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Contact the CMPE Program:

Undergraduate Coordinators

Staci Kaplan
Email | 215-898-2771

Amy Calhoun
Email

Andre DeHon
Program Director
Email | Faculty Profile

Meet Our Students

Sahithya Prakash
Class of 2018

"I came into college knowing that I wanted to study both the hardware and software sides of engineering. When I found out that Penn offered a Computer Engineering major, I knew it was perfect for me and it was something I wanted to pursue. Being in the program made me realize how well this major combines Electrical Engineering and Computer Science courses and allows for someone to become well-learned in both fields."

Read Sahithya's Story

Why CMPE at Penn?
I came into college knowing that I wanted to study both the hardware and software sides of engineering. When I found out that Penn offered a Computer Engineering major, I knew it was perfect for me and it was something I wanted to pursue. Being in the program made me realize how well this major combines EE and CS courses and allows for someone to become well-learned in both fields.

What would you say is your favorite CMPE class?
My two favorite CMPE classes are ESE215, Circuit Theory, and ESE350, Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers. Although both classes required me to pull some all-nighters here and there, they reminded me why I wanted to be a Computer Engineer and why I loved the major so much. In both classes, I not only learned the core fundamentals, but I also worked on projects that gave me the chance to apply what I have been learning.

How would you describe the CMPE to friends or family who aren't familiar with it?
Usually, I tell people that the major is a combination of both Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and that as a Computer Engineer, I am responsible for understanding the electronics and software of a device or product.

What do you think it takes to be a "successful" computer engineer?
I would say that you should never give up. The course load for this major is very intense, but the complexity of the material or the amount of work shouldn't deter you from pursuing it. People come up to me all the time and ask me why I decided to pick such a hard field to major in; I tell them it's hard but also really rewarding at the same time, and that makes all the blood, sweat, and tears worth it.

What internships have you done?
Last summer, I worked at Intel in Santa Clara, CA. I did a lot of web development projects and dabbled in JavaScript and HTML. It was something I never had exposure to during the school year, so it was a great learning experience.

What other activities do you participate in at Penn?
I am a dancer and choreographer on Penn Raas, an Indian dance team, and a peer counselor on Penn Benjamins. I am also part of the engineering sorority Alpha Omega Epsilon.



Jared Winograd
Class of 2019

"I don't think any background in electronics or programming is necessary to become a successful computer engineer. Experience surely helps, but the most important qualities are curiosity, creativity, and a passion for problem-solving."

Read Jared's Story

Why CMPE at Penn?
I came from a high school that specialized in STEM. One of my electives there was Digital Electronics, which I found very fascinating. I enjoyed learning about the theory behind latches, flip-flops, and registers and then being able to prototype them right in the classroom with circuit kits. Throughout my high school years, I had some motivated friends who were heavily involved with web development and computer programming. After I had heard about the things they were making, from a rock-paper-scissors simulator to a web app that managed the school's lunch orders, I took it upon myself to learn a bit of computer science, starting with Python. While applying to colleges, I was somehow certain that I wanted to pursue engineering but wasn't sure whether EE or CS was the right move. I figured that CMPE would give me the best of both worlds and provide me with the opportunity to experience both and choose what to focus on.

What would you say is your favorite CMPE class?
CIS 121 (Data Structures and Algorithms) with Rajiv Gandhi was quite a fun course, despite the rather intense workload. It gave me insight into the essential processes that drive today's software, like how Google Maps uses algorithms such as Dijkstra's algorithm in order to find the shortest path between two locations. In the context of computer engineering, a solid foundation of algorithms is crucial. Sometimes a small software optimization can be more efficient than a massive hardware overhaul. I look forward to ESE 350 (Embedded Systems) where I can apply skills learned from my CS classes to programming devices that lie within larger, more complex systems.

How would you describe the CMPE to friends or family who aren't familiar with it?
CMPE is an application of CS concepts to electronic devices. It approaches a double major between EE and CS because of the required breadth of the field. CMPE goes from as theoretical as graph algorithms to as low level as Op-Amp circuits. Furthermore, there are courses like ESE 350 and ESE 370 that zone in on applying software to embedded circuits and modeling components on the transistor level.

What do you think it takes to be a "successful" computer engineer?
I don't think any background in electronics or programming is necessary to become a successful computer engineer. Experience surely helps, but the most important qualities are curiosity, creativity, and a passion for problem-solving.

What internships have you done? (Or for seniors, what are you doing next year?)
During my freshman summer, I interned as a Software Development Engineer in Test at iCIMS, a NJ-based company that specializes in talent acquisition software. I wrote scripts in Java to automate UI-based and API tests, which reduced the workload of the functional testing team. I believe test engineering is extremely important in numerous disciplines, from stress-testing a swing set to verifying the functionality of a REST API. From my internship, I learned a lot about the inner workings of a software company as well as the amount of teamwork necessary to maintain large-scale projects.

What other activities do you participate in at Penn?
I participated as a teacher for Access Engineering, a volunteer organization that provides a free engineering education to high school students in the Philadelphia area. I also partake each year in PennApps, where a few friends and I take an idea for a software or hardware-based project and just build it! In addition, I enjoy playing baritone sax for the Penn Wind Ensemble.




Jenna Barton
Class of 2019

"I have always been fascinated by engineering, but it was the concept of wearable devices that drew me to Computer Engineering. I want to understand how software and hardware interact - how the code controls the device, how different sensors and pieces of hardware can be used to collect data, how the hardware limits what the software can accomplish, and plenty more. For me, CMPE is a way to understand these interactions and get a comprehensive idea of technology."

