The USC CENG is a division of the Electrical Engineering department at the Viterbi School of Engineering, which boasts of world-renowned faculty, high-profile and impacting research projects, and extremely motivated students and research staff. The USC’s CENG program consistently ranks among the nation’s best in the U.S. News and World Report analysis. Our faculty has received many prestigious awards, including many NSF Career awards and various IEEE/ACM recognitions.
CENG degree programs provide students with an intensive background in the function, simulation and analysis, architecture and organization, design and optimization of digital information processing systems. CENG has 19 faculty members, including research, teaching, and adjunct faculty. It serves about 120 undergraduate students through a joint degree program with the USC’s Computer Science Department (CECS) and approximately 200 Master’s level graduate students. The CENG faculty members supervise some 50 PhD students.
Our vision for the strategic future direction of computer engineering education and research is one in which engineering professionals — practitioners, educators and researchers alike — are produced that possess the diverse and constantly expanding skill set needed to be interdisciplinary leaders capable of providing timely solutions to meet the complex socio-economic challenges of a fast-changing, globally-interconnected, and increasingly-technological world through innovative and creative scientific and technical advancements. The technical environment into which today’s Computer Engineer enters is characterized by a fully integrated design flow relying on a high level of information flow and automation across multiple cyber-physical domains, a high reliance on the application of both engineering and economic principles to product development, and service-oriented and/or knowledge-based industries with high value added products. This environment demands a highly skilled and agile workforce and knowledge-based organizations that can develop and market the new technologies, while managing the design and production of goods and services based on these technological advances.
Moreover, most societal problems require solutions arrived at through interdisciplinary efforts. None of the fourteen “Grand Challenges for Engineering” as determined by a committee of the National Academy of Engineering in February of 2008, for example, involve only one engineering discipline. In fact, those challenges broadly classified as having to do with health, clean energy, the environment, security, infrastructure, learning and discovery all require the involvement of multiple disciplines, some of which are outside of engineering — a notion that is supported by government agencies such as NSF and NIH through recent funding opportunities.
To meet the current needs and challenges of the future, the profession must be transformed in ways yet to be fully understood to produce a new type of engineer as aspired to and called for in the Academy report “The Engineer of 2020” — which an engineer, Dean Yortsos of the Viterbi School, describes as having ambidextrous analytical and creative skills, a seamless blend of strong left- and right-brain skills. Computer Engineers not only will have the traditional technical proficiency in areas such as computer architecture, computer networks, complex and hybrid system design, nanotechnology, and other emerging engineering specialties but also will have in their diverse skill set the necessary business savvy, communication capabilities, and social and political acumen to be leaders among a chorus of professionals from other disciplines who cooperatively solve challenging problems. We are making the computer engineering education and research reforms needed that enable the production of such globally competitive, diversified, life-long learners with improved and practice-ready computational thinking able to discover, integrate and adapt to new knowledge dynamically and effectively as technology and the needs of a growing global society change.