Featured Research Areas

Faculty members at Illinois ECE are an accomplished group. They’re members of the National Academy of Engineering, IEEE Fellows, ACM Fellows, OSA Fellows, and AAAS Fellows. Our faculty hold leadership positions within their subject matter societies, author textbooks, and give countless invited talks each year.

Our faculty are world-renowned for the visionary research they conduct with colleagues, research groups, and students. The department spends nearly $50 million a year to research a variety of core areas.

Biomedical imaging, bioengineering, and acoustics

Biomedical imaging, bioengineering, and acoustics research is advancing technology in ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), optical imaging, optical coherence tomography, and speech and hearing applications. Current research in these areas includes the development of a portable optical coherence device used in the operating room to detect the margins of breast cancer tumors during resection.

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Circuits research looks to enhance the speed, reliability, energy-efficiency, manufacturability, and computer-aided design of circuits and systems. Design, modeling, and testing are integral parts of this process. Current research projects include robust, low-power nanoscale integrated circuit design, systems-on-a-chip design for wireless communications, DSP-enhanced high-speed mixed-signal integrated circuit design, and the physics of integrated circuit failure.

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Communications and control

The Communications Group is an interdisciplinary team of experts whose aim is to advance the fundamental theory and practice of massive data information mining, learning, privacy, statistical analysis, storage, and transmission. Particular emphasis is placed on the development of interfaces between components of the data processing pipeline and on the practical applications governing the studies, including combinatorial auctions, genomics and systems biology, human-machine systems, network optimization, recommender protocols, reliable system control and design, and social sciences.

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Computing systems hardware and software

Members of Illinois ECE faculty are doing work that emphasizes systems, within both hardware and software. This includes work in the areas of algorithms and computational complexity; compilers; computer-aided design; computer architecture; databases; embedded, real-time, hybrid systems; hardware verification and testing; logic design and VLSI, operating systems; parallel processing; and programming languages. In all these areas, the focus is on how all parts of computers work together to solve many different kinds of problems.

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Data science and signal processing

Data science resides at the nexus of the physical world and computation—where fundamental sciences of systems, networks, and communications enable the design of technologies and algorithms that extract information from large amounts of unstructured data produced by physical sensors and systems, discover patterns, and make predictions and critical decisions using a variety of tools including machine learning and neural networks, while guaranteeing reliability and robustness, and preserving security and privacy.

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Electromagnetics, optics, and remote sensing

Research in electromagnetics involves the creation, transmission, and recognition of electromagnetic energy. Traditionally considered a sub-discipline of electromagnetics, optics harnesses the properties of light to perform a variety of actions. Remote sensing uses electromagnetics to collect data about distant activities and has many applications, including predicting weather.

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Microelectronics and photonics

Microelectronics research investigates semiconductor materials and device physics for developing electronic and photonic devices and integrated circuits with data/energy efficient performance in terms of speed, power consumption, and functionality. Photonics research studies laser devices, detectors, sensors, optical systems, and the effects of quantum mechanics on the behavior of electron and photon interaction.

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Nanotechnology research explores new materials and techniques for developing ultra-small electronic and photonic components of high performance. This discipline crosses conventional scientific boundaries to merge electrical engineering with materials science, mechanical engineering, applied physics, and biology in its quest for devices and systems with new functionality.

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Networking and distributed computing

Faculty in this group are focused on both theoretical and experimental research, with strong collaborations bridging the boundaries. A continuous stream of seminars, student feedback sessions, relevant courses, visits from industry practitioners, and various student-led activities make this a serious and exciting research group to be a part of.

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Power and energy systems

Power and energy systems research emphasizes all aspects of electrical energy, innovation in energy generation and distribution, grid intelligence, renewable resources, electric transportation, and efficient devices and buildings. Research projects address machines and systems for the conversion, delivery, and use of energy in electrical form.

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Reliable and secure computing systems

Research in reliability and security includes modeling and analysis of how various systems can fail and how they can be attacked, the design of monitoring systems that detect and prevent attacks and failures, and verification of correctness of hardware and software, as well as communication protocols. 

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Search ECE Research Centers

View a list of ECE-related research centers.

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