ECE 101: Exploring Digital Information Technologies for Non-Engineers


Course Description:

This course will give students from outside of Engineering an under-the-hood view of 12 important technologies that will impact their daily lives in the next decade. For each technology, students will (1) understand the core technical challenges in realizing the technology, (2) gain intuition on how the challenges are being solved, (3) appreciate how such technologies translate to business and revenue, and (4) identify implications in areas such as privacy, fairness, policy, ethics, and other paradigm shifts. Technical subjects to be considered include basics of sensing, computing, communication, and control, the 4 pillars of technology. To help students better relate to the topics discussed in the course, each technology will be highlighted using one or more well-established companies (e.g., Comcast, ATT, Google, Facebook, ADT, Amazon, Microsoft, Tesla, Verisign).


Steve Lumetta & Romit Roy Choudhury
  Steve   Romit

Logistics and Links:

Timing: Tu/Th 11-11:50am, Labs: Friday
Location: [TBD]
Piazza: Link here

Grading (tentative):

25% HW
25% Hands-on exercise
25% Midterm exam
25% Project

Course Topics

Table of  contents

Course Assessments


- Students should be able to remember and explain ideas or concepts - Students should be able to understand and answer true/false questions - Students should be able to apply concepts and solve/sketch solutions to problems

Hands-on exercises:

- Students should be able to configure parameters in Jupyter notebook (with descriptions and code given to them) - Students should be able to plot graphs to visualize data and/or explain trends and behaviors - Students should be able to modify parameters to derive or predict potential trends

Projects (one of multiple options)

- Write a technological survey article/report with personal opinion and conclusions. - Use existing data (or gather own data), visualize them, draw conclusions, and write a report. - Choose a company, design experiments using data from that company (e.g., Twitter), draw conclusions, write a report.

Course Calendar

Module 1: Big picture  
Lecture 1
Course introduction
- Logistics, topics, personnel, grading, prerequisites, etc. - Technology landscape, role of non-engineers, computing + X

video lec1.pdf

Lecture 2
Technology map and foundations
- 10 thousand foot view (Internet) to 100 feet view (programming) - Role of artificial intelligence - Society and technology

video lec2.pdf

Module 2: Internet: Wired and Wireless  

Module 3: Social Networks  

Module 4: IoT, Smarthomes, and Wearables  

Module 5: Artificial Intelligence  

Module 6: Security and Privacy