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FROM WEARABLES TO ROBOTS, UNLEASH YOUR IMAGINATION TO BUILD THE COMPUTING SYSTEMS OF THE FUTURE.

Computer Engineering (CE)

com.pu.ter en.gi.neer.ing

The design and construction of computing systems from the hardware to the software to harness technology in new, productive, and surprising ways.

Also Known As: Computer Architect, Automation Engineer, Hardware Engineer, Systems Engineer, Microchip Specialist, Applications Engineer, Chip Design and Verification Engineer, Computer Hardware Engineer, Embedded Software Engineer, Applications Programmers, Systems Programmers, +10,000 more

A very colorful circuitboard with a plexiglass cover sits on top of a black robot with wires poking out

WHY CE AT MICHIGAN?

  • No. 7

    US News and World Report

  • $50M

    Research

  • 18K+

    Electrical and Computer Engineering alumni

  • Deep expertise

    in all areas of CE

Jobs: Michigan computer engineers are highly recruited by a wide variety of industries.

Industry ties: Michigan computer engineering faculty have close ties with industry and give students relevant tools to use in class.

Impact: Michigan’s computer engineers founded Google, created the iPod, were key to the Chevy Volt, and are helping run the State of Michigan.

A hand holds a speaker next to a circuitboard connected by a rainbow of wires to a white chip dotted with tiny plugs

What do Computer Engineers do?

We are the people who unite hardware and software in the perfect marriage to accomplish a wide array of computing tasks. We design computing systems that are embedded in most every automated device. We make the Internet faster, increase the reliability and security of computers, and create the highly integrated systems used in smartphones, electric vehicles, and much more.

ACADEMIC CONCENTRATIONS

  • Computer Architecture

    Design the next generation of microprocessors starting from components and building up.

    Courses: Data Structures & Algorithms, Computer Architecture, Embedded System Design, VLSI Design

  • Computer-Aided Design

    Improve and use sophisticated automated integrated circuit and computer systems design algorithms and software tools to obtain a deep understanding of logic design and design the next-generation of digital integrated circuits.

    Courses: Data Structures & Algorithms, Logic Circuit Synthesis & Optimization, Upper Level EECS Courses

  • Computer-Based Control Systems

    Design and build computer systems that monitor and control physical processes in real time. Unify sensors, computers, and actuators into machines using algorithms that you’ve developed and implemented.

    Courses: Embedded Systems Design, Control Systems Analysis & Design, Embedded Control Systems, Upper Level EECS Course

  • Digital Signals and Systems

    Manipulate and communicate digital signals like audio and video using your in-depth theoretical understanding and practical skills. Design digital hardware-software systems that encode, decode, transform, and analyze digital signals.

    Courses: Probabilistic Methods in Engineering, Digital Signal Processing, Digital Signal Processing Design Laboratory, Upper Level EECS Course

  • Embedded Systems

    Build the application-specific computers that run smartphones, medical devices, wireless sensor networks, and vehicles. These devices must be portable and reliable, and may include specialization in a certain field to create the best product possible.

    Courses: Data Structures & Algorithms, Embedded Systems Design, Upper Level EECS Courses

  • Robotics and Vision

    Build the controllers for the ultra-cool robots so that they can move through their physical environments, recognize objects and activities, and draw conclusions about their surroundings.

    Courses: Data Structures & Algorithms, Computer Vision, Autonomous Robotics, Upper Level EECS Course

  • System Software

    Develop the expertise in designing the software that interacts with the hardware of the system on which it runs. See the big picture of how software design decisions impact hardware and applications.

    Courses: Data Structures & Algorithms, Embedded System Design, Operating Systems, Upper Level EECS Course

  • VLSI Systems (Chip Design)

    Prepare to design the complex, high performance, and energy-efficient digital circuits that are an integral part of modern and future computers.

    Courses: Digital Integrated Circuits, Semiconductor Devices, VLSI Design, Upper Level EECS Course

  • Concentrations are optional for Computer Engineering. They represent a topic that a student may later pursue as a career.

Concentrations are optional for Computer Engineering. They represent a topic that a student may later pursue as a career.

Graduate receiving hood during ceremony

Sequential Undergraduate/Graduate Studies Program (SUGS)

Complete your bachelor’s and master’s degrees in only five years with SUGS by taking some graduate-level classes during your undergraduate years, so you can save yourself one semester and complete the masters with only two additional semesters.

LEARN MORE

Sample Course List

First-Year

First-Year

  • Fall Semester
    • CoE Core
      Calculus I (Math 115)
    • CoE Core
      Engineering 100
    • CoE Core
      Chemistry (125/126 and 130 or 210 and 211)
    • Elective
      Intellectual Breadth
  • Winter Semester
    • CoE Core
      Calculus II (Math 116)
    • CoE Core
      Engineering 101
    • CoE Core
      Physics (140 and 141)
    • Elective
      Intellectual Breadth

Sophomore Year

Sophomore Year

  • Fall Semester
    • CoE Core
      Physics (240 and 241)
    • Major Requirement
      Logic Design (EECS 270)
    • Major Requirement
      Discrete Mathematics (EECS 203)
    • Elective
      General Elective
  • Winter Semester
    • CoE Core
      Calculus III (Math 215)
    • Major Requirement
      Circuits (EECS 215)
    • Major Requirement
      Programming & Elementary Data Structures (EECS 280)
    • Elective
      Intellectual Breadth

