Dec 14, 2019  
Rensselaer Catalog 2008-2009 
Rensselaer Catalog 2008-2009 [Archived Catalog]

Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering

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Department Head: Kim L. Boyer

Director of Master’s Programs: Yannick L. LeCoz

Director of Doctoral Programs: Alan A. Desrochers

Department Home Page:

Electrical, computer, and systems engineers have long been at the forefront of new discoveries and their integration into advanced design and engineering methodologies. Inventions in areas such as integrated electronics and optical devices stimulate innovations in computers, control, and communications. New systems theory and mathematical techniques are then needed for analysis and design work.

As a broad-based department, Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering (ECSE) offers several advantages for undergraduate and graduate study. One is the ability to attack the many facets of modern problems that cut across disciplinary lines. Another is the flexibility for students to embark on individually tailored programs and for the department to launch new areas of research.

The department offers programs of study leading to bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in electric power engineering, electrical engineering, and computer and systems engineering. Each curriculum is sufficiently flexible to accommodate a wide range of interests. The curriculum the student selects is determined by his or her specific interests and, in some cases, by directions within a field of interest.

Research and Innovation Initiatives

Communications, Information, and Signal Processing

Advanced study and research in this field deals with the encoding, transmission, retrieval, and interpretation of information. Students may pursue programs of study strong in mathematical foundations, or oriented more toward hardware and practical implementation, or a combination of both.

Communications research focuses on the transmission of information over wireless, optical, and wire channels. Link level concerns, such as modulation and coding, as well as local and wide area networks are considered. Two of the fundamental subdisciplines emphasized are statistical communications and telecommunications. The former considers special types of systems in different environments, typified by random signals in random channels, as in space communication. The latter includes the hardware and societal demands of telephone, wireless communications, cable television, communications networks (including ATM and ISDN), and other systems.

The area of information processing is concerned primarily with the theory and engineering design associated with interpreting and manipulating received data, primarily in discrete form. Major research topics include information theory, including rate distortion theory, along with the coding and compression of speech, image, and video signals. A quantitative understanding of the nature and meaning of information provides a theoretical foundation. A special research emphasis at Rensselaer is the application of image transmission and interpretation techniques to pattern recognition, image processing, digital video processing and compression coding, and speech recognition.

Signal processing considers the application of digital processing techniques to problems encountered in many areas, including biomedical instrumentation, control systems, and audio processing. Special laboratories are available for speech processing, video and image processing, networking, and communications

Computer Networking

Research focal areas in computer networking include network management, traffic management, congestion control, traffic engineering, quality-of-service (QoS) architectures, multimedia networking, network modeling, measurement, and performance analysis. The application areas include wired, wireless, ad-hoc, satellite networks, and pervasive computing. The networking group also participates in interdisciplinary research in control theory, economics, scalable simulation technologies, and video compression.

As world networks get increasingly complex, the need for automated network management and sophisticated traffic management capabilities becomes more urgent. The theoretical foundations for these areas are of immense interest. Moreover, the structure of the Internet in terms of thousands of ISPs demands new economic models and mechanisms to ensure continued investment and growth of Internet wireless services. Network heterogeneity—especially in terms of wired, wireless, ad-hoc, and satellite—demands fundamental research for seamless interconnection. Finally, newer applications with QoS capabilities need to be deployed on the Internet and to co-exist with the current applications. The computer network group and Rensselaer work on all these areas using a mix of analysis, simulation, and experimental tools.

Computer Vision, Image Processing, Digital Media and Computational Geometry

Research in image processing covers a range of technologies and applications. This activity occurs at the Center for Image Processing Research (CIPR), the Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems (CenSSIS), and the Center for Next Generation Video (CNGV), as well as the Document Analysis Laboratory (DocLab), Advanced Imaging Systems Laboratory, Computer Vision and Robotics Laboratory, and Intelligent Systems Laboratory.

Research areas include pattern recognition, computer vision, multidimensional and multimodality image analysis, image compression, biotech assay automation, eye tracking, optical scanning systems, artificial intelligence, graphics, machine learning, computational geometry, and Internet image analysis services.

