CEEN 2250: Computer and Electronics Engineering Seminar

Catalog Entry (2012-2013):

2250 Computer and Electronics Engineering Seminar(1) This course provides an overview of computer electronics and telecommunication fields. There will be information on professional careers available upon graduation. Professionalism and ethics are addressed as well as the need for lifelong learning experiences. Prereq: CEEN 1030.


Scientific American, Solid State Century
Scientific American, Key Technologies for the 21st Century
Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson
Accidental Empires by Robert Cringely

Class Schedule:

The class meets once per week for two hours of lecture, discussion, guest speakers and off campus tours.

Course Outcomes:

At the course's completion the student:

  1. Should have an appreciation for the role they may be called upon to play professionally for their company to compete in the greater world stage.
  2. Will understand the broader trends of technological growth in the computer, electronics and telecommunications fields.
  3. Should comprehend that electronics technology has had a profound impact as a trigger for global change in the latter part of the 20th century and will continue to so in the 21st.

Course Synopsis:

The course explores the computer, telecommunications and electronics engineering field from a historical perspective first and then tracing the steps which have led to today's computer and telecommunication explosion. The patterns of growth, the leaders who had a vision for the future and how they took advantage of the opportunities for growth will be examined.

In addition to lecture and discussion there are readings from several sources, library and internet searches, visits and field trips to firms, guest lectures by prominent industry leaders, visual media including: The Machine That Changed the World, Triumph of the Nerds, Transistorized (a history of the transistor), and other sources such as James Burke's, "Connections" and Jacob Bronowski's, "Ascent of Man".

Course Topics:

  1. The computer, telecommunications and electronics engineering field from a historical context with technology as a trigger for change.
  2. Telecommunication beginnings: Oerstad, Sturgeon, Faraday, Ampere, Helmholtz and Alexander Graham Bell.
  3. Global telecommunication networks in the 21st century.
  4. Vacuum tube, transistor and the IC: story of miniaturization and speed. The semiconductor industry.
  5. From Babbage to Hollerith and IBM: the first inkling
  6. Mauchley and Eckert: war as a catalyst for a new technology
  7. Xerox Park and Apple: opportunities lost and found
  8. IBM, Apple and Microsoft: a menage a' trios
  9. The road ahead with globalization and disruptive evolution.

The Reason this Course is in the Program:

In a technically demanding program of study this course provides a student with a vision for a possible professional future. The course provides added incentive for students to complete their last two years of study. Whether by design or by accident, the many inventions of the electronics revolution have led to the creation of some of the most successful companies in human history. With a heightened appreciation of how the past came to become the present the student can begin to develop a post graduation plan of what role they wish to play on the future world stage.

Prepared by:

Bing Chen - February 1, 2001