Electrical Engineering

1300 S. W. Mudd, MC 4712
Phone: 212-854-3105

Contemporary electrical engineering is a broad discipline that encompasses a wide range of activities. A common theme is the use of electrical and electromagnetic signals for the generation, transmission, processing, storage, conversion, and control of information and energy. An equally important aspect is the human interface and the role of individuals as the sources and recipients of information. The rates at which information is transmitted today range from megabits per second to gigabits per second and in some cases, as high as terabits per second. The range of frequencies over which these processes are studied extends from direct current (i.e., zero frequency), to microwave and optical frequencies.

The need for increasingly faster and more sophisticated methods of handling information poses a major challenge to the electrical engineer. New materials, devices, systems, and network concepts are needed to build the advanced communications and information handling systems of the future. Innovations in electrical engineering have had a dramatic impact on the way in which we work and live: the transistor, integrated circuits, computers, radio and television, satellite transmission systems, lasers, fiber optic transmission systems, and medical electronics.

The faculty of the Electrical Engineering Department at Columbia University is dedicated to the continued development of further innovations through its program of academic instruction and research. Our undergraduate program in electrical engineering is designed to prepare students for a career in industry, research or business by providing them with a thorough foundation of the fundamental concepts and analytical tools of contemporary electrical engineering. A wide range of elective courses permits the student to emphasize specific disciplines such as communications, devices, circuits or signal processing.

Undergraduates have an opportunity to learn firsthand about current research activities by participating in a program of undergraduate research projects with the faculty.

A master’s level program in electrical engineering permits graduate students to further specialize their knowledge and skills within a wide range of disciplines. For those who are interested in pursuing a career in teaching, research, or advanced development, our Ph.D. program offers the opportunity to conduct research under faculty supervision at the leading edge of technology and applied science. Seminars are offered in all research areas.

The Electrical Engineering Department, along with the Computer Science Department, also offers B.S. and M.S. programs in computer engineering. Details on those programs can be found in the Computer Engineering section.

Research Activities

The research interests of the faculty encompass a number of rapidly growing areas, vital to the development of future technology, that will affect almost every aspect of society: signals, information, and data; networking and communications; nanoscale structures and integrated solid-state devices; nanoelectronics and nanophotonics; integrated circuits and systems; systems biology; neuroengineering; and smart electric energy. Details on all of these areas can be found at ee.columbia.edu/research.

The Signals, Information and Data area concerns the representation, processing, analysis, and communication of information embedded in signals and datasets arising in a wide range of application areas, including audio, video, images, communications, and biology. Research interests include the development of models, algorithms and analyses for sensing, detection and estimation, statistical and machine learning, and the recognition, organization, and understanding of the information content of signals and data.

The Networking and Communications area focuses on the design and performance evaluation of communication systems and data networks of all kinds, including wireless/ cellular, optical, ultra-low power, vehicular, mobile, wearable, data center networks, cyber physical systems, and the internet. Methods range from analyzing and refining existing approaches to the development of new and evolving networking techniques and systems.

The Systems Biology and Neuroengineering area aims to understand and analyze biological systems within the living cell and in the brain. Examples of related tasks are biomolecular data analysis for medical applications, synthetic biology, establishing the principles of neuroinformation processing in the brain for developing robust sensory processing and motor control algorithms, accelerating the clinical translation of devices that make contact with neurons, and building massively parallel brain-computer interfaces.

The Integrated Circuits and Systems area focuses on the integration of circuits and systems on semiconductor platforms. Research spans the analysis, design, simulation, and validation of analog,mixed-mode, (sub) mm-wave, RF, power, and digital circuits, and their applications from computation and sensing to cyber-physical and implantable biomedical systems.

The area of Nanoscale Structures and Integrated Devices applies fundamental physical principles to develop revolutionary new electronic, photonic, and optical devices made from conventional and emerging materials, including graphene, 2D semiconductors, and organic semiconductors. Research includes nanofabrication, characterization, and electromagnetic design of quantum device structures and complex silicon photonic circuits that impact numerous fields from Lidar and optogenetics to low-energy computation and flexible electronics.

The smart electric energy area focuses on the optimization of the generation, conversion, distribution, and consumption of electric energy as well as the electrification of energy systems. Research spans the analysis, design, and control of power electronics, motor drive, and energy storage systems, grid resilience and security, and Internet-of-Things. Applications include transportation electrification, smart grid, renewable energy, and smart building systems.

Laboratory Facilities

Current research activities are fully supported by more than a dozen well-equipped research laboratories run by the department faculty. In addition, faculty and students have access to a clean room for microand nanofabrication, a materialscharacterization facility, and an electron-microscopy facility, managed by the Columbia Nano Initiative. Faculty laboratories include Digital Video and Multimedia Networking Laboratory, Wireless and Mobile Networking Laboratory, Network Algorithms Laboratory, Genomic Information Systems Laboratory, Structure-Function Imaging Laboratory, Neural Acoustic Processing Laboratory, Signal Processing and Communication Laboratory, Translational Neuroelectronics Laboratory, Bionet Laboratory, Molecular Beam Epitaxy Laboratory, Surface Analysis Laboratory, Laboratory for Unconventional Electronics, Advanced Semiconductor Device Laboratory, Motor Drives and Power Electronics Laboratory, Intelligent and Connected Systems Laboratory, Columbia Integrated Systems Laboratory (CISL), Analog & RF IC Design Laboratory, VLSI Design Laboratory, High Speed and mmWave IC Laboratory, Analog and Mixed Signal IC Laboratory, Bioelectronics Laboratory, Lightwave Laboratory, and Nano Photonics Laboratory.

Laboratory instruction is provided in a suite of newly-renovated facilities on the twelfth floor of the S. W. Mudd Building. These teaching laboratories are used for circuit prototyping, device measurement, VLSI design, embedded systems design, as well as computer engineering and Internet-of-Things experiments.