Chairs Message

Welcome to the UC San Diego Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. We are excited to share what’s new in ECE as we continue to produce world-class research and strive to develop and graduate “complete” engineers.

We are proud of our history providing an undergraduate curriculum that builds on strong theoretical fundamentals and we are excited to complement this knowledge base with courses and programs with more hands-on applications. With the addition of several new courses, a new maker facility, and several extra-curricular activities, we are creating a multi-faceted curriculum with threads that extend throughout the entire undergraduate experience.

The creation of maker laboratories is allowing us to expand our curriculum with the addition of three hands-on courses. The ECE Makerspace was made possible by a generous donation from our industry partner Keysight Technologies, while the larger EnVision Arts and Engineering Maker Studio was established through a joint collaboration between the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Division of Arts and Humanities. You’ll learn more about ECE 5, our freshman “Experience ECE” course, as well as our “Rapid Hardware and Software Design” and “Rapid Prototyping” courses, in Undergraduate Education (see page 30). We are also launching special topics courses (ECE 180/188) in the winter and spring quarters of 2017 about the Internet of Things and IoT devices.

We’re also excited to share our Projects in a Box (PIBs), which are the foundation of a new hands-on group project course (ECE 196). PIBs will also be used by our student organizations in their K-12 outreach efforts to promote electrical and computer engineering.

Outside the classroom, we challenged our students to develop assistive products for the elderly. ECE partnered with the Design Lab at UC San Diego and the Center for Healthy Aging on the ECE Design Competition. The year-long contest follows the principles of human-centered design (observation, prototype/test cycles) to ensure that they fit the needs of the people for whom they are intended. In addition to ECE students, the inaugural competition attracted participants from other disciplines, including cognitive science, visual arts, and computer science. The ECE Design Competition launches again this fall for the 2016-2017 academic year, affording interdisciplinary teams of students the opportunity to create a product and consider the steps involved in taking their product to market. Students have the opportunity to explore further entrepreneurial concepts in our two new Entrepreneurship courses (ECE 180).

On the research front, we are eager to share our recent efforts to expand activity in the areas of robotics, nanoelectronics, adaptive computing and embedded systems, big data, flexible electronics, signal processing and machine learning with the addition of eight new faculty over the past two years. Our new faculty have strong systems backgrounds in diverse research areas and are instrumental in our efforts to create a robust hands-on experience for our students.

As we celebrated ECE’s 50 years of electrical and computer engineering excellence over the past year, we had the opportunity to contemplate and pay tribute to the people and events that made up our first half-century. So where to go next? We are optimistic that, 50 years from now, the research thrusts we explore today will stand the test of time, and that hands-on courses and other enhancements to the curriculum will round out undergraduate education and help fashion our students into the “complete” engineers of tomorrow. Taken together, ongoing innovation in research and education will solidify ECE’s reputation and status as one of the best and most forward-thinking departments of electrical and computer engineering in the nation, even the world.

Truong Nguyen, Ph.D.
Kevin Quest, Ph.D.