Course VI: EECS is Everywhere

A Message from Department Head – Eric Grimson

August 2006

A new leadership team in EECS began its work on November 1. Besides myself, the new administration includes Professors Duane Boning and Srini Devadas serving as Associate Department Heads, Professor George Verghese as Education Officer, and Ms. Agnes Chow as Administrative Officer. Installing a new administration provides an opportunity to assess the state of the department and the opportunities before it. In this note, I summarize some key points of our recent assessment.

EECS Leadership Spring 2006

EECS leadership from left, George Verghese, Duane Boning, Agnes Chow, Eric Grimson, and Srini Devadas.

Observing the activities of the department – in the varied interests of our entering students, in the classrooms, in the research labs, in the directions chosen by our graduates – one is struck by the incredible diversity of opportunities that are currently present. To borrow a phrase from my colleague, Professor Patrick Winston, “EECS is everywhere.” We see this in our new students, who have broad interests and a strong desire to apply the traditional strengths of electrical engineering and computer science to other domains: life sciences, materials science, applied physics, synthetic chemistry, synthetic biology, and others. We see this in the range of subjects taught by our faculty, 85-100 each term, including special-topic subjects at the cutting edge. We see this in our faculty’s research interests; for example, roughly one third of our faculty members have research agendas that include work in the biological and life sciences. And we see this in the career paths pursued by our alumni and alumnae, who literally are “everywhere” – making an impact in a full range of disciplines of engineering, science, medicine, law and business.

The varied and exciting paths of some of our alumni/alumnae are profiled later in this newsletter and the ways in which current faculty and department activities are fostering and intersect with diverse disciplines is discussed in more detail. (See “EECS Grads are Everywhere,” “Examples of Current EECS-is-Everywhere Research in the Department” and “Laboratory Notes.”

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