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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) and two dimensions (such as images). Applications include filtering, convolution, noise reduction, compression, coding, and feature detection.


An understanding of integral calculus (at the level of 18.01) and programming in Python (at the level of 6.0001 or 6.145) are necessary prerequisites for 6.003.


2) Schedule

Lectures: Prerecorded, available from front page of web site.

Recitation Sections:

  • Section 1: TR, 8am-9am ET, with Adam
  • Section 2: TR, 10am-11am ET, with Marc
  • Section 3: TR, 2pm-3pm ET, with Adam
  • Section 4: TR, 4pm-5pm ET, with Marc

Attendance and participation at recitation is expected and will factor into your grade as discussed below.

Office Hours:

Staff will be available for live virtual help during the following times (see the "getting help" section below for more information):

  1. Sunday 4-7pm ET
  2. Monday 7-10pm ET
  3. Thursday 7-10pm ET
  4. Friday: 11-2pm ET


3) Staff

Contact us by sending a private message in the forum or at 6.003-instructors@mit.edu.

Name Role Email (@mit.edu) Picture
Jing Kong Lecturer jingkong jingkong Photo
Marc Baldo Recitation Instructor baldo baldo Photo
Adam Hartz Recitation Instructor hz hz Photo
Peter Crocker TA pcrocker pcrocker Photo
Franklin Zhang TA nilknarf nilknarf Photo

4) Expected Work

4.1) Lecture Videos and Questions

Lecture Videos will be posted to the web site ahead of our Tuesday and Thursday sections.

Lecture Questions will be posted along with each lecture, and they will come due before the first section of the associated recitation. These questions are intended to help make sure that you are keeping up with the material presented in the lectures.

4.2) Recitation Participation

You will be expected to attend (and to participate in) a recitation at your scheduled section time. Participation can take many forms, but we are expecting that you participate through a combination of text chat, voice/video chat, and/or "clicker"-style multiple-choice questions.

4.3) Weekly Homeworks

Weekly homeworks consist of several pieces, as described in the following sections.

4.3.1) Drills

Drills are designed as exercises to reinforce 6.003 concepts and to develop basic skills in applying these concepts in simple contexts. Answers to drills are submitted online and are automatically graded to provide immediate feedback. Drills 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 drills will not directly affect your grade.

4.3.2) 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.

4.3.3) Labs

Labs are designed to illustrate the kinds of applications that can be addressed using signal processing techniques. 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, and they often involve computation.

Part of each lab is a required check-in that is due on the Friday 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 Monday mornings. Lab check-ins are due on the following Friday at 2pm ET. Homeworks (including labs) are due at 10pm on the Monday 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 check-ins 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 reach out by sending a private message in the forum or at 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

Two quizzes will be given in the evenings. 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).


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:

  • Lecture Questions: 5%
  • Recitation Participation: 5%
  • Homework Problems: 20%
  • Lab Check-ins: 5%
  • Lab Submissions: 25%
  • Quiz 1: 15%
  • Quiz 2: 25%

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.

In addition, you must make a reasonable effort on every lab and each quiz in order to pass the subject. In addition, you must earn a passing grade on quiz 2 in order to pass the subject.

6) Getting Help

6.003 is intended to be a bit of a challenge, and so it is normal if you need help as you are working through the materials. We have various ways to get help in 6.003, which are outlined in this section.

6.1) Comingle: Help from Students and Staff

We have set up a Comingle for 6.003. You can use this as a place to hang out and collaborate with other 6.003 students as you are working through the 6.003 materials. Comingle consists of various rooms based on topic; each contains a virtual whiteboard and a video chat, which you can use to collaborate (of course, please pay careful attention to our collaboration policy!).

During the office hour times listed in the schedule above, course staff will be available to respond to virtual "raised hands" through the comingle interface.

6.2) Lab Check-in Queue

Lab check-ins are managed through a different interface, the 6.003 Check-in Queue. You can use this interface to ask for a check-in during the scheduled office hour times listed above, and you will be connected with a staff member via video chat to complete the check-in.

6.3) Course Forum

The 6.003 forum is also available as a place to ask questions about any course matter. We'll try to respond to posts on the forum as quickly as we can.


7) 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, please ask!

For more information, see the academic integrity handbook.