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This Bird Is Just Sleeping: The Future Of Electrical Engineering In Computer Engineering Environments

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.553.1 - 4.553.7

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Gordon Silverman

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Section 2532

This Bird is Just Sleeping: the Future of Electrical Engineering Education in Computer Engineering Environments.

Gordon Silverman, Ph.D. Professor, Electrical Engineering Manhattan College Riverdale, NY 10471


Many educators and commentators anticipate the withering of the ‘traditional’ Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (EE) and the concomitant flowering of the Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering (CompE). National trends and statistics support this shift in educational training. To go along with this tendency is recognition that over the past century there have been significant shifts in the domain encompassing EE: Power transmission/rotating machinery to electronics; Vacuum tube technology to semiconductors; Discrete circuits to integrated circuits; Analog electronics to digital electronics; Fixed devices to programmable digital hardware. By natural extension, the design of computer architectures, with relevant concepts and theories, and concurrent ‘hands on’ practice are considered a part of the educational experience of students needed to ensure success in the modern industrial/corporate environment. Hence the rise of CompE with its ‘classic’ complement of subject matter: basic science and math, network theory, electronics, digital systems, programming concepts, data structures, and operating system principles. EE education has always had a ‘lagging’ characteristic – changes in the educational product follow trends in technology. In spite of these forces, EE can, and will, play an increasingly pivotal role in meeting the technological needs of the world. The very rise of the computer has greatly enhanced the capacity for modeling that has always characterized EE – it is the ‘modeling’ art. While currently having relatively low profiles, many technologies are on the verge of explosive growth. While many talk of automation as a significant specialization, its true impact on technology is yet to be felt. New areas of expertise such as the exponentially growing field of telemedicine will require those skills more readily acquired through EE training. However, EE programs will need to redevelop a focus to best meet those needs. Such programs should avail students of well defined avenues of study suited to specific concentrations. The bird is not dead – it is only sleeping (from a Monty Python skit).

I. Introduction

The EE engineering profession and its educational support system recognize change as an evident fact of technological evolution. Changes have been brought about by several factors

Silverman, G. (1999, June), This Bird Is Just Sleeping: The Future Of Electrical Engineering In Computer Engineering Environments Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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