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Physics (F)

Credits Dept. Type Requirements
9.0 (7.2 ECTS) FIS
  • Compulsory for DIE
  • Compulsory for DCSFW
  • Compulsory for DCSYS


Person in charge:  (-)

General goals

The aim of this subject is for students to understand the concepts of physics that are most directly related to how computers and their peripherals work; that is, they must understand which basic principles of electromagnetics, optics and quantum physics are the reason why devices such as monitors, printers, magnetic and optical memory, and electronic and fibre-optic circuits are able to function. They will be introduced to the practical dimensions of the basic elements in "hardware" laboratories.

Specific goals


  1. Basic concepts of static electricity, condensers, and dielectrics. Electro-kinetic elements and techniques for producing DC circuits. Applications: computer keyboard, cathode ray tube (monitor), laser printers.
  2. Basic electronic concepts: solid state, diodes (union diodes and Zener diodes), transistors (bipolar and MOSFET) and logic gates (DL, TL, DTL).
  3. Magnetic field - concepts (creation and action), magnetic materials, and electromagnetic induction. Application of alternating current (AC) and dealing with AC circuits. Applications: magnetic memories, transformers, filter circuits.
  4. Electromagnetic waves: basic concepts and applications to computing (optic fibres, optic memories, magneto-optic memories, liquid crystal screens).
  5. Basic elements of a "hardware" lab: oscilloscope, digital multimeter, function generator, and AC and DC generators.


  1. Analysis of questions and problems bearing on the subject theme.
  2. Knowing how to apply mathematical formalism to solve problems.
  3. Knowing how to use basic lab apparatus and to conduct numerical analysis of the results.
  4. Understanding the mathematical laws modelling physical phenomena.
  5. Ability to summarise and present results.


  1. Ability to structure and summarise information.
  2. Ability to analyze and validate data.
  3. Ability to draw up and use a bibliography.
  4. Ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing.


Estimated time (hours):

T P L Alt Ext. L Stu A. time
Theory Problems Laboratory Other activities External Laboratory Study Additional time

1. Electrostatics
T      P      L      Alt    Ext. L Stu    A. time Total 
6,0 4,0 0 0 0 12,0 1,0 23,0

2. Electrokinetics
T      P      L      Alt    Ext. L Stu    A. time Total 
6,0 4,0 0 0 0 12,0 1,0 23,0

3. Introduction to electronics
T      P      L      Alt    Ext. L Stu    A. time Total 
7,0 5,0 0 0 0 13,0 1,0 26,0

4. Magnetic fields.
T      P      L      Alt    Ext. L Stu    A. time Total 
6,0 4,0 0 0 0 11,0 1,0 22,0

5. Electromagnetic induction
T      P      L      Alt    Ext. L Stu    A. time Total 
5,0 4,0 0 0 0 8,0 1,0 18,0

6. Alternating current (AC).
T      P      L      Alt    Ext. L Stu    A. time Total 
6,0 3,0 0 0 0 10,0 1,0 20,0

7. Electromagnetic waves.
T      P      L      Alt    Ext. L Stu    A. time Total 
6,0 4,0 0 0 0 12,0 1,0 23,0

8. Lab exercises.
T      P      L      Alt    Ext. L Stu    A. time Total 
0 0 14,0 0 0 5,0 0 19,0

Total per kind T      P      L      Alt    Ext. L Stu    A. time Total 
42,0 28,0 14,0 0 0 83,0 7,0 174,0
Avaluation additional hours 6,0
Total work hours for student 180,0

Docent Methodolgy


Evaluation Methodgy

Final grade = 0.85*Theory grade + 0.05*Lab1 + 0.1*Lab2.

Description (objectives in brackets, where the first digit relates to the first category (knowledge, skills, competencies), and the second digit indicates the specific objective in each category, in list order):

Theory grade = 0.4*P + 0.6*F o F (if F > Theory grade).
P : Part exam (1.1,
F : Final exam (1.1 and 1.4,
Lab1 : Report on lab exercises (1.5,2.1-2.5,3.1-3.4).
Lab2 = 0.5*PL1 + 0.5*PL2 (1.5,2.1-2.5,3.1-3.4).
PL1 : Mid-term exam on lab work.
PL2 : End-of-term exam on lab work.

(All grades out of 10)

Any attempt of fraud during the course will entail the application of the UPC's general academic normative and the beginning of a disciplinary process.

Basic Bibliography

  • Antoni Giró i Roca Física per a estudiants d'informàtica, Fundació per a la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, 2005.
  • Luis Montoto San Miguel Fundamentos físicos de la informática y las comunicaciones, Thomson, 2005.
  • Paul A. Tipler Física, Reverté, 1994.
  • Paul A. Tipler, Gene Mosca Física para la ciencia y la tecnología, Reverté, 2005.
  • W. Edward Gettys, Frederick J. Keller, Malcolm J. Skove Física para ingeniería y ciencias, McGraw-Hill, 2005.
  • Francis W. Sears, Hugh D. Young, Roger A. Freedman Física universitaria con física moderna, Pearson Educación, 2005.
  • Raymond A. Serway, John W. Jewett Física, International Thomson, 2003.
  • Pedro Gómez Vilda ... [et al.] Fundamentos físicos y tecnológicos de la informática, Pearson Educación, 2007.

Complementary Bibliography

  • Marcelo Alonso, Edward J. Finn Física, Addison Wesley Longman, 2000.
  • Física bàsica amb ordinador Física bàsica amb ordinador, Edicions UPC, 1993.
  • Olga Alcaraz i Sendra, José López López, Vicente López Solanas Física : problemas y ejercicios resueltos, Olga Alcaraz i Sendra, José López López, Vicente López Solanas, 2006.
  • Félix A. González La Física en problemas, Tebar Flores, 1995.
  • Mahmood Nahvi, Joseph A. Edminister Circuitos eléctricos y electrónicos, McGraw-Hill, 2005.
  • J.R. Cogdell Foundations of electrical engineering, Prentice-Hall, 1996.
  • David J. Griffiths Introduction to electrodynamics, Prentice Hall, 1999.
  • Narciso Garcia, Arthur C. Damask, Steven Schwarz Physics for computer science students : with emphasis on atomic and semiconductor physics, Springer, 1997.
  • Duane E. Roller, Ronald Blum Física, Reverté, 1986-1990.

Web links


Previous capacities

1. Knowledge: Baccalaureate-level Physics, notions of mathematical analysis and vectorial calculation.

2. Skills: Ability to learn, solve problems and search for information.

3. Competencies: Abstraction and the ability to use mathematical language.


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