The formerly-known Department of Electrical Engineering (ELE) will now be recognized as the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), the University announced in a recent press release.
Explaining the transition, the department wrote in the announcement that the renaming “better captures the department’s range of strengths and impacts.” It then went on to say that computing has always been an integral component of the ELE department and that the change was only natural.
"The discipline of electrical engineering is exceptionally broad and has always been the nexus of innovation in new generations of computer and information technologies,” added Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science Andrea Goldsmith in the announcement.
The decision received approval from all voting members and was viewed favorably by faculty and administrative staff throughout the department.
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Niraj Jha expressed his agreement with the renaming, highlighting how it aligns with the variety of courses and research within the department.
“Including both ‘Electrical’ and ‘Computer’ in the title better reflects what our department does,” he wrote in an email to The Daily Princetonian. “Various activities in the Computer Engineering part of the department include courses and research on Computer Architecture, Circuits, Security, Machine Learning Accelerators, Formal Verification, THz Electronics, Smart Healthcare, Power Electronics, etc.”
The announcement shared a similar sentiment as it mentions the various research projects currently undertaken by professors in the department, which includes communication networks as well as computing platforms and applications.
While the ECE department is pleased with how the renaming will impact faculty, the announcement also expressed excitement for the opportunities it will offer students within the department.
In the announcement, ECE Department Chair Sharad Malik said the renaming will “expand opportunities for our students entering the workforce and makes a statement to our external partners about Princeton’s strengths in transformative technological innovation.”
Darren Chiu ’23, who declared ELE as his concentration last spring, is satisfied with the renaming of the department and how it now more accurately reflects his coursework.
To Chiu, the department’s renaming did not come as a surprise as he reflected on his realization of the major role computing played in the department.
“I also thought that it was a mind blowing experience seeing ideas from ELE 206 [Contemporary Logic Design] make their way into and support certain concepts in COS 217 [Introduction to Programming Systems],” he said. “The change also aligns more with what I have always been interested in, being that combination of programming and hardware.”
According to Jha, the department also hopes to attract more prospective concentrators with its newfound emphasis on computing, which may entice students who did not previously consider entering the department.
“The name change makes it possible to more easily convey information on this range of Computer Engineering activities to those not that familiar with the department,” Jha wrote to the ‘Prince.’
ECE Undergraduate Program Coordinator Jean Bausmith echoed Jha’s statement in an email to the ‘Prince.’
“I personally am very happy with the change to the new name,” she wrote. “I look forward to meeting the first-years at our spring open house who might be interested in exploring what ECE has to offer.”