Application areas include systems biology, computer-assisted surgery, radiation treatment planning, medical image reconstruction, camera netowrks, range data processing, document image analysis, geographic information science, computational cartography, and image analysis aids to neurobiology. Additional application areas are bioinformatics, human fatigue monitoring, human computer interaction, video imagery activity interpretation, decision making under uncertainty, robot localization, robotic devices for automated scoring of assays for the biotechnology industry, and biological multidimensional microscopy.

The work of digital media includes such topics as image processing algorithms and architectures for digital cinema, advanced image compression and decompression algorithms, and methods for indexing video by content. Multimedia work also includes graphics courseware development for the World Wide Web using HTML, Java, PHP, my SQL, and VRML.

Computer Hardware, Architecture, VLSI and Mixed Signal Design

The design, implementation, layout, and testing of hardware systems constitutes a vital component of electrical and computer engineering research. Research areas include the design and testing of digital and mixed-signal chips in CMOS and BiCMOS and the development of computer-aided design tools for such designs. Specific topics include the development of high-speed computer chips using SiGe BiCMOS technology, the design and testing of mixed-signal chips for communications applications, the influence of 3-D integration on computer design, and the development of techniques for the design and reliable operation of digital chips fabricated in deep submicron CMOS.

This group has grown significantly in recent years. New faculty activities include error correcting coding system design and VLSI implementation for magnetic and holographic storage, and fiber and wireless communication; algorithm/architecture co-design for wireless multi-antenna signal processing; fault tolerance for semiconductor memories and molecular nanoelectronic memory; signal processing algorithm/architecture co-design for defect/variation tolerance in end-of-the-roadmap CMOS and post-silicon nanoelectronics regimes; silicon-based radio-frequency power amplifiers; multi-Gb/s broadband communications circuits; wafer-level 3-D integration for millimeter-wave smart antenna transceivers; RF-powered wireless communication circuits for bio-implantable microsystems; devices, circuits, systems, algorithms, and methodologies to enable inexpensive portable platforms for environmental and biomedical diagnostics; detection and quantification of low levels of biological signals reliably, conveniently, safely, and quickly.

Control, Robotics, and Automation

Current research projects address both control theory and a variety of applications. Faculty interests include advanced control algorithms development in the areas of nonlinear control, adaptive control, multivariable control, robust control, distributed control, and optimal control. These algorithms are applied to robotics, automation systems, robotic multi-vehicle coordination, power generation and transmission systems, power electronics, networked systems, micro and nano-systems, and discrete-event systems.

Research in robotics and automation is inherently interdisciplinary. ECSE faculty in this area coordinates closely with MANE, Computer Science, and Cognitive Science departments for joint research and curriculum development. Current projects include planning and control for advanced manufacturing systems, multi-robot actuator and sensor networks for coordinated monitoring and manipulation, and precision motion and force control with vision guidance in micro and nano assembly manufacturing and distributed robotics for environmental observation and monitoring. Extensive experimental and computational facilities, as well as undergraduate and graduate research opportunities, are available in the New York State Center for Automation and Technology Systems.

Current research topics in nonlinear control include the development of robust and adaptive design tools which systematically account for model uncertainty and unavailable state information. Another area of interest is nonlinear control of large-scale interconnected systems (communication and power networks, vehicle formations, etc.) with limited, local information available to each component of the system. New design techniques are being developed that exploit the input/output properties of these components and achieve the design objectives of stability, decentralization, and robustness.

Discrete-event systems theory is a modeling and control discipline relevant to computer-communication systems, transportation systems, as well as the modeling and control of automated manufacturing systems. These systems are characterized by concurrent and asynchronous operations, resource allocation issues, deadlock detection and avoidance, all in a random environment. Petri nets, multi-agent systems, and holonic control systems techniques are being developed to design, model, analyze, control, and evaluate the performance of such interconnected systems.

Electric Power, Power Electronics, Plasma Science, and Electromagnetics

Current research is concentrated in electric and magnetic field computation, electrical transients and switching technology, dielectrics and insulation systems, power system analysis and optimization, semi-conductor power electronics and fusion plasma diagnostics.

The design of equipment to minimize losses, achieve compaction, or better utilize material frequently requires a sound knowledge of the electric and magnetic field configurations involved. Several projects in the recent past have adapted finite element methods to the solution of current problems in large machines.

