ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
ECE News

2005 Annual Report

2005 Report

ECE 2005 cover

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Features

Building a Better Lightbulb
Louis Guido and G.Q. Lu are trying to build a better light bulb by combining an unconventional approach to the architecture and packaging of the light emitting diode (LED) with nano-technology developed at Virginia Tech. Their effort is now possible with the new ECE/MSE metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) laboratory, which begins operation in June.

Formality Rules
As computing systems grow increasingly complex and integrated into all aspects of life, verification, testing, and debugging have taken the biggest role in product design.

Wired for Motion
Computer Engineering Professor Tom Martin believes that electronic textiles (e-textiles) can improve medical monitoring, safety, and consumer applications, while possibly giving a much-needed boost to the region's struggling textile industry.

Wireless Networking
Wireless communications research is in crisis, according to Allen MacKenzie. Researchers and engineers tend to focus on point-to-point access and signals, however, the biggest issues are quickly becoming dynamic and complex wireless networks. "We have no unifying theory of how they work, and we need this theory to be engineers," he said. "We need analytical tools so we can build and operate these complex systems."

Revised CPE Program
Embedded systems and real-time operations dominate the work of most computer engineers, and Virginia Tech's CPE faculty has revised the curriculum to emphasize that focus.

Where have all the red squirrels gone?
Students in James Armstrong's Design of Systems on a Chip (ECE 5524) class jumped into bio-mathematical computation last fall when they designed hardware accelerators for a "competition between species" model. Armstrong uses the competition between red and grey squirrels to as a real life example to teach his students about modeling biological systems.

Personal Laboratories
In a move to encourage personal exploration and experimentation throughout the curriculum, the ECE department has developed portable laboratories for students to purchase and use at home that support a sequence of four required courses.

Research