Research Areas – Electrical and Computer Engineering

Ranked 6th in the national research category for public universities by The National Science Foundation, UW-Madison continues to be a leader of exploration and discovery.  The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is a proud part of that reputation of research excellence, boasting award-winning faculty, advanced facilities and laboratories, and a culture of creativity, innovation and diligence.   Our accomplished alumni include Jack Kilby (MS ’50), 2000 Nobel Prize winner and co-inventor of the integrated circuit, and John Bardeen (BS ’28), co-inventor of the transistor, and the only person to win the Nobel Prize twice for Physics in 1972 and 1956.

The nine priority research areas identified in our latest ECE Strategic Plan provide critical focus and drives high-impact, collaborative research with reach beyond the boundaries of our university.

 

UW-Madison ECE - Where Research Becomes Reality

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering fosters an atmosphere of collaboration and innovation that meets the technological demands of today’s world while preparing for those of tomorrow.  Our faculty, staff, and students are pioneering research advances in fields that span the basic and applied research community, industry, and the public sector.  By cultivating a welcoming and collegial environment, our researchers engage in multi-disciplinary activities within and beyond our department that produce immediate, near-term, and long-term societal impact.

The ability to collect, study, understand, process, and visualize data is a key ingredient throughout engineering and the sciences. Cross cutting work at UW in ECE spans basic mathematical analysis (understanding how deep networks function, creating algorithms for extracting robust, accurate, and succinct representations of large datasets), new computational methods (for data efficient machine learning and structural simplification in deep networks, natural language processing, and for the simulation of brain networks from measurements of electrical activity), and optimization techniques (to improve the performance of electric power systems, to optimize the throughput of wireless networks). Researchers in the Data Sciences apply their expertise in many areas, including developing artificial intelligence tools for processing medical imaging data, detecting cancer cells using FMRI and spectral fluorescence data, AI-enhanced education, and designing novel sensors for data gathering (such as imaging around corners, or new modalities), and data mining and analysis.

Faculty

Azadeh Davoodi
John Gubner
Nick Hitchon
Kangwook Lee
Bernard Lesieutre
Robert Nowak
Dimitris Papailiopoulos
Line Roald
Bill Sethares
Barry Van Veen
Andreas Velten
Ramya Vinayak

Improving the quality and reducing the cost of healthcare is one of the important societal and economic grand challenges facing our nation and the world. We are engaged in a wide range of research activities that address significant challenges in this arena. Examples of how ECE research contributes towards innovative healthcare technologies include:

 

  • Improvements in medical imaging systems: Photodetectors for bio-medical imaging systems; Imaging for surgical visualization and real-time 3D rendering of surgical fields; Fluorescence and fluorescence lifetime imaging for cancer detection and fluorescence image guided surgery; Biomedical ultrasonic imaging for cancer detection; Ultrasonic imaging through skull; Improved hardware design for MRI/EPRI systems; Microwave/mm-wave imaging for skin and breast cancer detection.

 

  • Development of therapeutic techniques: 3D photoreceptor scaffolds for cell therapy; Enhancement of gene therapy with minimally invasive electroporation techniques; Tumor treatment with minimally invasive microwave ablation techniques; Treatment of cancer with plasma-generated free radicals.

 

  • Development of biomedical sensors: Semiconductor lasers for biomarker analysis; Electrodes for electrocardiography and neural interface; Electro-textile-based wearable medical sensors; Human posture and motion analysis; RF and microwave sensors for surgery.

 

  • Improving diagnostic and preventative techniques: Point-of-care diagnostics; Use of plasma-generated free radicals to determine protein structure; Electronically transduced immunoassays; Printable diagnostics; Fall risk prediction and fall prevention; Gait and mobility monitoring; Microwave disinfection.

 

  • Development of machine learning and signal processing algorithms for medical applications: Imaging algorithms for a variety of measurement modalities including ultrasound, microwaves, and MRI; Image analysis using machine learning; Brain network modeling from fMRI or electroencephalography; Algorithms for analysis of fetal electrocardiograms.

