Feb 25, 2024  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Lyle School of Engineering

Professor Dinesh Rajan, Chair

Professors: Jerome K. Butler, Jung-Chih Chiao, Marc P. Christensen, Scott C. Douglas, Gary A. Evans, Ping Gui, Duncan L. MacFarlane, Suku Nair, Panos E. Papamichalis, Behrouz Peikari, Dinesh Rajan, Ron Rohrer, Mitch Thornton
Associate Professors: Joseph D. Camp, Carlos E. Davila, James G. Dunham, Jennifer Dworak, Choon S. Lee, Jianhui Wang
Assistant Professors: Mohammad Khodayar, Prasanna Rangarajan, Dario J. Villarreal Suarez
Senior Lecturer: M. Scott Kingsley
Adjunct Faculty: Sudipto Chakraborty, Joseph R. Cleveland, John Fattaruso, Clark D. Kinnaird, Rajin Koonjbearry, Peter Nguyen, John Rhymer, Kamakshi Sridhar, John Widhalm

General Information

The discipline of electrical and computer engineering is at the core of today’s technology-driven society. Personal computers, computer-communications networks, integrated circuits, optical technologies, digital signal processors and wireless communications systems have revolutionized the way people live and work, and extraordinary advances in these fields are announced every day. Because today’s society truly is a technological one, a degree in electrical engineering offers exceptional opportunities for financial security, personal satisfaction and an expansion of the frontiers of technology. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at SMU offers a full complement of courses at the bachelor’s degree level in communications, networks, digital signal processing, optoelectronics, electromagnetics, microelectronics, and systems and control.

The mission of the department is as follows:

Through quality instruction and scholarly research, to engage each student in a challenging electrical engineering education that prepares graduates for the full range of career opportunities in the high-technology marketplace and enables them to reach their fullest potential as a professional and as a member of society.

Departmental goals include the following:

  • Becoming one of the nation’s leading electrical engineering departments by building peaks of excellence in the fields of communications/signal processing and micro/optoelectronics and by being a leader in innovative educational programs.
  • Offering undergraduate curricula that equips graduates for careers that require ingenuity, integrity, logical thinking, and the ability to work and communicate in teams, and for the pursuit of graduate degrees in engineering or other fields such as business, dicine and law.
  • Offering world-class Ph.D. programs that prepare graduates for academic careers, for research careers in the high-technology industry or for technical entrepreneurship.
  • Promoting lifelong learning animated by a passion for the never-ending advance of technology.

The educational objectives of the undergraduate programs are to enable graduates to do the following:

  • Be successful in understanding, formulating, analyzing and solving a variety of electrical engineering problems.
  • Be successful in designing a variety of engineering systems, products or experiments.
  • Be successful in careers and/or graduate study in engineering or other areas such as business, medicine and law.
  • Have the ability to assume leadership and entrepreneurial positions.
  • Successfully function and effectively communicate both individually and in multidisciplinary teams.
  • Understand the importance of lifelong learning, ethics and professional accountability.

The undergraduate student outcomes for the electrical engineering and computer engineering programs as related to the above educational objectives are as follows:

All graduates of the electrical engineering program are expected to have the following:

  • An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.
  • An ability to apply the engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.
  • An ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  • An ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.
  • An ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.
  • An ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
  • An ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department is engaged in an ongoing assessment process that evaluates the success in meeting the educational objectives and outcomes and enhances the development of the program.

The undergraduate programs in electrical and computer engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org.

The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department emphasizes the following major areas of research interest:

  • Biomedical Engineering. Overview of biomedical engineering, biomedical devices and instrumentation, biomedical signal capture, processing, and modeling.
  • Communications and Information Technology. Detection and estimation theory, digital communications, computer networks, spread spectrum, cellular communications, coding, encryption, compression, and wireless and optical communications.
  • Control Systems. Linear and nonlinear systems control, robotics, and computer and robot vision.
  • Digital Signal Processing. Digital filter design, system identification, spectral estimation, adaptive filters, neural networks and DSP implementations.
  • Image Processing and Computer Vision. Digital image processing, computer vision and pattern recognition.
  • Lasers, Optoelectronics, Electromagnetic Theory and Microwave Electronics. Classical optics, fiber optics, laser recording, integrated optics, dielectric waveguides, antennas, transmission lines, laser diodes and signal processors, and superconductive microwave and optoelectronic devices.
  • Solid State Circuits, Computer-Aided Circuit Design and VLSI Design. Electronic circuits, computer-aided design, very large-scale integration design and memory interfaces.
  • Electronic Materials and Solid State Devices. Fabrication and characterization of devices and materials, device physics, noise in solid state devices, infrared detectors, AlGaAs and GaAs devices and materials, superconductivity, superconductive devices and electronics, thin films, hybrid superconductor-semiconductor devices, ultrafast electronics, and applications of a scanning tunneling microscope.
  • Telecommunications. Overview of modern telecommunications components and systems, data communications, digital telephony, and digital switching.
  • Power Engineering. Power system operation and planning, renewable energy integration, smart grid, transportation electrification, and resilient energy networks.

Department Facilities

The department has access to the Lyle School of Engineering academic computing resources, consisting of shared-use computer servers and desktop client systems connected to a network backbone. All of the servers in the Lyle School of Engineering are running some variant of UNIX or Microsoft Windows. There is one primary file server that exports files using FNS or CIFS protocols. Each user, whether faculty, staff or student, has a “home” directory on the central file server. This directory is exported to other servers or desktop computers, regardless of operating systems, as needed. There are more than 40 servers whose purposes include the following: file service, UNIX mail, Exchange mail, firewall, UNIX authentication, NT authentication, printer management, lab image download, classroom-specific software, X windows service, news, domain name service, computational resources, and general use. This primary file server allows a user’s files to be used as a resource in both the UNIX and Microsoft PC environments. Almost all computing equipment within the Lyle School of Engineering is connected to the engineering network at 100 megabits and higher. The network backbone is running at a gigabit per second over fiber. Most servers and all engineering buildings are connected to this gigabit backbone network. The backbone within the Engineering School is connected to both the Internet 2 and the campus network that is then connected to the Internet at large. In addition to servers and shared computational resources, the Lyle School of Engineering maintains a number of individual computing laboratories associated with the departments. Specific department laboratory facilities for instruction and research include the following:

Antenna Laboratory. This laboratory consists of two facilities for fabrication and testing. Most of the antennas fabricated at the SMU antenna lab are microstrip antennas. Antennas are made with milling machines. Fabricated antennas are characterized with a network analyzer. Workstations are available for antenna design and simulation with COMSOL and HFSS. Radiation characteristics are measured at the SMU Antenna Characterization Chamber in the SMU East campus, where the frequency ranges from 500 MHz to 40 GHz.

Biomedical Engineering Laboratory. This laboratory contains instrumentation for carrying out research in electrophysiology and psychophysics. Four Grass physiographs permit the measurement of electroencephalograms as well as visual and auditory evoked brain potentials. The lab also contains a state-of-the-art dual Purkinje eye tracker and image stabilizer, a Vision Research Graphics 21-inch Digital Multisync Monitor for displaying visual stimuli, and a Cambridge Research Systems visual stimulus generator capable of generating a variety of stimuli for use in psychophysical and electro-physiological experiments.

Circuit Fabrication Laboratory. This lab is fully equipped with modern fabrication tools to design and fabricate multi-layer circuit boards of various sizes, complexity, and design rules, ideally suited for RF and microwave applications. An automated circuit board plotter produces PCB prototypes from CAD files, for both rigid and flexible substrates. An integrated through-hole electroplating system yields reliable copper layers on the surfaces of all existing vias, including multilayer boards. The boards are passed through six cascaded baths that are integrated in a safe enclosed benchtop system. Multi-layer boards are fabricated using a benchtop multi-layer hydraulic press to aid in bonding the layers together. The lab also includes an automated de-solder/solder tool for surface mount components, and supporting instruments such as oscilloscopes, multi-meters, and microscopes. 

