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Electrical and Computer Engineering

Welcome to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

David Lilja Thumbnail

 

 

David J. Lilja
Department Head and Louis John Schnell Professor  

Welcome to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

 
Since offering our first course in electrical engineering in 1887, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) has become one of the leading international programs preparing students for this career choice. Our distinguished faculty works closely with students who come from throughout Minnesota, the nation, and the world. We work across interdisciplinary boundaries to assemble effective multidisciplinary research groups. Our research and teaching concentrate among the broadly defined areas of nanotechnology, computing and communication technologies, medical devices and health care, and energy and the environment.  

College of Science and Engineering Student Scholarship
Our incoming students continue to be some of the best students in the University. The College of Science and Engineering  (CSE) snapshot of newly enrolled freshmen for 2012-2013 reports:
                 • ACT average composite score of 30.6 (up from 30.1)
                 • SAT average score of 1372 (up from 1358)
                 • 98.4 percent (up from 94.7) are from the top 25 percent of their high school graduating class
                 • 69.5 percent (up from 64.3) are from the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class
                 • 28.2 percent are women, the highest ever for the College of Science and Engineering

Enhancing the ECE student experience

ECE is committed to educating the future work force by providing an outstanding education in electrical and computer engineering, maintaining international pre-eminence in the creation and dissemination of knowledge, and serving both the public and private sectors through the collective experience and expertise of our faculty and students.

New this year, with the support of industry sponsors Barr Engineering, Digikey, Emerson, IEEE-Minnesota Chapter, and ExxonMobil, ECE launched the Envision Fund created to offer all CSE students an opportunity to pursue an extracurricular project idea that includes electrical and/or computer engineering content.  We are encouraging innovation and creativity among students who wish to pursue extracurricular projects. To see the currently funded projects, click here .

Current Research
Academic departments and research centers housed within CSE, combined with the resources of a large, comprehensive university, provide unparalleled opportunities for cross-disciplinary research and education.  Here’s a sample of some of the exciting research being conducted in our department:

Prof. Jian-Ping Wang is leading the research and development of next-generation microelectronics in collaboration with six research centers.  Here, at the University of Minnesota’s new C-SPIN Center, Wang and collaborators pursue the promise of spintronics – a technology that uses an electron's spin rather than its charge to process information. Today’s silicon semiconductor technology is reaching its fundamental limits in terms of density and power consumption. Spin-based logic and memory, based on the hybridization of magnetic materials and semiconductors, have the potential to enable computing devices that are smaller, faster and more energy-efficient than conventional charge-based systems. To read more about C-SPIN, click here

Prof. Emad Ebbini is investigating a dual-mode ultrasound array (DMUA) system for both image guidance and controlled release of a cancer killing drug with specific binding to target cells such as liver cancer cells. The unique DMUA system is capable of noninvasive feedback control of temperature fields within sub-millimeter volumes and millisecond resolution based on real-time ultrasound thermography. This approach ultimately will allow for the use of these powerful agents to fight the cancer with minimum adverse systemic effects. To read more about Ebbini’s research, click here.

Prof. Steve Koester is working to create a universal bio-sensing platform, a glucose sensor in this case, small enough to place within an artery to accomplish real time, closed-loop feedback about diabetes. The sensor, a graphene-based wireless device, would read blood glucose levels and send messages to an insulin pump (also implanted in the body) which in turn would send the proper dosage of insulin into the person’s system. When completed, this device will make the difficult management of diabetes a thing of the past. To read more about Koester’s research, click here.

Prof. Murti Salapaka is pioneering the next generation of imaging devices at the nanoscale. Using controls and systems perspectives, his research images multiple properties simultaneously, such as elasticity and dissipation, of soft-matter with nanoscale or better resolution. Furthermore, he is working to enhance the bandwidth of instruments for investigating single molecules. With these advances, soon it will be possible to study biological constructs, such as motor-proteins, that facilitate intracellular transport in conditions that are similar to the native environments found inside cells. These enhanced capabilities will be used to understand fundamental science issues on energetics, and mechanics of cellular machinery. To read more about Salapaka’s research, click here.

Alumni Achievements
The College of Science and Engineering has more than 60,000 living alumni. CSE alumni have founded more than 4,000 active companies worldwide that employ 551,000 people and generate annual revenue of more than $90 billion.


These companies span many fields, including communications, software, electronics, nano-technology, and biotechnology. ECE students and faculty serve as key sources of scientific and engineering talent, expertise, and innovative ideas for these and many other companies.

Inventors Earl Bakken (EE'48) and Seymour Cray (EE'49) are graduates of our department. Bakken invented the battery-operated cardiac pacemaker and founded Medtronic, Inc. Cray invented the supercomputer and founded Cray Research, Inc.
Recent examples of ECE alumni honored with the University’s Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA) include:

Bruce A. Richard
BSEE 1954; BS Economics 1963; OAA 2009
Electric utility industry leader and entrepreneur

Gary H. Glover
BSEE with High Honors 1964; MSEE 1965; Ph.D. EE 1969; OAA 2010
Medical magnetic resonance technologies and biomedical imaging pioneer

John “Jack” M. Reid
BSEE 1950; MSEE 1957; OAA 2010
Ultrasound tissue characterization, echocardiography, and pulse Doppler biomedical imaging diagnostics pioneer

Robert Hartmann
BEE 1965; OAA 2011
Pioneer in high-density programmable logic devices, co-founder of Altera

David Malah
Ph.D. 1971; OAA 2011
Pioneer in Israeli digital signal processing industry and revered academic mentor
Bruce J. Bergman
BSEE 1964;     OAA 2012
Pioneering computer and avionics engineer and computer industry executive

Mark W. Kroll
BS Math 1975; MSEE 1983; Ph.D. 1987;     OAA 2012
Preeminent electrophysiologist, pioneer in electrical medical device field (75)

Yannis P. Tsividis
BSEE 1972     OAA 2013
Developer of the MOS op-amp and companding coder, pioneer in digital telephony

Our facilities
Kenneth H. Keller Hall houses both the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering providing outstanding laboratory, classroom, and office spaces. The proximity of the two departments has encouraged close collaboration in educational and in research activities providing valuable opportunities for both students and faculty.

ECE faculty and students conduct research not only within the department, but also in collaboration with numerous University of Minnesota research centers, including Center for Spintronic Materials, Interfaces, and Novel Architectures (C-SPIN); the Digital Technology Center; the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center; the Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications; the Nanofabrication Center; the Multi-Axial Sub-assemblage Testing (MAST) System; the Supercomputing Institute; and the Technological Leadership Institute.

In addition, the Nanofabrication Center (NFC)—one of the most sophisticated academic semiconductor and nanoelectronic research and teaching facilities in the nation—is located in Keller Hall.  The Nanofabrication Center (NFC) is a state of the art facility dedicated to the design, fabrication, and testing of small scale devices. NFC offers tools and expertise to help researchers develop new micro- and nanoscale technologies, such as integrated circuits, micro-sensors, thin film coatings, micro-optical systems, and nanostructured materials.

A new Physics and Nanotechnology building, which is scheduled to open by the end of 2013,  will expand the capabilities of NFC with more than 15,000 square feet of additional nanotechnology space.

Please contact us if you would like more information about studying in our department or if you need help locating a faculty member with a particular expertise. We look forward to hearing from you.

David J. Lilja
Louis John Schnell Professor and Department Head