching staff to better understand these materials. However, it is important that these conversation be held at a high level, and work that you submit under your name -- including derivations, programs, plots, and explanations -- must be your own. When you submit an assignment under your name, you are certifying that the details are entirely your own work and that you played at least a substantial role in the conception stage.

Students should not take credit for work done by other students. Students should not use solutions of other students (from this semester or from previous semesters) in preparing their own solutions. And students should not share their work with other students, including through public repositories such as GitHub.

Copying work, or knowingly making work available for copying, in contravention of this policy is a serious offense that may incur reduced grades, failing the course, and disciplinary action.

Weekly homework assignments provide an opportunity to develop intuition for new concepts by actively applying the new concepts to solve problems and answer questions. The process of actively struggling with the use of new ideas until you understand them is an effective and rewarding form of education. Reading someone's solution to a problem is not educationally equivalent to generating your own solution. If you skip the process of personally struggling with new concepts by getting the answers from someone else, you will have lost a valuable learning experience.

Good problems are a valuable resource. Don't squander that resource.

These policies are in place with the primary goal of helping you learn more effectively. If you have any questions about why the policies are structured as they are, or if a certain type of collaboration is allowed, just ask! You can do so by sending e-mail to the instructors (6.003-instructors@mit.edu).

For more information, see the academic integrity handbook.