Integrated Circuits and Systems Laboratory. This facility has state-of-the-art design tools and equipment to conduct design, simulations, and measurements of integrated circuits and systems. The tools, facility and equipment include electronic design automation (EDA) tools such as Cadence, ADS, Synopsys, HFSS, and Xilinx software; IC measurement equipment including a high-speed sampling oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer, RF signal sources and a network analyzer. The SMU high-performance computer cluster is used for mixed-signal simulations.

Multimedia Systems Laboratory. This facility includes an acoustic chamber with adjoining recording studio to allow high-quality sound recordings to be made. The chamber is sound isolating with double- or triple-wall Sheetrock on all four sides, as well as an isolating ceiling barrier above the drop ceiling. The walls of the chamber have been constructed to be nonparallel to avoid flutter echo and dominant frequency modes. Acoustic paneling on the walls of the chamber are removable and allow the acoustic reverberation time to be adjusted to simulate different room acoustics. The control room next to the acoustic chamber includes a large, 4-foot-by-8-foot acoustic window and an inert acoustic door facing the acoustic chamber. Up to 16 channels of audio can be carried in or out of the chamber to the control room. Experiments conducted in the Multimedia Systems Laboratory include blind source separation, deconvolution and dereverberation. Several of the undergraduate courses in electrical engineering use sound and music to motivate system-level design and signal processing applications. The Multimedia Systems Laboratory can be used in these activities to develop data sets for use in classroom experiments and laboratory projects for students to complete.

NeuroMechatronics Lab. This laboratory is a fully equipped biomechatronics facility, which supports the activities of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students in theoretical and experimental tasks related to research in human-robot interfaces. The lab has the equipment to analyze, interpret, and decode the biomechanics and biological signals of human across a wide range of activities. In addition, this laboratory has the equipment to rapid prototype and test data-driven control systems in robotic and wearable devices designed to improve the quality of life in impaired individuals. The main equipment in the lab consists of a 16-camera motion capture system, wireless electromyography and electroencephalography sensors, and a lower-limb robotic exoskeleton.

Photonic Architectures Laboratory. This laboratory is a fully equipped optomechanical prototyping facility, supporting the activities of faculty and graduate students in experimental and analytical tasks. The lab is ideally suited for the prototyping, integration and testing of optical devices and systems. It includes infrastructure for imaging at microscopic and macroscopic scales. The lab has five optical tables three of which include vibration isolation. It also contains an assortment of light sources, both coherent and incoherent sources, at visible and infrared wavelengths. Devices for patterning light including Spatial Light Modulators, deformable mirror and pattern projectors. The lab also includes an assortment of detectors ranging from single pixel area detectors to focal plane arrays (FPA) at visible and infrared wavelengths. The lab additionally contains lock-in FPA’s and Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors featuring support for per-pixel homodyne detection. The lab also hosts a variety of measurement equipment including a wavefront sensor and a surface profilometer. A vast array of manual and motorized optomechanical components are also available. Support electronics hardware includes various test instrumentation, such as arbitrary waveform generators, and a variety of CAD tools for optical and electronic design, including optical ray trace and finite difference time domain software.

Photonic Characterization Laboratory. This laboratory is dedicated to characterizing the optical and electrical properties of photonic devices. Equipment in this laboratory program includes optical spectrum analyzers, optical multimeters, visible and infrared cameras, an automated laser characterization system for edge-emitting lasers, a manual probe test system for surface-emitting lasers, a manual probe test system for edge-emitting laser die and bars, and near- and far-field measurement systems. 

Photonics Devices and Systems Laboratory. The PDSL houses a wealth of resources for developing and applying photonic components, devices and systems, including optics, mounting hardware, optical tables, design software, electronic instrumentation and fabrication equipment. Examples of ongoing research areas include communications and instrumentation, particularly for biomedical applications.