A new approach to digital field computations is being devised, based on techniques used to solve large network problems. The objective is to develop a more efficient, computationally conservative method. In today’s energy-scarce world, there is a great emphasis on building more efficient electrical equipment.

Projects are under way in the magnetic fields area to better understand the mechanism of electrical losses in rotating machinery and power transformers, with the ultimate goal of reducing these losses. The modeling of transients in transformer structures could also provide insight into the problems of both design and operation. The techniques being developed are finding applications in new areas such as superconducting fault current limiting devices. This area of endeavor also includes the fundamental processes of switching large currents and the attendant system interactions.

An electrical insulation system, be it solid, liquid, gaseous, or a combination of these, is an essential part of all power equipment. Current research seeks to better understand the fundamental behavior of insulation under a variety of operating conditions and to develop diagnostic instrumentation, particularly for large generators. This involves experimentation and computer modeling in the areas of discharge physics, electrostatic phenomena, and high-voltage technology. The recent development of nanodielectric structures for use as high-voltage insulation is showing particular promise with substantial property enhancements. This initiative is being pursued in collaboration with the Materials Science and Engineering Department.

Optimization theory is used in the design of electric power systems to obtain high efficiency at minimum cost, particularly for systems that involve distributed generation. This has been extended to include the development of intelligent protective relaying for dealing with the problem of islanding and utilizes the department’s hybrid system simulator and Electromagnetic Transient Program (EMTP) studies.

Power electronics plays a critical role in ensuring energy security and achieving high energy efficiency. It is essential for the integration of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and fuel cell, and is a critical enabler for energy-efficient technologies including solid-state lighting and variable-speed motor drives. Power electronics-based FACTS (flexible ac transmission systems) devices increase the transmission capacity of electric power grids and improve their stability and power quality. Power electronics is also at the center of new power technologies for vehicular applications such as hybrid electric vehicles and next-generation passenger airplanes. Efficiency, size, reliability, cost, and system compatibility are the primary drivers for these applications which must be addressed in an integrated manner to maximize system benefits. Rensselaer has identified this growing area of interest and is currently investigating future solutions to these challenging problems. Work in this multidisciplinary field requires an understanding of semiconductor devices, circuit theory, signal analysis, analog and digital control, magnetics, and heat transfer. At Rensselaer, these fields are applied to electronic energy conversion, motion control, and system integration for the electric power, aerospace, information technology, and industrial automation industries. Current interests include wind and fuel cell power integration, monolithic power management solutions for microprocessors, efficient ac-dc and dc-dc power conversion for IT applications, integrated multilevel modeling and analysis of complex power electronics systems, and energy-efficient power architectures for residential and commercial buildings.

Plasma engineering has played a fundamental role in electrical engineering throughout the history of this discipline. High-temperature plasma research is crucial to the development of a controlled thermonuclear fusion energy source. Rensselaer’s Plasma Dynamics Laboratory has a very active research program on the development of particle beam diagnostic systems for magnetically confined plasma experiments. Specific diagnostic techniques are developed and tested on relatively small-scale experiments in the on-campus laboratory. Techniques are then scaled up and applied on major confinement experiments located at other U.S. universities (e.g., the Universities of Texas and Wisconsin), at U.S. national laboratories (e.g., Oak Ridge National Lab and Lawrence Livermore National Lab), and foreign institutions (e.g., the Japanese National Institute for Fusion Science and the Max-Planck Institute in Greifswald, Germany ).

Microelectronics and Photonics Technology

Advanced study and research include semiconductor devices for high-power, high-frequency, and opto-electronics applications, epitaxial and bulk growth of novel semiconductor materials and device structures, and the use and development of simulation and modeling tools for microelectronics and photonics device design.

An extensive micro and nano fabrication clean room in the Center for Integrated Electronics (CIE) is equipped with up to 8” wafer tools for end-to-end device fabrication, characterization, metrology, and testing of silicon-based devices and integrated circuits, and an array of equipment for compound semiconductor device processing. Research in this area focuses on novel device technology and process development, advanced electrical and optical interconnect processing, three dimensional hyper-integration, and the fabrication of micromechanical structures and microsystems. The recently acquired nanolithography tools, including nanoimprint, nano ink, and direct Ebeam writer enable microelectronic and photonic device fabrication at feature size of 10 nm.