Faculty

Joseph Andrews
Nader Behdad
John Booske
Chirag Gupta
Susan Hagness
Yu Hen Hu
Hongrui Jiang
Chu Ma
Zhenqiang Ma
Luke Mawst
Paul Milenkovic
Umit Ogras
Shubhra Pasayat
Dan van der Weide
Barry Van Veen
Andreas Velten
Zongfu Yu

 

Research in mobile computing involves the design and optimization of the critical technologies that enable efficient utilization of the vast computing resources that are pervasively deployed in our environment: wireless connectivity to other systems and to the cloud, integrated sensing for data collection, efficient on-board processing particularly with machine learning algorithms, extended battery life, and support for security and privacy.  A prevailing theme in this work is energy efficiency, to enable both long battery life or even batteryless operation, which is enabled by innovations in algorithm development, chip design, innovations like approximate and intermittent computing, and novel approaches for high-bandwidth, low-latency wireless networks.

Faculty

Azadeh Davoodi
Kassem Fawaz
Yu Hen Hu
Younghyun Kim
Bhuvana Krishnaswamy
Parmesh Ramanathan
Mikko Lipasti
Umit Ogras
Joshua San Miguel

Society relies heavily on resilient and secure critical infrastructure to provide everything from safe drinking water, transportation, and energy, to financial services and electronic commerce, and national security.  The complex, interconnected systems that deliver these services are inherently vulnerable to disruptive events caused by both natural disasters as well as malicious agents. Research in this area is focused on developing and optimizing technologies that enable robust and efficient deployment of critical infrastructure, minimizing both the likelihood and negative impact of disruptive events.  Examples of innovative discoveries in this area include robust and secure antennas and communication systems, RF/microwave direction finding systems, high-power amplifiers for radars, remote sensing using lasers, non-line-of-sight imaging, electronic fingerprinting for secure identification and wireless communication, distributed sensing and infrastructure monitoring, electrical power grids that cope robustly with variable and uncertain power from renewable sources like wind and solar, as well as secure approaches for designing digital hardware and robust algorithms for defending neural networks against adversarial attacks.

Faculty

Nader Behdad
John Booske
Dan Botez
Azadeh Davoodi
Kassem Fawaz
Dominic Gross
Mikko Lipasti
Bernard Lesieutre
Parmesh Ramanathan
Line Roald
Andreas Velten

Researchers in this area develop devices, algorithms, and systems for sensing applications that improve agriculture and the environment, enhance sustainability of energy supply and use, enable autonomous machines that improve lives, and enable better, affordable healthcare. Innovative devices are developed to measure acoustic, radio-frequency, optical and electrical signals. Algorithms and systems are designed to enable efficient collection, processing and fusion of measured data.

Faculty

David Anderson
Joseph Andrews
Nader Behdad
John Booske
Dan Botez
Chirag Gupta
Susan Hagness
Yu Hen Hu
Hongrui Jiang
Mikhail Kats
Chu Ma
Zhenqiang Ma
Luke Mawst
Shubhra Pasayat
Parmesh Ramanathan
Andreas Velten
Dan van der Weide
Ying Wang
Zongfu Yu

Energy and sustainability is at the center of global discourse today. Research teams across all the areas of electrical and computer engineering are focusing on developing solutions to improve global sustainability. Examples of our work: cellulosic materials for electronics, sensors for improved agricultural sustainability, zero-energy water purification, novel solar cells, motors and power converters for electric vehicles and electric airplanes, lighter and recyclable electric motors, power converters for solar and wind power generation, control approaches for improved integration of renewable energy generation, power transmission and control technologies for efficient operation of the electric grid, and 2D quantum materials for energy-efficient electronic memory devices.

Faculty

David Anderson
Dominic Gross
Chirag Gupta
Bernard Lesieutre
Daniel Ludois
Shubhra Pasayat
Line Roald
Bulent Sarlioglu
Eric Severson
Dan van der Weide
Giri Venkataramanan
Ying Wang
Zongfu Yu