ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
ECE News

Retirements and Departures

James R. Armstrong

Photograph of James ArmstrongJames R. Armstrong has retired and been named professor emeritus. He joined ECE in 1975 and was instrumental in establishing the computer engineering program. An expert in computer architecture, hardware description languages, and logic design, he was the first professor in the world to teach a comprehensive design course using the VHDL language. He was a member of the original IEEE VHDL standardization committee, authored the first book on VHDL modeling, and co-authored two other books on VHDL. He also served as project director of the VHDL Validation Suite Project.


Armstrong developed innovative approaches to teaching hardware description languages and computer architecture, in both on-campus and distance-learning settings. His industrial contacts resulted in donations of $6.6 million of hardware and software, enabling Virginia Tech students to use the latest computer design tools in their classes.


He earned his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in EE from Marquette University in 1961, 1971, and 1975 respectively. He was promoted to associate professor in 1979, and to full professor in 1985. He served as the founding director of the Virginia Tech Information Systems Center from 1997 through 1998.


Walling R. Cyre

Photograph of Walling CyreWalling R. Cyre retired in May and has been named associate professor emeritus. He joined the department in 1989, after serving 12 years with Control Data Corporation.


An expert in design automation, he headed the Automatic Design Research Group, which pursues the construction of behavioral models of digital systems from textual descriptions written in controlled English.


The group’s Knowledge Extractor and ModelMaker tools have been distributed to groups in both universities and industry. Cyre involved undergraduates and graduate students in his design automation research.


Cyre earned his B.S, M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Florida in 1965, 1970, and 1973 respectively.

Nathaniel Davis, IV

Nathaniel Davis, IV, has left Virginia Tech for a position as Department Head of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology, where he earlier served as assistant professor. Davis joined the department as a specialist in computer engineering in 1989 after 12 years of service in the U.S. Army.