The microelectronics and photonics group has several specialized laboratories equipped to meet industrial standards for advanced research techniques. The electronic materials laboratory includes several state-of-the-art bulk crystal growth systems, wafer slicing and chemical mechanical polishing facilities, liquid phase epitaxy system for multilayer hetero-epitaxial growth, and cold wall epitaxial reactors for the growth of single crystal III-V, IV-IV and II-VI semiconductors. Associated diagnostic equipments for structural, optical and electrical characterization of semiconductors are also available. In particular, a low pressure metalorganic vapor phase (MOVPE) epitaxial system for the growth of CdTe and related compounds, a low pressure horizontal cold wall and vertical hot wall reactor for the growth of SiC are available.

The high-voltage power device laboratory, as part of the NSF-sponsored Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES) at RPI, has equipment that can measure semiconductor power devices in wafer and package form up to 20,000 V and 25 A. The equipment includes a Sony/Tektronix 370A curve tracer, an HP 4155 parameter analyzer with a high power module, three Bertan power supplies, several Keithley voltage/current source measurement units, custom high-voltage rectifier, GTO and IGBT switching circuits, a 500 MHz digitizing oscilloscope, a Delta 9023 furnace, and manual and semi-automatic probe stations with high-temperature controller and chuck for device characterization.

The semiconductor device characterization laboratories are equipped for carrying out comprehensive electrical characterization of semiconductor devices. Automated measurement systems are available for CV and IV measurements and deep level transient spectroscopy. Facilities are available for cryogenic measurements of semiconductor devices at liquid nitrogen and helium temperatures.

The laboratories of the Future Chips Constellation include state-of-the-art metal-organic chemical-vapor deposition (MOCVD) for the epitaxial growth of III-V nitride materials and an array of advanced materials characterization tools. Light-emitting diodes that have advanced device architectures, emitting in the visible and ultra-violet spectrum, are routinely grown, processed, and evaluated. Laboratory facilities include epitaxial growth of compound semiconductors by metalorganic vapor-phase epitaxy and a complete line of state-of-the-art processing tools for the fabrication and characterization of electronic and photonic solid-state devices including light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

Research in association with the Focus Center-New York (FC-NY), which is part of the national Interconnect Focus Center (IFC), addresses the discovery and invention of new solutions that will enable the U.S. semiconductor industry to transcend known limits on interconnects that would otherwise decelerate or halt the rate of progress toward gigascale integration.

Also under investigation is a new regime of transistor operation in the terahertz range using the excitation and rectification of plasma waves in the transistor channel. This work is supported by modeling and parameter extraction based on our circuit simulator, AIM-Spice (with tens of thousands users world wide) and by materials and device research on multifunctional semiconductors having pyroelectric properties.

Within the ECSE Department and the Center for Integrated Electronics are numerous Sun workstations with a variety of commercial design and simulation software, presently including Cadence, Mentor, TMA, and Hewlett-Packard software suites. Research programs developing supplemental design tools for modeling integrated circuits, devices, processes, and interconnects have provided unique supplemental capabilities.

Faculty *


Bhat, I. —Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); sold state, electronic materials.

Boyer, K.L.Ph.D. (Purdue University); all aspects of computer vision and medical image analysis.


Chow, J.H.—P.E., Ph.D. (University of Illinois); large-scale system modeling, multivariable control systems.

Chow, T.P.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); semiconductor device physics and processing technology, integrated circuits.

Connor, K.A.—Ph.D. (Polytechnic Institute of New York); electromagnetic theory, wave propagation, plasmas for fusion research and industrial applications, finite element methods.

Desrochers, A.A.—Ph.D. (Purdue University); discrete event dynamic systems, robotics, automated manufacturing systems control.

Gerhardt, L.A.—Ph.D. (State University of New York at Buffalo); communication systems, digital voice and image processing, adaptive systems and pattern recognition, integrated manufacturing.

