Special Topics

ECE 492-036: Solid State Solar and Thermal Energy Harvesting

This course studies the fundamental and recent advances of energy harvesting from two of the most abundant sources, namely solar and thermal energies. The first part of the course focuses on photovoltaic science and technology. The characteristics and design of common types of solar cells is discussed, and the known approaches to increasing solar cell efficiency will be introduced. After the review of the physics of solar cells, we will discuss advanced topics and recent progresses in solar cell technology. The second part of the course is focused on thermoelectric effect. The basic physical properties, Seebeck coefficient, electrical and thermal conductivities, are discussed and analyzed through the Boltzmann transport formalism. Advanced subjects such as carrier scattering time approximations in relation to dimensionality and the density of states are studied. Different approaches for further increasing efficiencies are discussed including energy filtering, quantum confinement, size effects, band structure engineering, and phonon confinement.

ECE 492-040: Introduction to Autonomous Systems

The course is a broad introduction to unmanned systems, including unmanned ground systems (UGS) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); the course will focus on principles and implementations common among all these systems, from hardware (e.g., sensors, actuators) to control systems, communications, and software. By the end of the course the students will be able to design an autonomous system suited for a particular application. The students will work in teams to extend the capabilities of a simple system platform in one or more directions.

ECE 492-44: Application Programming with Java

Using the Java programming language to program single-user applications (e.g. games, tools, robotics, simulation) and client/server applications (e.g. a chat room) which involve multiple users and communications between apps in different computers using the internet. Several multi-threading and communications designs are evaluated and used in labs. GUI programming (buttons and text fields in the user interface) and animation are created on the client side and shared Object-Oriented data structures are used on the server side. One lab involves using the Java interface to a standard Relational Data Base.

Principles of Object-Oriented programming are discussed in depth and used in labs, including interfacing to programs your app had no awareness of at compile time. A team lab project involves evaluating and graphing algebraic expressions of arbitrary complexity.

ECE 492-030/592-038

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the field of systems biology with a focus on mathematical modeling, gene regulatory networks and pathway reconstruction. Students will learn approaches that are used to integrate biological data with mathematical, statistical, and computational approaches in order to gain new insights into structure and behavior of complex cellular systems.