Jun 25, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2015-2016 
Rensselaer Catalog 2015-2016 [Archived Catalog]

Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering

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Department Head: Dr. Michael Wozny

Graduate Program Director: Dr. Kenneth S. Vastola

Curriculum Chair: Dr. Gary J. Saulnier

Department Home Page: http://www.ecse.rpi.edu/

Engineering can be described as “Science in Service to Society.” Nowhere is that more evident than in Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering. Electrical, computer, and systems engineers have long been at the forefront of new discoveries and their integration into advanced design and engineering methodologies. The impact of electrical, computer, and systems engineers on society can be seen in areas as diverse as medicine and medical technology, communications, environmental monitoring, energy sources and systems, entertainment and gaming, advanced transportation systems, and more. 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.

Addressing perhaps the broadest of scientific disciplines, Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering (ECSE) rests on a wide range of scientific fundamentals and therefore offers numerous advantages for undergraduate and graduate study. Among them is the ability to attack the many facets of modern problems of social relevance that cut across disciplinary lines. The flexibility for students to embark on individually tailored programs and for the department to launch new areas of research is a hallmark of ECSE.

The department offers programs of study leading to bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in both electrical engineering and in computer and systems engineering. Each curriculum is sufficiently flexible to accommodate a wide range of interests. The curriculum the student selects, and the detailed program within the chosen curriculum, is determined by his or her specific interests.

Research Innovations and Initiatives

The following area descriptions capture activities in research and education across a set of fairly broad technical areas. Individual research groups reside within these broad curricular areas, overlap to sometimes significant degrees, and are highly dynamic and fluid in size and composition as new research initiatives and opportunities arise. These descriptions are therefore best taken as a snapshot of the Department’s research and curricular profile, and the lists of topics and areas are not necessarily exhaustive. Prospective graduate students are encouraged to visit faculty listings and Web pages, and to contact individual faculty with whom they may share technical interests to learn more.

Communications, Information, and Signal Processing
Advanced study and research in this field deals with the encoding, transmission, retrieval, and interpretation of information in many forms. Students may pursue programs of study focusing on mathematical foundations, improved algorithms, and hardware/software implementation. Communications research focuses on the transmission of information over wireless, optical, and wired channels. Telecommunications engineering creates wired and wireless systems that satisfy desirable societal, bandwidth, and hardware constraints. Research in statistical communications aims at reducing adverse effects on signal transmission in such systems through probabilistic modeling. The channels considered range from subminiature networks inside a computer chip, through broadband cable and communications satellites.

Information processing addresses the theory and engineering design associated with interpreting and manipulating received data, primarily in discrete form. Information theory and rate-distortion theory provide the foundation for a quantitative understanding of the nature and meaning of information. These theories treat the fundamental limits and algorithms for saving memory and bandwidth and protecting against transmission errors. Special research emphases at Rensselaer are the applications to image and video compression and transmission. A current exciting application area is network coding.

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

There is significant overlap with research activities in computer networking, image processing, geographic information sciences, and computer vision.

Computer Vision, Image Processing, Digital Media, and Computational Geometry
Research in this area covers a range of technologies and applications. Rensselaer has a number of specialized laboratories in which this work is undertaken. These include the Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems (CenSSIS), the Center for Image Processing Research (CIPR), the Computational Geometry and Document Analysis Laboratory (DocLab), the Computational Imaging Laboratory, Advanced Imaging Systems Laboratory, and the Intelligent Systems Laboratory.

Research areas include image reconstruction, pattern recognition, computer vision, image and video processing, artificial intelligence, computer graphics, machine learning, computational geometry, geographic information science and computational cartography, probabilistic reasoning and decision making under uncertainty, optical scanning systems, and Internet image analysis services.

Primary application areas include systems biology, computer-assisted surgery, radiation treatment planning, diffuse optical and optical coherence tomography, synthetic aperture imaging, distributed RF imaging, automatic target recognition, camera networks, range data processing, document image analysis, large geometric datasets, image and video processing for human viewers, image analysis aids to neurobiology, and multimodality imaging and analysis. Additional application areas include bioinformatics, human fatigue monitoring, activity monitoring and situational awareness, human computer interaction, eye and gaze tracking, video imagery activity interpretation, robot localization, robotic devices for automated scoring of assays for the biotechnology industry, biotech assay automation, and biological multidimensional microscopy.

Work related to digital media includes such topics as image and video compression for networks, camera networks and video analysis for large performance spaces, advanced image and video compression, image and video transmission, retrieval, and visualization, 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 Engineering, Hardware, Architecture, and Networks
The development of advanced computer systems and their interconnection to facilitate ubiquitous and pervasive computing capabilities is the primary focus of this group. Research topics related to the design, implementation, layout, and testing of hardware systems 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.

Other ongoing research 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.

The computer networking research group works on the development of protocols and architectures for both wired and wireless networks and their modeling for performance evaluation. Emerging technologies for wireless and optical last mile access, wireless sensors networks, network management, traffic management, congestion control, traffic engineering, and quality-of-service (QoS) architectures form the basic areas of current research. The networking group also participates in interdisciplinary research in control theory, economics, scalable simulation technologies, and video compression.