Kalyanaraman, S.—Ph.D. (Ohio State University); ATM and Internet traffic management, multimedia networking, IP telephony, performance analysis, Internet pricing.

McDonald, J.F.—Ph.D. (Yale University); communication theory, coding and switching theory, computer architecture, integrated circuit design, high frequency packaging, digital signal processing.

Nagy, G.—Ph.D. (Cornell University); pattern recognition, document-image analysis, optical character recognition, geometric computation, computer-mediated learning, computer vision.

Nelson, J.K.—C.Eng., Ph.D. (University of London); dielectrics and insulation systems, computer-based diagnostics, electrostatic phenomena.

Roysam, B.—D.Sc. (Washington University); intelligent imaging at low SNR, parallel computation, biomedical applications.

Salon, S.J.—P.E., Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh); machine design, system component modeling and simulation.

Sanderson, A.C.—Ph.D. (Carnegie Mellon University); robotics, knowledge-based systems, computer vision.

Saulnier, G.J.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); circuits and electronics, communication systems, digital signal processing.

Schubert, E.F.—Ph.D. (University of Stuttgart); compound semiconductor devices and materials, light emitting diodes, heterobipolar transistors, semiconductor device physics, solid state lighting.

Shur, M.S.—D.Sc. (Ioffe Institute); semiconductor materials and devices, integrated circuit simulation, characterization, and design.

Vastola, K.S.—Ph.D. (University of Illinois); computer and communication networks.

Wen, J.T.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); nonlinear control, robot control, flexible structures control, deformation processes control.

Woods, J.W.—Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); digital signal processing, image processing, digital image and video compression.

Wozny, M.J.—Ph.D. (University of Arizona); computer graphics, computer-aided design, digital simulation, rapid prototyping systems.

Zhang, X.-C.—Ph.D. (Brown University); ultrashort optical pulse spectroscopy, terahertz lasers.

Associate Professors

Abouzeid, A.A. —Ph.D. (University of Washington); packet networks.

Arcak, M.—Ph.D. (University of California, Santa Barbara); design and analysis of nonlinear control systems, adaptive control, applications to mechanical systems.

Dutta, P.S. —Ph.D. (Indian Institute of Science); compound semiconductor materials and devices, crystal growth and substrate engineering, semiconductor quantum dots and nano-particles, photovoltaics, optoelectronics and microelectronics technologies.

Franklin, W.R.—Ph.D. (Harvard University); computational geometry, graphics and CAD applications, large geometric databases, geographic information systems, terrain visibility and compression.

Ji, Q.—Ph.D. (University of Washington); computer vision, image processing, pattern recognition, robotics.

LeCoz, Y.L.—Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); numerical methods, random-walk algorithms for thermal and electromagnetic analysis of IC interconnects, quantum theory of semiconductor heterojunctions.

Lu, J. —Ph.D. (Technical University of Munich); electronic materials.

Radke, R.J.—Ph.D. (Princeton University); image and video processing.

Schoch, P.M.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); plasma diagnostics, instrumentation, engineering education.

Sikdar, B.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); computer networks.

Sun, J.—Ph.D. (University of Paderborn); power electronics and energy systems.

Xiang, N.—Ph.D. (Ruhr-University Bochum); signal processing, acoustic sensing, and architectural acoustics.

Yazici, B.—Ph.D. (Purdue University); inverse problems in biomedical imaging, tomography, diffuse optical tomography, biomedical optics, free space optical communications, ultrasonics, statistical pattern recognition theory and application.

Zhang, T.—Ph.D. (University of Minnesota); VLSI signal processing, error-correcting coding.

Assistant Professors

Hella, M.—Ph.D. (Ohio State University) RF and mixed signal VLSI circuits for wireless/optical transceivers; analog/RFIC design for bio-medical applications.

Huang, W.—Ph.D. (Carnegie Mellon University); robotic manipulation, mobile robotics.

Kar, K.—Ph.D. (University of Maryland); routing and traffic management in computer networks, congestion control and fair resource allocation, ad-hoc and sensor networks.

Parsa, L.—Ph.D. (Texas A&M University) power electronics, energy conversion and motion control.

Salama, K.N. —Ph.D. (Stanford University); mixed signal circuits for sensors, VLSI architectures for bio applications.

