Electrical and Computer Engineering (ELCE) is a profession that is constantly changing to meet societal needs. The ELCE discipline has created significant impact on human life in the past 50 years or so, and some of the key impacts of the field in our day to day living include: electrification, telephony, television, computers, internet, imaging, media devices, home appliances, and medical technologies. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers highly structured programs that emphasize not only the theoretical fundamentals but also the practical aspects of the engineering profession.
The following program options are available:
Energy Systems Option – One of the most important areas of engineering where topics such as alternative fuels, energy conversion, efficiency and green power take centre stage.
Microsystems Option – This important option focuses on electronics and integrated circuit design in the nanoscale era which enables the creation of System-on-Chip where hundreds of millions of transistors can be integrated on a single chip. Theory will be supported by laboratory work using industry-class software and equipments.
Multimedia Systems Option – This option will deal with issues such as digital images, video, audio and multimedia, and will focus on theory, implementation, impact and convergence which are evident in current cutting edge digital technologies and consumer products.
Robotics and Control Systems Option – Control systems are found in a broad range of applications, from aircraft to spacecraft to automobiles to robots. This option focuses on the design and implementation of control systems and their application to robotics.
These program options will be in addition to the regular BEng in Electrical Engineering accredited by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB). The options will be effective for students entering their sixth semester from winter 2009 onwards.
It should be noted that the first five semesters of the program are common. It is only in the sixth semester that a student will decide on an option, if he or she wishes to pursue one. In the sixth semester, students decide on two of the three courses for an option. This flexibility also ensures that even at the end of the sixth semester if a student is planning to switch an option, he or she can do so without taking any additional courses or spending an additional semester. Another notable thing with the structure of the sixth semester is that the students are exposed to some key subject areas, and the exposure to these materials will help the students to be better prepared to participate in the optional Co-operative Internship Program offered by the department, in which the student will spend 12 to 16 months in industry designing and working with electrical, electronics, telecommunications, and computer products. The restructuring of the courses in the sixth semester also makes the students well positioned for the many summer research work employment opportunities available to them. The options will also lead to a better informed Capstone design project by the students in their 4th year of study.
Computer Engineering Program
The computer revolution has created vast industries and countless jobs that employ professionals educated in electrical and computer engineering, computer science and information technology- all closely related disciplines involving the understanding and design of computers and computational processes. Computer profession specialities constitute a continuum. At one pole is computer science, which is primarily concerned with theory, design and implementation of software- the product being a computer program. At the other pole is computer engineering, primarily concerned with firmware (the micro-code that controls processors), hardware (the processors themselves, as well as entire computers), software (system-level and user/application-level) and interfacing systems (both at hardware and software level) that will allow computer systems to communicate with the outside world as well as with each other. It is not possible, however, to draw a clear line between the two disciplines; many practitioners function to at least some extent as both computer engineers and computer scientists. Computer Engineers distinguish themselves with their versatile set of skills: they can design and build computers, interface them with the outside world and make them talk to each other, develop firmware and also create system-level and user/application-level software.
The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers highly structured programs that emphasize not only the theoretical fundamentals but also the practical aspects of the engineering profession. The curriculum in the first two years of the Computer Engineering and the Electrical Engineering programs are identical. The first-year courses will provide the students with grounding in engineering science fundamentals such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science and the theory of electric circuits. The second year of the program introduces discrete mathematics, data structures and engineering algorithms, and electrical engineering core subjects such as analog and digital electronic circuits and systems. In the third year, students will further study computer architecture, microcomputer systems, object-oriented analysis and design, digital electronics, communication systems and control theory.
In the final year of the program, students will take courses in data communications, digital systems engineering, real-time operating systems, VLSI design and numerical techniques. The fourth year curriculum also allows students further specialization in a variety of subject areas through an extensive technical electives list. During this final year of the program all students must complete a mandatory group design project. The key objective of the Design Project is to encourage students to plan, design and implement their project while developing the skills to make key decisions independently.