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, Controls, Signal Processing, and Learning

Communications, Controls, Signal Processing, Machine Learning, and AI power our digital lives. Electrical and Computer engineers in this field will learn about systems and how statistical and mathematical tools can be used to design, control and optimize them.

In our interconnected world, devices like smartphones and wearables, alongside sophisticated robotic systems and self-driving cars, are constantly generating diverse data, including images, videos, audio, and other streams of sensor measurements. This data undergoes signal processing to refine its quality and isolate specific characteristics. To ensure this processed data serves its purpose, it is communicated over various networks, whether they’re for close-range or broad-scale transmission. The discerned attributes from this data are crucial for controlling actions in systems—for example, guiding a robot’s movement, making communication channel selections, or identifying patterns in medical diagnoses. Importantly, integrating machine learning and AI into these processes elevates their efficiency, enabling these systems to learn, adapt, and exhibit intelligent behavior autonomously.

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.

“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.

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 Ph.D. degree immediately after completing the undergraduate degree.

Machine Learning and AI

In the realm of electrical and computer engineering, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) represent transformative fields that equip computers and systems with the capacity to learn and make decisions autonomously. Machine learning, a subset of AI, involves creating algorithms that can recognize patterns and make predictions from data. This technology finds applications in diverse areas, such as natural language processing, image recognition, recommendation systems, and autonomous vehicles.

Within electrical and computer engineering, AI and machine learning innovations are revolutionizing sectors like robotics, automation, and signal processing. Their integration into engineering solutions is shaping the future of automation, efficiency, and innovation.


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.

Quantum Information Science and Engineering

Quantum information science and engineering (QISE) is having a transformative impact on various fields by utilizing the principles of quantum mechanics to develop advanced technologies with unparalleled capabilities. QISE has the potential to revolutionize computing power, communication systems, sensing and imaging technologies, cryptography, and simulation capabilities, opening up new avenues for solving complex problems and driving innovation across industries, leading to profound societal and scientific advancements.

There have been exciting advances in numerous fields, such as quantum hardware, quantum software, simulation, communication, sensing, and imaging, with the aim of developing quantum systems that surpass their classical counterparts in performance and capabilities.

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, leads the only North America IBM Quantum Hub, and home to one of The Microelectronics Commons' Hubs, we are ranked among the top academic units engaged in scientific research in the United States.