Sawyer, S.M.Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); optoelectronics, characterization, design, sensor development.

Research Professor

Kanai, J.Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); engineering education, software engineering, systems engineering.

Pearlman, W.A.—Ph.D. (Stanford University); information theory and source coding; image, video, and audio compression; digital image and signal processing.

Research Associate Professors

Millard, D.L.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); microelectronics design and manufacturing, nondestructive testing and evaluation, instrumentation systems, multimedia development.

Research Assistant Professor

Demers, D.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); fusion plasmas, plasma diagnostics.

Kim J.K.Ph.D. (Pohang University of Science and Technology); wide bandgap semiconductors, optoelectronic devices.

Adjunct Faculty

Anderson, T.R. —Ph.D. (New York University); electromagnetic theory, antennas, electromagnetic compatibility.

Bonissone, P.P.—Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley); theory of fuzzy sets.

Bonner, S.J.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); robotics.

Caola, R.J.—M.E. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); protective relaying.

Citriniti, T.D.—M.S. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); computer graphics and visualization.

Hershey, J.E.—Ph.D. (Oklahoma State University); communication systems, crytography, intellectual property management.

Kraft, R.P.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); digital control and manufacturing systems.

Marwali, M.K.—Ph.D. (Illinois Institute of Technology); power transmission and generators.

Prabhakara, F.S.—Ph.D. (Purdue University); power systems.

Sivasubramanian, K.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); electromagnetics, machines.

Thomenius, K.D.—Ph.D. (Rutgers University); imaging science.

Torrey, D.A.—P.E., Ph.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); semiconductor power electronics, electric machinery.

Yuksel, M.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); computer networks, Internet pricing, routing in wireless networks, large-scale network simulation.

Emeritus Faculty

Borrego, J.M. —P.E., Sc.D. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); semiconductor device physics and characterization, solar cells, application of microwaves.

Close, C.M.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); network analysis and synthesis, control systems.

Das, P.K.—Ph.D. (University of Calcutta); microwave acoustics, solid-state devices, integrated circuits.

Degeneff, R.C.—P.E., D.Eng. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); transient voltages in electrical machines and transformers, HVDC system design and electric utility system planning.

DiCesare, F.—Ph.D. (Carnegie Mellon University); discrete event systems, Petri net theory and applications manufacturing automation and integration, traffic control.

Frederick, D.K.—Ph.D. (Stanford University); automatic control, process modeling and control, computer simulation.

Ghandhi, S.K.—Ph.D. (University of Illinois); solid-state materials and devices, integrated circuits, device technology and electronic circuits.

Gutmann, R.J.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); solid-state devices, microwave techniques, and interconnection technology.

Greenwood, A.N.—Ph.D. (University of Leeds); electrical transients, interrupting devices.

Hickok, R.L., Jr.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); gaseous electronics, plasmas, energy conversion.

Jennings, W.C.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); plasma diagnostics, electronics manufacturing, multimedia educational materials.

Kelley, R.B.—Ph.D. (University of California, Los Angeles); methods to give machines smart behaviors, sensor-based automation/robotic systems, teaching methods.

Rose, K.—Ph.D. (University of Illinois); semiconductor and superconductor materials and processing, VLSI design and testing.

Savic, M.—Eng.Sc.D. (University of Belgrade); signal processing, biomedical electronics, electronics.

Saxena, A.N.—Ph.D. (Stanford University); solid-state materials, devices, integrated circuits, and advanced technologies.

Senior Research Engineer

Schatz, J.G. —A.A.S. (Hudson Valley Community College); vacuum and electronic systems.

* Departmental faculty listings are accurate as of the date generated for inclusion in this catalog. For the most up-to-date listing of faculty positions, including end-of-year promotions, please refer to the Faculty Roster section of this catalog, which is current as of the May 2008 Board of Trustees meeting. 

Undergraduate Programs

Objectives of the Undergraduate Curriculum

Graduates of the programs within Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering will be prepared to:

  • Obtain entry-level engineering positions in industry and/or admission to graduate study programs in their areas of interest.
  • Establish themselves as problem-solvers and innovators, having a solid foundation in electrical, computer and systems, or electric power engineering and the ability to apply this background to solve real-world problems.
  • Function effectively in a professional environment, having the necessary communication and leadership skills and the ability to view their own work in a broader context.
  • Continue to develop professionally through life-long learning.