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, biomedical and biological systems, and discrete-event systems.

Research in robotics and automation is inherently interdisciplinary. ECSE faculty in this area coordinates closely with the Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering; 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
Research in energy sources and systems is becoming critically important to meet the world’s increasing energy needs and demands within the environmental, economic, and national security constraints today. Department faculty are conducting active research programs and projects in electric and magnetic field computation, electrical transients and switching technology, dielectrics and insulation systems, power system analysis and optimization, energy harvesting electromechanical devices, photovoltaic devices and systems, semiconductor power devices and 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.

An electrical insulation system 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 both experimentation and computer modeling. Much of the effort is currently being directed at the development of nanodielectric structures for use as high-voltage insulation for which substantial enhancements have been demonstrated, in collaboration with the Materials Science and Engineering Department.

In the power system area, ongoing research includes dispatch and control of voltage-sourced converter based flexible AC transmission systems, in conjunction with the operations of actual hardware installations in power transmission companies. A new area of research is the application of high-sampling rate synchronized phasor data to improve the operation of large power grids. The research covers phasor data streaming and database management, off-line disturbance event analysis, and real-time applications in visualization and state estimation.

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 and electromechanics play critical roles in ensuring energy security and achieving high energy efficiency. These energy converters provide the foundation for the utilization and integration of renewable energy resources, and enable energy-efficient technologies such as solid-state lighting, variable-speed motor drives, and more-electric transportation systems. Work in these multidisciplinary fields requires an understanding of semiconductor devices, circuit theory, signal analysis, analog and digital control, magnetics, and heat transfer. Current interests and research activities include smart power semiconductor (Si, GaAs, SiC, GaN and diamond) devices and ICs; efficient ac-dc and dc-dc power conversion for IT, lighting and other electronics applications; renewable energy systems and smart grids; autonomous and mobile power systems and vibration-based energy harvesting systems enabled by power electronics; as well as multilevel modeling and analysis of complex power electronics and electromechanical systems.

High-temperature plasma research is crucial to the development of a controlled thermonuclear fusion energy source. Rensselaer’s Plasma Dynamics Laboratory has an active research program on the development of particle beam diagnostic systems and sub-system controls for magnetically confined plasma experiments. Specific techniques are developed and tested in the on-campus laboratory and then scaled up and applied on major confinement experiments located at other U.S. universities (e.g., the University of Wisconsin), at U.S. national laboratories (e.g., Oak Ridge National Lab), and foreign institutions (e.g., the Max-Planck Institute in Greifswald, Germany).

The current roadmap for photovoltaic (PV) device and system technology is based on few well established concepts from decades ago. Though theoretical predictions show that one could achieve very high efficiencies in solar to electricity conversion, breakthroughs are required in the device designs and system architectures to enable cheaper materials and manufacturing processes that can deliver the ultra-high efficiency energy converters. Mere industrial scale-up of processes is not enough for reducing the per-watt cost to make PV a sustainable mainstream energy supply source. The scope of our research activities in this area include: design and fabrication of full solar spectrum PV systems with III-V compound semiconductor devices, integrated power switching devices, non-imaging optical solar concentrator systems and nano-rod based passive optical elements.

Electrophysical Devices and Systems
The discovery of new devices and improvement of existing ones led to the modern electronic industry. These new devices are the basic building blocks of any new systems that positively impact daily life. Many department faculty work in developing such new devices using cutting edge technology and then employ them in building state of the art systems. State of the art laboratory facilities exist to carry out advanced study and research in these areas.

A common user facility accessible to all students and faculty is the microfabrication clean room (MCR) housed in the Center for Integrated Electronics (CIE). This MCR 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 equipments for compound semiconductor device processing. In addition, the nanolithography tools, including nanoimprint, nano ink, and direct e-beam writer enable microelectronic and photonic device fabrication at feature size of 10 nm. This MCR is being used extensively for research in association with the Focus Center-New York (FC-NY), which is part of the national Interconnect Focus Center (IFC), addressing the discovery and invention of new electrical, optical, and thermal interconnect solutions. It also enables hyper-integration of heterogeneous components for future terascale systems.

One of the new projects involves investigation of 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 of users world wide) and by materials and device research on multifunctional semiconductors having pyroelectric properties. A variety of commercial design and simulation software, presently including Cadence, Mentor, TMA, and Hewlett-Packard software suites, are available for modeling integrated circuits, devices, processes, and interconnects that enable the discovery of new devices.

Several specialized laboratories are available that are 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, II-VI semiconductors. This equipment is used to grow and fabricate infrared devices, thermophotovoltaic devices and advanced solar cells. The high-voltage power device laboratory, as part of the Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES), is used in designing and fabricating high voltage and high power semiconductor devices. Equipment to characterize these devices in wafer and package form up to 20 kV and 25A is available.