Read Jenna's Story

Why CMPE at Penn?
I have always been fascinated by engineering, but it was the concept of wearable devices that drew me to CMPE. I want to understand how software and hardware interact - how the code controls the device, how different sensors and pieces of hardware can be used to collect data, how the hardware limits what the software can accomplish, and plenty more. For me, CMPE is a way to understand these interactions and get a comprehensive idea of technology. Furthermore, my technology fascinations are all in the context of an entrepreneurial passion, and the ability to study Economics/Entrepreneurship at Wharton in parallel with CMPE makes Penn unmatched.

What would you say is your favorite CMPE class?

My favorite CMPE class thus far is CIS 240. The course is designed to give you a thorough understanding of how a computer really works, diving into low level gates up through assembly and the C programming language. It’s been a great mix of hardware and software elements, and allows us to develop a strong foundation in how the two interact.

How would you describe CMPE to friends or family who aren't familiar with it?

Computer engineers are the middlemen between the electrical engineers that build the hardware and the software engineers that write the code that bring it to life. We understand the underlying limitations of the hardware as well as how it can be manipulated through code by studying a combination of computer science and electrical engineering courses.

What do you think it takes to be a "successful" computer engineer?
To be a “successful” computer engineer, you need to be intrigued by technology and passionate about what you are learning. Our courses are challenging, but they are highly rewarding when you are interested in and passionate about the topics.

What internships have you done? (Or for seniors, what are you doing next year?)
The summer after my freshman year I interned for Google in a software engineering role. After my sophomore year, I will be returning to Google as a software engineering intern.

What other activities do you participate in at Penn?

I am on the logistics board for WeissLabs, the student-run incubator within the Weiss Tech House, and a member of Architechs, Penn’s hardware hacking club. I am also a TA for a graduate-level course in financial derivatives within the Wharton School. As a freshman, I was a research assistant for a Wharton professor where I focused on identifying and developing software solutions that enhance financial research. Additionally, I fuel my love of being outdoors as a member of Penn’s Outdoors Club.




Phillip Trent
Class of 2018

“I fell in love with computers while working IT for my high school. Through that I realized that I couldn’t see myself in a life where I wasn’t exploring the fascinating, ubiquitous machines that enable humans to perform some of the most amazing feats in history… [With Computer Engineering],I satiate my desire for circuit theory, digital design, and true hardware knowledge without distancing myself from the expansive, powerfully creative, theoretical and practical benefits of software. I was looking for a program that completely encompassed the computer, and I found it at Penn in the CMPE program.”

Read Phillip's Story

Why CMPE at Penn?
I fell in love with computers while working IT for my high school. Through that I realized that I couldn’t see myself in a life where I wasn’t exploring the fascinating, ubiquitous machines that enable humans to perform some of the most amazing feats in history. That’s why “computers” but the question is "why CMPE?" I looked long and hard at both electrical engineering and computer science trying to fit myself into one of the two bins—was I a computer scientist or an electrical engineer? What did I want to learn? Answering this question was probably one of the most difficult choices that I have made thus far, and I question it constantly. To me, computer science and electrical engineering are each a single side of a two-sided coin. There’s a yin-yang, ebb-and-flow quality to the two fields that I believe is best combined in computer engineering. I satiate my desire for circuit theory, digital design, and true hardware knowledge without distancing myself from the expansive, powerfully creative, theoretical and practical benefits of software. I was looking for a program that completely encompassed the computer, and I found it at Penn in the CMPE program.

What would you say is your favorite CMPE class?
This is a terribly difficult question (and I’m sure the answer will change), but the course that really pushed me—sometimes to the breaking point—as a computer engineer was ESE 350, which is the embedded systems course. CMPE is centered around the coupling of hardware and software, so embedded systems is a natural fit for the degree, and this class all the more because of the (terribly notorious) final project. Not for the faint of heart, the final project is honestly you and your lab partner against time, resources, and ever-mounting failures trying to build something incredible. Sometimes—as was the case with my team’s project—you’re building something that has really never been tried or tested before. It’s my favorite because it has all of the things that I look for in a class: I built something (though this is a very common occurrence in the CMPE degree), I was challenged, I got to solve a real problem, and I was able to use the breadth of knowledge from my past coursework to really create.

How would you describe the CMPE to friends or family who aren't familiar with it?
The people are a family; the degree is difficult; and “I do hardware AND software.”

What do you think it takes to be a "successful" computer engineer?
I put a lot of weight on the word “success” because I think it is very often misused. To me, pursuing monetary gain or fame is not true success. Being a successful computer engineer is just like being a successful human being—it’s about looking back and being proud of what you’ve accomplished and satisfied with where you are. I think if you’re a person considering computer engineering, then you need to be passionate about it, and you need to realize that it’s not for everyone. The degree has very little flexibility, and you’ll start to realize that the working world tries to push you into one of those bins I was talking about earlier, so it’s hard to stay a computer engineer. To be a successful computer engineer is to be naturally passionate about the field, and to be a successful person is to realize that doing what you're passionate about is the root of lifelong success.

What internships have you done? (Or for seniors, what are you doing next year?)
After freshmen year, I worked remotely for a startup in iOS UI/UX Design, and iOS software development. After sophomore year, I worked at Xilinx on the CMAC/Interlaken COE Team helping them automate the testing for new pre-production FPGAs and SoCs. Both summers have offered very unique perspectives on the private sector and the sheer breadth of available fields.

What other activities do you participate in at Penn?
I’m on the leadership team for Penn Faith & Action, which is an on-campus Christian organization and a pretty great family of friends. I also help out with Architechs—Penn’s hardware hacking group—when they need a helping hand. This semester, I am studying abroad at ETH Zürich, which has been an absolutely unforgettable, incredible, life-altering experience like nothing I could have imagined.