Baccalaureate Programs

Within this department, students may obtain the Bachelor of Science degree in three disciplines, electrical engineering, computer and systems engineering, or electric power engineering. The department also encourages students to consider graduate study in any of these three curricula. A professional program option, which leads to both the B.S. and M.Eng. degree, is also open to qualified students.

Engineering design is introduced and developed in the required courses ENGR 2050, ENGR 2350, and ECSE 2610, and in various electives. These courses set the stage for capstone design experience in the design elective, a writing-intensive course that satisfies the Institute writing requirements.

The programs available within this department include course schedules for students who select any of the three ECSE disciplines as their chosen field of study. However, various arrangements can be made with the help of an adviser. In all cases, adviser approval of individual plans of study is necessary to ensure satisfaction of departmental and accreditation requirements. The adviser must also approve in writing any exceptions to the courses specified in the descriptions below.

All three of the ECSE curricula require completion of a minimum of 128 credit hours. Within all of these program areas, the Pass/No Credit option may be used only for humanities and social sciences electives (up to a maximum of six credits) or free electives. All other courses used to satisfy the degree requirements must be taken on a graded basis.

Dual Major Programs

These programs lead to a single baccalaureate degree embracing two fields. Special programs that can be completed in eight terms have been devised for:

  • Electrical engineering and applied physics
  • Electrical engineering and computer and systems engineering
  • Electrical engineering and electric power engineering
  • Computer and systems engineering and computer science

See the ECSE web page for detailed information about these programs.

Special Undergraduate Opportunities

ECSE offers a couple of special programs for highly qualified students. These include:

The Undergraduate Honors program
This program for outstanding undergraduates in electrical engineering or computer and systems engineering introduces research as a professional activity. All participants attend the ECSE Honors Seminar during their sophomore or junior year. Students also participate in at least one research project. An honors faculty adviser is assigned with whom special academic programs are developed that reflect the capabilities and interests of the exceptional student. Applications are accepted during a student’s third semester or thereafter. Forms are available from the department curriculum office.

The Grainger Scholar program
This program is for well-qualified U.S. students in electric power engineering. Through this program, the power industry, under the auspices of the Grainger Foundation, supports study at Rensselaer.

Graduate Programs

The department offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Engineering, Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy, and Doctor of Engineering in all three of the department curricula. In all cases, particular emphasis is placed on developing a coherent individualized Plan of Study with the help of a faculty adviser.

Master’s Programs

Both the M.S. and the M.Eng. require 30 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree.

Doctoral Programs

Advanced study and research for a Ph.D. or D.Eng. degree is conducted under the guidance of a thesis adviser representing the department. The student formulates an individual Plan of Study in consultation with the adviser. The doctoral qualifying examination should be taken prior to completing 15 credit hours beyond the master’s degree. A minimum of 60 credit hours beyond the master’s degree, including a dissertation, is required. The department expects the Institute requirements for candidacy and residency to be satisfied.

In the electric power engineering curricula, most study and research is of an applied nature, which is recognized in the awarding of the D.Eng. degree. However, courses and research directed more toward basic understanding of physical phenomena, such as the fundamental processes of electrical breakdown in dielectrics, can be pursued. This type of research would lead to the Ph.D. degree. This avenue also allows students with accredited degrees—not in engineering but perhaps in science—to obtain advanced degrees in the electric power area.

Special Graduate Opportunities

In collaboration with the various campus centers and other departments, ECSE sponsors master’s and doctoral program options in manufacturing systems and semiconductor technology. Descriptions of these programs are available upon request.

Minor Programs

Minors in any of the three ECSE curricula are open to undergraduates not majoring in any of these disciplines. The corresponding curriculum chair must approve all minors.

Course Descriptions

Courses directly related to all Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering curricula are described in the Course Description section of this catalog under the department codes CSCI, DSES, ECSE, ENVE, EPOW, ITEC, MATH, MATP, MTLE, and PHYS.

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