The newly established Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center (ERC) ushers in a new era in how humankind harnesses the enormous capabilities of light. The center is funded by the National Science Foundation and has a potential budget of about $50 million over 10 years. The Smart Lighting ERC develops and employs light sources based on semiconductors that exhibit very high efficiency as well as detailed controllability. The controllability, by design or by real-time tunability, includes the emission spectrum, the color temperature, the polarization, the spatial emission pattern, and the temporal modulation. The controllability of semiconductor-based smart lighting sources is a unique feature that is not shared by any other light source.

In contrast to conventional light sources, the efficiency of semiconductor-based solid-state lighting devices is not determined by fundamental limits. Instead the efficiency of solid-state lighting devices is limited only by our own creativity. Overcoming current limitations enables solid-state lighting devices to be up to 20 times more efficient than conventional light bulbs. As a result, gigantic quantities of energy and financial resources could be saved by the global introduction of solid-state lighting. In addition, solid-state lighting technology can dramatically reduce the emission of green-house gases, acid-rain gases, and highly toxic mercury.

An equally important aspect of solid-state lighting devices is their ability to be tunable, interactive, responsive, and intelligent, thereby making them truly smart devices. The Smart Lighting ERC will demonstrate revolutionary lighting systems with controllability and tunability in four system testbeds: A bio-imaging testbed based on high-luminance spectrally tunable sources, a high-efficiency display testbed based on polarized sources, and outdoor transportation testbed, and an indoor communications testbed implementing novel modes of communications.

Facilities for conducting Smart Lighting research include the 5,000 square foot ERC Central Laboratories, located in RPI’s George Low building, which include a wide array of semiconductor device fabrication and characterization tools as well as instruments for systems research and testbed implementation.

The above semiconductor devices are the building blocks of many systems, and many faculty do research in the design, implementation, layout, and testing of hardware systems. 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 wafer-to-wafer bonded 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 exploration of possible post-silicon technology including SiGe, GaAs/GaInAs, InP, GaN, (both FET and HBT) and nanoelectroics; silicon-based radio-frequency power amplifiers; multi-Gb/s broadband communication circuits; 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.



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.

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.

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.

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

Karlicek, R.F.Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh); compound semiconductor materials and devices, device packaging, lasers and light emitting diodes, solid state lighting.

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

Associate Professors

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

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

Huang, Z.R.—Ph.D. (Georgia Institute of Technology); optoelectronic devices, integration and packaging, 3-D integrated microsystems, lightwave circuits, integrated slow wave structures, photodetectors, electro-optic modulators and laser diodes.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Assistant Professors

Julius, A.A.—Ph.D. (University of Twente); mathematical systems theory and control, systems biology, control of biological systems, hybrid systems.

Tajer, A.—Ph.D. (Columbia University); information theory, wireless communication, statistical signal processing, smart grids.

Wang, M.—Ph.D. (Cornell University); computer and communication networks, signal processing.

Wu, W.—Ph.D. (Geogia Institute of Technology); systems and control theory, multi-agent systems, robotics.

Professor of Practice

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


Braunstein, J.—Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); microwave heating, antenna theory, and numerical computing.

Kraft, R.P.Ph.D. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute); embedded systems and control education, electronic manufacturing inspection, high-speed digital circuits.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.


* 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 2015 Board of Trustees meeting.

Undergraduate Programs

Outcomes of the  Undergraduate Curricula
Students who successfully complete the program in Electrical Engineering or Computer and Systems Engineering will be able to demonstrate:

  • an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering.
  • an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
  • an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability.
  • an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams.
  • an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems.
  • an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility.
  • an ability to communicate effectively.
  • the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental and societal context.
  • a recognition of the need for and an ability to engage in lifelong learning.
  • a knowledge of contemporary issues.
  • an ability to use techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.

Objectives of the Undergraduate Curricula

The Electrical and Computer and Systems Engineering programs are each designed to prepare students for continued learning and successful careers in industry, government, academia, and consulting. Within a few years of graduation our graduates of the Bachelor of Science programs are expected to:

  • pursue professional positions and/or graduate study in their areas of interest.
  • contribute to the body of knowledge in their professional disciplines through problem-solving, discovery, leadership, and responsible application of technology.
  • continue to develop both professionally and personally through activities such as participation in professional societies, continuing education, and community service.

The Electrical Engineering and Computer and Systems Engineering degree programs are each independently accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

Baccalaureate Programs

Within the department, students may obtain the Bachelor of Science degree in either of two disciplines: electrical engineering or computer and systems engineering. The department also encourages students to consider graduate study in either of these curricula.

Engineering design is introduced and developed throughout the program, setting the stage for a capstone design experience. The capstone design experience is a communcations-intensive course and satisfies the Institute writing requirements as it prepares the student for a professional career.

Starting templates are available for students who select either of the ECSE disciplines. 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.

The electrical engineering curriculum requires completion of a minimum of 128 credit hours; the computer and systems engineering curriculum requires 129 credit hours. In either case, 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
  • 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 whose individual studies emphasize energy sources and systems. Through this program, the Grainger Foundation supports study in energy and power at Rensselaer.

Graduate Programs

The department offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Engineering, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy in both 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. 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.

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.

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, ECSE, ENVE, ISYE, ITEC, MATH, MATP, MTLE, and PHYS.


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