Photonics Simulation Laboratory. This laboratory has developed and continuously updates software for modeling and designing semiconductor lasers, optical waveguides, optical fibers, couplers, switches and optical waveguide isolators. These programs include:

  • WAVEGUIDE: Calculates near-field, far-field and effective indices of dielectric waveguides and semiconductor lasers. Each layer can contain gain or loss.
  • GAIN: Calculates the gain as a function of energy, carrier density and current density for strained and unstrained quantum wells for a variety of material systems.
  • GRATING: Uses the Floquet Bloch approach and the boundary element method to calculate reflection, transmission and outcoupling of dielectric waveguides and laser structures with periodic layers or interfaces.
  • FIBER: Calculates the fields, effective index, group velocity and dispersion for fibers with circularly symmetric index of refraction profiles.
  • WAVEGUIDEISOLATOR: Calculates the bi-directional propagation constants in optical waveguides with ferromagnetic layers for the design, fabrication and analysis of integrated waveguide isolators.

Semiconductor Processing Cleanroom. The 2,800 square-foot cleanroom, consisting of a 2,400 square-foot, Class 10,000 room and a Class 1,000 lithography area of 400 square feet, is located in the Jerry R. Junkins Engineering Building. A partial list of equipment in this laboratory includes acid and solvent hoods, photoresist spinners, two contact mask aligners, a thermal evaporator, a plasma asher, a plasma etcher, a turbo-pumped methane hydrogen reactive ion etcher, a four-target sputtering system, a plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition reactor, a diffusion-pumped four pocket e-beam evaporator, an ellipsometer and profilometers. Other equipment includes a boron-trichloride reactive ion etcher, a chemical-assisted ion-beam etcher, a four-tube diffusion furnace, numerous optical microscopes and a scanning electron microscope. The cleanroom is capable of processing silicon, compound (III-V) semiconductors and piezo-electric materials for microelectronic, photonic and nanotechnology devices. 

Submicron Grating Laboratory. This laboratory is dedicated to holographic grating fabrication and has the capability of 70 nm lines and spaces. Equipment in this laboratory includes a floating air table, a 266 nm UV laser, and an Atomic Force Microscope. This laboratory is used to make photonic devices with periodic features such as distributed feedback, distributed Bragg reflector, and grating-outcoupled and photonic crystal semiconductor lasers along with grating couplers and silicon photonic devices. Measurements of radiation patterns of millimeter wave gratings can be evaluated in the W band.

Wireless Systems Laboratory. This laboratory contains an array of infrastructure for experimentation across a number of wireless frequency bands, platforms and environments for research and instruction in lab-based courses on wireless communications and networking. The infrastructure includes 1) state-of-the-art test equipment for repeatability, control and observability of wireless channels, including complex channel emulators, fixed and mobile spectrum analyzers, wide-band oscilloscopes, and signal generators; 2) a wide range of reprogrammable wireless testbeds that operate from 400 MHz to 6 GHz for IEEE 802.11, cellular, and Bluetooth network and protocol development; and 3) diverse mobile phones and tablets that enable participatory sensing, context-aware applications and large-scale deployment in the field. The in-lab infrastructure is also enhanced by multiple outdoor antennas deployed on campus buildings and buses for understanding real wireless channels.

Curriculum in Electrical and Computer Engineering

The undergraduate curriculum in electrical and computer engineering provides the student with basic principles through required courses, and specialization through a guided choice of elective courses.

Areas of Specialization

Due to the extensive latitude in course selection and to the wide variety of courses available within both the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the University as a whole, it is possible for the student to concentrate his or her studies in a specific professional area such as biomedical, engineering leadership, or smart wireless and embedded systems.

Each student may select one specialization or may personalize his or her degree by a particular choice of advanced major electives. Students should choose a specialization as soon as possible; however, for many students, this process continues from term to term as the individual becomes better acquainted with the discipline and with the choices available.

Students may pursue a second degree program in math or physics. Students wishing to obtain a second degree in mathematics or physics should contact the respective departments in Dedman College to discuss the requirements.




      Electrical and Computer Engineering

      The third digit in a course number designator represents the subject area of the course. The following designators are used:

      XX1X Electronic Materials
      XX2X Electronic Devices
      XX3X Quantum Electronics and Electromagnetic Theory
      XX4X Biomedical Science
      XX5X Network Theory and Circuits
      XX6X Systems
      XX7X Information Science and Communication Theory
      XX8X Computers and Digital Systems
      XX9X Individual Instruction, Research, Seminar and Special Project

      Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Lyle School of Engineering