Research Cool Stuff

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NC State University is ranked among the top academic units engaged in scientific research in the United States on a wide variety of subjects from novel transistors for the next generation integrated circuits to concepts that will revolutionize how computers work.

Top 10

In Research Expenditures among Public U.S. Universities
according to ASEE 2019


university in the nation for the share of research sponsored by private industry
according to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Bioelectronics Engineering

Bioelectronics is the intersection of electrical engineering and disciplines related to biology, medicine, behavior or health. Bioelectronic engineers are converting chemical and biological processes into electrical signals that detect, identify and monitor biomedical processes.

These technologies are imaging a future where humans are able to easily diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases. New ways to treat patients are always improving thanks to the work of bioelectronics engineering.

Communications and Signal Processing

Communications and Signal Processing powers our digital lives. Electrical and Computer engineers in this field work at the intersection of statical methods and mathematics to create an effective design of communication networks and data transmission.

Signal processing analyzes and modifies scientific data from sounds, images, videos, audio and so much more. These analyses and modifications make the information understandable. This allows communication processes to become more streamlined which creates a faster, smarter, and more reliable digital system. 

Computer Architecture and Systems

Computer architecture is the engineering of a computer system through the careful design of its organization, using innovative mechanisms and integrating software techniques, to achieve a set of performance goals.

The program of study emphasizes design tradeoffs in implementing those interfaces both in hardware and software. The study creates a set of rules and methods that describe the functionality, organization, and implementation of computer systems.

Machine Learning

Machine learning is a branch of artificial intelligence that is trained through algorithms to make predictions from data sets. Each research area at NC State has the potential to find more efficient and smart solutions with machine learning.

In each avenue of electrical and computer engineering, there is a potential to implement machine learning to simplify and expand the knowledge the field has to offer.

Control, Robotics, and Mechatronics

The interdisciplinary areas of control, robotics, and mechatronics form a cohesive collaboration at NC State. Control refers to designing equipment and systems with desired behaviors in control environments. Robotics is the science and technology of robots, their design, manufacturing, and application allow robots to work together to sense, think, and act.

Mechatronics is the combination of mechanical engineering, electronic engineering and computer engineering by creating interacting networks of physical and embedded computational systems that are characterized by the blurring of boundaries between mechanisms, sensors, electronic communication & control, and computational systems. 

“My experience in this department was exceptional. I was able to work with and take classes from multiple leading researchers in my field. The bonus is that you’re a couple blocks away from industry, so when the time comes to look for jobs, you know you won’t have to go very far.”

Kristen Booth

Ph.D. EE 2019, Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina

Electronic Circuits and Systems

Circuits bring basic electronic devices like transistors to life by combining them to realize useful functionality. In the past, circuits existed in isolated locations; today, they are pervasive, existing in outer space, underground, all around us and within our bodies.

These devices do their job using circuitry that converts an analog signal (for example, the voice of a radio announcer) into ones and zeroes and then into radio frequency signals that travel through the atmosphere.

Physical Electronics, Photonics & Magnetics

This area concerns itself with the development of the electronic and photonic devices that generate, detect, transmit, distribute, modulate and amplify electrical energy and information. Physical electronics is designed to be the foundational view of electronics and electromagnetics. Understanding its principles leads to the study of photonics which researches how to generate, detect, and manipulate light.

One of the most important applications of photonics today is fiber-optic communications. The incredibly large data capacity of optical fibers and the very high-speed optoelectronic components form the backbone to our long-distance telecommunications networks.


A computer network, or data network, allows computers to exchange data. Its application is fully realized via the best-known format: The Internet.  We research methods in which to effectively organize the flow of traffic which exists in these networks through the use of computer software with an ultimate aim at designing, building and operating telecommunication networks.

Network engineers design, develop and configure, and maintain the high-speed wired and wireless digital networks that carry vast amounts of data, enabling the Internet, cell phones, television, and every other kind of electronic information exchange

Power Electronics and Power Systems

Power electronics and power systems involve research in the generation, transmission, distribution, conversion, storage, and management of electric energy. It is more important than ever to minimize the impact of our electricity consumption on the environment which entails that we harness energy from renewable sources, and conserve it.

Electrical engineers study power systems and their mathematical models to predict the behavior of the devices and to design more energy-efficient systems.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate students can be a part of research groups at NC State, gain invaluable experience and have fun at the same time! The ECE faculty welcomes and encourages undergraduate student participation in many research projects funded by industry and/or government agencies.

Undergraduate research is typically performed as volunteer work and it can start as early as the second semester of the sophomore year. Some of the research positions offer stipends for summer or for the whole year.

Undergraduate research is intended to provide an opportunity for the student to get involved in scientific research. This experience is especially helpful if a student is interested in graduate study towards an MS or PhD degree immediately after completing the undergraduate degree.

As one of only two institutions to be home to two concurrent NSF Engineering Research Centers, one of three NSF Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research Initiatives, the home of the Department of Energy’s PowerAmerica institute, and leaders in the only North America IBM Quantum Hub, we are ranked among the top academic units engaged in scientific research in the United States.