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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

As part of their Summer Undergraduate imageResearch Fellowship (SURF) projects, several engineering students have contributed to the development of tiny biosensors that could one day eliminate the need for manual blood sugar tests. The students were advised by Caltech medical engineering faculty Axel Scherer, and Hyuck Choo. [Caltech Release] [ENGenious MedE Feature] 10.13.14

Victoria Kostina, Assistant Professor of Victoria KostinaElectrical Engineering, is the newest member of the EE Department.  When asked what excites her about research in information theory she states "I love that it is very basic research, very theoretical. Once we strip away all the particularities of a given problem, we are left with a mathematical model, which is timeless. Once you solve such a problem, it stays there. But at the same time, I like that this work applies to the real world. The fact that it gives us insights into how to improve existing communication systems is a very exciting feature for me." [Interview with Professor Kostina] [ENGenious article] 10.07.14

By combining heart rate data from real athletes with a branch of mathematics called John Doylecontrol theory, John Doyle, Jean-Lou Chameau Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems, Electrical Engineering, and Bioengineering and colleagues have devised a way to better understand the relationship between reduced heart rate variability (HRV) and health.

"A familiar related problem is in driving," Doyle says. "To get to a destination despite varying weather and traffic conditions, any driver—even a robotic one—will change factors such as acceleration, braking, steering, and wipers. If these factors suddenly became frozen and unchangeable while the car was still moving, it would be a nearly certain predictor that a crash was imminent. Similarly, loss of heart rate variability predicts some kind of malfunction or 'crash,' often before there are any other indications," he says. [Caltech Release] [Read the Paper] 09.22.14

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

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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

   last update: 10/13/2014
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