Exploring Digital Information Technologies for Non-Engineers
Spring 2024

ECE 101 Banner

Logistics

Lectures

Mondays & Wednesdays, 2:00pm - 2:50pm at 3020 Electrical & Computer Eng Bldg (ECEB)

See Lecture Schedule

Labs

Fridays, 10:00am - 11:50am or 12:00pm - 1:50pm at 3020 Electrical & Computer Eng Bldg (ECEB)

We will use Mathematica in the labs. To work on the labs, you will have to download and install Mathematica on your computers from here (using your netID and password).

You can also access notebooks directly from within your browser at www.wolframcloud.com by logging in with your netID and password. However some of the more code-intensive exercises can run into issues on the cloud. We recommend installing the desktop application for a better experience

Labs will be submitted and graded using Gradescope. Details about the submission process will be provided during class.

Communication

We will use the ECE 101 workspace on Slack for communication in this course. We will post important announcements, links to interesting resources, ask questions (responses to which will count as class participation) and respond to student questions on Slack.

We will also respond to student emails. However a Slack message will probably get you a quicker response.

Office Hours

Instructor: Abrita Chakravarty

Mondays & Wednesdays, 2:50pm - 3:20pm or by appointment

TA: Sattwik Basu

Tuesdays, 3:00pm - 4:00pm at 2036 Electrical & Computer Eng Bldg


Calendar

Introduction

Wed, Jan 17
Course Introduction & Landscape
Logistics, topics, grading, prerequisites, etc.
10 thousand foot view (Internet) to 100 feet view (programming)
Part 1 Slides / Part 2 Notebook
Fri, Jan 19
Lab 1
Introduction to Wolfram Notebooks
Notebook

Past & Present — Connecting the World

Mon, Jan 22
History and Map of Keywords
Slides
Wed, Jan 24
WiFi
Slides
Fri, Jan 26
Lab 2
WiFi
Notebook
Mon, Jan 29
Cellular
Slides
Wed, Jan 31
Internet (1/2)
Connectivity, Forwarding, and Routing
Slides
Fri, Feb 2
Lab 3
Internet and Graphs
Notebook
Mon, Feb 5
Internet (2/2)
HTTP, DNS, TCP, and Layering
Slides
Wed, Feb 7
Client-Server
Slides
Fri, Feb 9
No Lab
 
Mon, Feb 12
Distribution and Streaming Part 1
Slides
Wed, Feb 14
Social Networks Distribution and Streaming Part 2
Slides 
Fri, Feb 16
Lab 4
Distribution and Streaming
Notebook
Mon, Feb 19
File Systems
Slides
Wed, Feb 21
Exam 1 Review Social Networks
Study Guide Notebook
Fri, Feb 23
Exam 1 Lab 5
Social Networks
Notebook
Mon, Feb 26
Exam Review
Study Guide
Wed, Feb 28
Exam 1
 

Intelligence & Implications

Fri, Mar 1
Introduction to Machine Intelligence
Notebook
Mon, Mar 4
Search Engines
Slides
Wed, Mar 6
Recommendation Systems
Notebook
Fri, Mar 8
Lab 6
Search Engines
Notebook
Sat, Mar 9
Spring Break Begins
Sun, Mar 17
Spring Break Ends
Mon, Mar 18
Machine Learning (1/2)
Notebook
Wed, Mar 20
Machine Learning (2/2)
Notebook
Fri, Mar 22
Lab 7
Machine Learning
Notebook
Mon, Mar 25
Neural Networks and LLMs
Slides
Wed, Mar 27
Physical Security and Authentication
Slides
Fri, Mar 29
Lab 8
Authentication
Notebook
Mon, Apr 1
Ethics, Privacy and Fairness
Slides
Wed, Apr 3
Exam 2 Review
Study Guide
Fri, Apr 5
Exam 2
 

Future

Mon, Apr 8
Sense-Compute-Communicate-Actuate (1/2)
Notebook
Wed, Apr 10
Sense-Compute-Communicate-Actuate (2/2)
Notebook
Fri, Apr 12
Lab 9
Sense-Compute-Communicate-Actuate
Notebook
Mon, Apr 15
Computer Vision
Notebook
Wed, Apr 17
Speech and Natural Language Processing
Slides
Fri, Apr 19
Lab 10
Computer Vision
Notebook
Mon, Apr 22
Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality
Slides
Wed, Apr 24
Self-driving
Slides
Fri, Apr 26
Lab 11
Working with Data
Notebook

Final Week

Mon, Apr 29
Exam 3 Review
Study Guide
Wed, May 1
Exam 3
 

Syllabus

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 topics 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 highlight one or more well-established companies (e.g., Comcast, ATT, Google, Meta, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Tesla, OpenAI).


Exercises

Exercises are optional, but they will help you with your preparation for exams by testing your understanding of the material. Exercises will be posted as the semester progresses.


Exam Information

The course has three midterm exams. There will NOT be any final exam.

Each exam will be 50 mins long. You are allowed 1 letter-size (8.5" x 11") handwritten cheatsheet (you may use both sides). The exam is closed book/notes, and calculators are not allowed.
Detailed information on logistics, format, and grading will be provided during exam review sessions.

Exam 1

Exam 1 will be on Feb 28. This exam will test concepts covered in the Past & Present module.

Exam 2

Exam 2 will be on April 5. This exam will test concepts covered in the Intelligence & Implications module.

Exam 3

Exam 3 will be on May 1. This exam will test concepts covered in the Future module.


Grading Information

Your final grade will be based on a weighted combination of the following:

  • Classroom participation: 20% (6 absences allowed)
  • Weekly Labs (best 8 out of 10): 35%
  • Three Midterm Exams: 3 x 15 = 45%
    (Regrade policy: Correct mistakes and turn in for half of the points lost.)

 

 

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