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Caltech Electrical Engineering

EE at Caltech has a century-long record of excellence, innovation and training many distinguished leaders in the field. As a discipline, EE has had a huge impact on the technologies that define modern-day life and society. EE at Caltech emphasizes both the fundamentals of electronics and systems, as well as acknowledging the multi-disciplinary nature of the field. Closely allied with Computation and Neural Systems, Applied Physics, Bioengineering, Computer Science, and Control and Dynamical System, it offers students the opportunity for study and research, both theoretical and experimental, in a wide variety of subjects, including wireless systems, quantum electronics, modern optics, lasers and guided waves, solid-state materials and devices, bio-optics and bio-electronics, power and energy systems, control theory, learning systems, computational finance, signal processing, data compression, communications, parallel and distributed computing, fault-tolerant computing, and computational vision.

Substantial experimental laboratory facilities, housed mainly in the Moore Laboratory of Engineering, are associated with each of these research fields.

EE celebrated100 years!
Check out videos and slide show from the event.

bullet The Charles Wilts Prize is awarded every year to one EE graduate student for outstanding independent research in Electrical Engineering leading to a PhD. View a list of recipients.


The first Caltech EE student to send the correct answer receives a $25 gift certificate for The Red Door. Send your answers to

Puzzle #1
Consider an infinite grid of 1-Ω resistors. Let's call the dimension of the grid n, where a 1-dimensional grid would be a line of resistors connected end-to-end, a 2-dimensional grid would be a rectangular array of resistors, where each resistor is connected at each end to three other resistors, a 3-dimensional grid would be a cubic lattice where each resistor is connected at end to five resistors, and so on.

What is the resistance that you would measure across a resistor, as a function on n? For the n = 1, it is just 1 Ω, but for higher n, the grid gives a parallel component that reduces the resistance that you would measure.

Hint: superposition

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In the News

Caltech’s undergraduate and graduate engineering programs have been ranked fourth in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Engineering graduate programs ranked very well with second in aerospace / aeronautical / astronautical, third in mechanical, third in applied math, fourth in electrical / electronic / communications, sixth in materials, and eight in environmental / environmental health. [All 2015 Caltech Rankings] 09.11.14

Paul Rothemund, Senior Research Associate in Paul RothmundBioengineering, Computer Science, and Computation and Neural Systems, and colleagues have fabricated complicated shapes from DNA's close chemical cousin, RNA. "RNA origami is still in its infancy," says Rothemund. "Nevertheless, I believe that RNA origami, because of their potential to be manufactured by cells, and because of the extra functionality possible with RNA, will have at least as big an impact as DNA origami." [Caltech Release] 08.22.14

Piya Pal, advised by Professor P P Vaidyanathan, is Piya Palthe winner of this year's Charles Wilts Prize, for her doctoral thesis "New directions in sparse sampling and estimation for underdetermined systems". The Charles Wilts Prize is awarded every year to a graduate student in Electrical Engineering for outstanding independent research. Piya Pal has started her career as an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at University of Maryland, College Park. 08.07.14

Ali Hajimiri, Thomas G. Myers Professor of Ali HajimiriElectrical Engineering, has received a 2013-2014 Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology (ASCIT) Teaching Award. [List of past recipients] 7.21.14

Tracey C. Ho, Assistant Professor of Electrical Tracey C. HoEngineering and Computer Science, and colleagues’ research on stateless data transmission using Random Linear Network Coding (RLNC) promises higher network speeds with an elegant mathematical approach to data error correction and redundancy. They have shown that data could be transmitted without link layer flow control bogging down throughput with retransmission requests, and also the size of the transmission can be optimized for network efficiency and application latency constraints. [Networkworld Blog] 06.02.14

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Carver Mead, Gordon and Betty Moore Carver MeadProfessor of Engineering and Applied Science, Emeritus, celebrated his 80th birthday on May 1, 2014. Professor Mead is best known for his pioneering work on VLSI (very-large-scale integration) circuit technology in the 1970s and 1980s, which made it possible to greatly increase the number of transistors placed on a single semiconductor chip. It is no exaggeration to say that the computer era we live in would not have been possible without VLSI technology. He remains as passionate today about science and engineering as he ever was. "There isn't really a time when you're too old to have new ideas," Mead says. [Caltech interview] [Share Your Memories] [ENGenious article] 05.02.14

Students in Professor Hillary Mushkin's new Hillary Mushkinmedia arts seminar (E/H/Art 89 New Media Arts in the 20th and 21st Centuries) have put on a unique exhibition highlighting art and engineering. The course provides a platform for an expanded understanding of engineering and an active, project-based engagement with art history. [List of all projects] 05.02.14

Professor Babak Hassibi's students Kishore Jaganathan, and Christos Thrampoulidis as well Qualcommas Professor Pietro Perona's students Ron Appel, and Krzysztof Chalupka, have won the 2014 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship. Jaganathan, and Thrampoulidis' proposal is entitled Interference Alignment via Matrix Completion for Cellular Networks and Network Coding. Appel, and Chalupka’s proposal is entitled Energy-Efficient Multiclass Classification for Visual Applications on Mobile Devices.  Each winner will receive a $100K fellowship. This year there were 137 submissions and only 9 winners have been announced. Caltech is the only school to have two winning teams. [List of Winners] 04.15.14

Ali Hajimiri, Thomas G. Myers Professor of Ali HajimiriElectrical Engineering, and colleagues have developed a new light-bending silicon chip that acts as a lens-free projector--and could one day end up in your cell phone. They were able to bypass traditional optics by manipulating the coherence of light—a property that allows the researchers to "bend" the light waves on the surface of the chip without lenses or the use of any mechanical movement. [Caltech Release] 03.11.14

   last update: 09/15/2014
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