Career Training: Wireless Sensors and Mobile Computing

Electronic devices are a staple in the working day life of most electrical and computer engineers. These engineers design, build, and imagine an ever-expanding array of electronic devices for entertainment, communication, the home, transportation, space applications, health, and safety. Increasingly, many of these electronics are transmitting information wirelessly. For example, aside from all you can do with today's cell phones, iPads, and laptops, you can call home to turn on the AC or heat, small devices on the body can inform a doctor about a patient's condition, soldiers can detect potential dangers without putting themselves in harm's way, wildfires can be detected before they rage out of control, and tiny sensors can detect problems in the air and water. Because these devices are wireless, designing for low power operation is critical.

Following are some of the primary courses that will provide an excellent foundation for a future in wireless sensors and mobile computing.

EECS311EECS 311: Electronic Circuits

Recent Instructors: Mina Rais-Zadeh and David Wentzloff

This course covers single-transistor amplifier design and analysis of circuits commonly used in audio amplifiers, wireless radios, and several other interface applications. Non-linear, large-signal models for diodes, MOSFETs, and BJTs are introduced. The concept of biasing transistors at an operating point and analyzing gain and frequency response using small-signal analysis is also covered. Active filters and non-ideal operational amplifiers are also reviewed. Common amplifier topologies and design strategies are analyzed, and students implement these through a series of lab experiments.

EECS312EECS 312: Digital Integrated Circuits

Recent Instructors: Robert P. Dick and Zhengya Zhang

This course introduces students to the analysis and design of digital integrated circuits. MOSFET operation and the design of high-performance and low-power logic gates are covered, as are combinational and sequential logic design fundamentals. This course provides a bridge between discrete digital system design based on switching and sequential network theory and the non-ideal devices from which real integrated circuits are constructed. It builds a foundation for later courses in VLSI Design and also gives computer architects a competitive advantage by exposing them to the complex, non-digital behavior of the devices and circuits with which digital systems are implemented.

EECS413EECS 413: Monolithic Amplifier Circuits

Recent Instructor: Michael Flynn

This course is an introduction to CMOS analog and mixed signal design, but also introduces advanced topics. The course begins with a review of MOS transistors basics, and small signal analysis. Single stage and differential amplifiers are described. CMOS opamps, stability, and frequency compensation are covered. Advanced topics such a switched capacitor circuits may also be covered, time permitting. This course includes a major design project. Students work with a commercial 0.13┬Ám CMOS process. A full suite of commercial design tools from Cadence is used for schematic entry, simulation and layout. (The tools and process technology are close to the state-of-the-art for analog design). Students will have the opportunity to send the best design projects to be fabricated through the MOSIS IC prototyping service ( Taken alone this course is a good foundation in analog / mixed-signal design. This course is a prerequisite for EECS 511 (analog to digital converters and interfaces) EECS 522 (analog and RF circuits). It also satisfies course requirements of the Circuits and Microsystems, VLSI and E&M majors.

See also: Video Overview

EECS414EECS 414: Introduction to MEMS

Recent Instructor: Euisik Yoon

This is an entry level course in the part of MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) lecture series. This course introduces the general overview of rapidly emerging, multi-disciplinary MEMS fields as well as teaches fundamentals of micromachining and microfabrication techniques. A designer of MEMS requires knowledge and expertise across several different disciplines. Therefore, this course will pay special attention to teaching of fundamentals necessary for the design and analysis of devices and systems in mechanical, electrical, fluidic, and thermal energy/signal domains, and will teach basic techniques for multi-domain analysis (e.g., electromechanical, electrothermal). Fundamentals of sensing and transduction mechanisms (i.e. conversion of non-electronic signals to electronic signals), including capacitive and piezoresistive techniques, and design and analysis of micromachined miniature sensors and actuators using these techniques will be covered.

EECS423EECS 425: Integrated Microsystems Laboratory

Recent Instructor: Euisik Yoon

This is a project-oriented laboratory course in integrated microsystem design, fabrication (in the Lurie Nanofabrication Facility), and testing. As system integration levels have increased, more and more different devices are being integrated on a common substrate, creating interesting tradeoffs in system partitioning and technology. To understand these tradeoffs, this course addresses the development of a complete multi-chip microsystem containing sensors, actuators, signal processing, output interface, and energy sources. This allows us to explore not only a basic MOS device/circuit process, but also to explore processes such as wafer bonding and micromachining that are used for transducers. Students will develop a complete integrated microsystem, from inception to final test and work in interdisciplinary design teams of typically four people. Each team will design, fabricate, and test two multi-project chips: one using a bulk silicon-on-glass process to realize a number of MEMS transducers, and the other based on a silicon-gate LOCOS E/D NMOS process for signal processing circuitry and additional sensor interface as well as an array of solar cells.

See also: Video Overview

EECS427EECS 427: VLSI Design I

Recent Instructors: David Blaauw, Dennis Sylvester, Zhengya Zhang

This course introduces mask-level integrated circuit design. Correct engineering design methodology is emphasized. Topics covered in lectures include: CMOS processes, mask layout methods and design rules; circuit characterization and performance estimation; design for testability; and CMOS subsystem and system design.

See also: Video Overview

EECS455EECS 455: Digital Communication Signals and Systems

Recent Instructor: Wayne Stark

This course covers many aspects of digital communications systems. First, the fundamental tradeoff between bandwidth efficiency and energy efficiency in communication systems is discussed. Signal design and bandwidth are explored. Principles of optimum receiver/matched filtering are taught. Analysis of performance of digital communications is investigated. A variety of modulation schemes including binary phase shift keying, quadrature amplitude modulation, frequency shift keying are covered. Error control techniques including convolutional codes and block codes are included in the course material. Applications to GPS, digital cellular telephone and wireless local area networks are part of the course as well.

Advanced Coursework

For students interested in more advanced coursework, there are many graduate-level (ie, 500 and above) courses available. Please check the online catalog and speak with an undergraduate advisor for more information.

Additional Information

Course Videos and Overviews

EECS 413 Course Video

> Monolithic Amplifier Circuits (EECS 413)
Video - Course Overview

EECS 425 Course Video

> Integrated Microsystems Lab (EECS 425)
Video - Course Overview

EECS 427 Course Video

> VLSI Design I (EECS 427)
Video - Course Overview

Industry-sponsored Class Competitions

> Monolithic Amplifier Circuits (EECS 413 - Fall 2010)

> Integrated Microsystems Lab (EECS 425 - Winter 2011)

> VLSI Design I
(EECS 427 - Fall 2010)

Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE) Projects

> Distributed Sensing System    Prototyping

Energy-efficient VLSI Design> Energy-efficient    VLSI Design of    Massively    Parallel Signal Processing    Systems
   Project Video

> Evaluation and
   Development of Wireless    Receivers

> High-performance Channel    Codes for Power-efficient    Wireless Communication

> Prototype Development for    Next-Generation Ultra-Low    Power Wireless Electronic    Devices

> Ultra-low Power Circuit    Design for Millimeter Sized    Sensor Nodes