Junior Year

Junior Year

  • Fall Semester
    • CoE Core
      Differential Equations (Math 216)
    • Major Requirement
      Signals and Systems (EECS 216)
    • Major Requirement
      Computer Organization (EECS 370)
    • Major Requirement
      Technical Communication
    • Elective
      Intellectual Breadth
  • Winter Semester
    • Major Requirement
      EECS 301, MATH 425, or STATS 412
    • Major Requirement
      Core Elective
    • Major Requirement
      Core Elective
    • Elective
      Intellectual Breadth

Senior Year

Senior Year

  • Fall Semester
    • Major Requirement
      EECS Elective
    • Major Requirement
      Upper Level CE Elective
    • Elective
      Technical Elective
    • Elective
      General Elective
  • Winter Semester
    • Major Requirement
      Technical Communication and EECS 496
    • Major Requirement
      Upper Level CE Elective
    • Elective
      Technical Elective
    • CoE Core
      General Elective

Individualized schedules will be made by students in consultation with an advisor who will tailor their classes to better fit the student's needs.

Practice Your Purpose

Apply the skills you are learning in class to the real world.

Student Design Teams

Project Music Logo
Project Music
A drone with 4 propellers floats in the air with a pyramid shaped center with a white box on tip and wires sticking out
MAAV - Michigan Autonomous Aerial Vehicles
A student races an all-terrain baja car with enormous wheels on a dirt track with mountains in the background.
Michigan Baja Racing
An electric racecar labeled with a large “Michigan” with a student driver wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet
Michigan Electric Racing
4 students wearing MRover shirts smile while carrying the rover, a machine platform with 4 tires and a robotic arm.
MRover - Michigan Mars Rover
2 team members wipe the completed maize and blue solar car. The car has a sleek design and half covered in solar panels.
Solar Car Team
A small vessel made up of two boxes sits in the NERS Fountain. The bottom box has a painted shark face
UM::Autonomy - Autonomous Boat
Members of Hyperloop pose for a photo in the North Campus Grove
Michigan Hyperloop
Students For Exploration And Development of Space
Students for the Exploration and Development of Space
A student in a full-face motorcycle helmet sits nearly horizontally as he rides the maize electric motorcycle named “Chronos”
SPARK - Electric Racing
A woman atop a roof wearing a hard hat and holding a power tool in front of a set of solar panels.
Grid Alternatives
Masa Logo
MASA - Michigan Aeronautical Science Association
A student wears a powered exoskeleton. It is worn like a backpack and has metal pieces that extend down to the feet.
STARX - Strength Augmenting Robotic eXoskeletons
Students gather at the edge of a cliff overlooking a mountain range jutting out into the sea
Team Aquador
IGV Logo
Intelligent Ground Vehicle Team
A maize and blue model airplane with a large block M takes off from the runway
M-Fly
M-Heal members gather around the rock painted with the M-Heal emblem.
M-HEAL - Michigan Health Engineered for All Lives
A hand adjusts the brightly colored wires with a green light shining in the background
Michigan Applied Robotics Group

Professional Development

Arbor Hacks Logo
ArborHacks
Code M Logo
Code-M
Members of the all-female student org ECSEL laugh and pose with silly faces in a botanical garden
ECSEL - Ensemble of CSE Ladies
GEECS Logo
Girls in EECS
HKN Logo
Eta Kappa Nu - Honor Society
An aerial view of students with laptops gathered around a table
Michigan Hackers
A blue circuitboard with an out-of-focus phone keypad in the foreground
Michigan Embedded Systems Hub

Research

Robert Dick headshot
Robert Dick: More Efficient Machine Vision Technology
READ MORE
Hun-Seok Kim headshot
Hun Seok Kim: A New Hybrid Chip That Can Change Its Own Wiring
READ MORE
Michael P Flynn headshot
Michael Flynn: Brain Prostheses, Wireless Receiver, ADCs
READ MORE
David Blaauw headshot
David Blaauw: An Even Smaller World’s Smallest ‘Computer’
READ MORE
Todd Austin headshot
Todd Austin: Chip Stops Hacks Before They Start
READ MORE
Valeria Bertacco headshot
Valeria Bertacco: Reimagining How Computers are Designed
READ MORE
Ronald G. Dreslinski headshot
Ronald Dreslinski: Using Software to Beat Moore’s Law
READ MORE
Kevin Fu headshot
Kevin Fu: Sonic Cyber Attacks Show Security Holes in Ubiquitous Sensors
READ MORE
Alanson Sample headshot
Alanson Sample: All things are part of the Internet of Things with new RFID system
READ MORE

Alumni Biographies

Each of these alumni are real people who were once in your shoes, deciding a major. Explore their path and how a Michigan education set their life in motion.

  • Christopher Rozell headshot
    • Christopher Rozell
    • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • David Liu headshot
    • David Liu
    • OnPrem Solution Partners
  • Jack Bonn headshot
    • Jack Bonn
    • Northrop Grumman
  • Tony Fadell headshot
    • Tony Fadell
    • iPod inventor, iPhone co-inventor, Nest founder, and Future Shape principal
  • Joe Lin headshot
    • Joe Lin
    • The NPD Group
  • Kwame Fields headshot
    • Kwame A. Fields
    • The Federal Home Loan Bank
  • Katie Tamarelli headshot
    • Katie Tamarelli
    • Fifth Third Bank
  • Ronald G. Dreslinski headshot
    • Ronald Dreslinski Jr.
    • University of Michigan
  • William Joy headshot
    • William Joy
    • Water Street Capital
  • K Cyrus Hadavi headshot
    • K. Cyrus Hadavi
    • Adexa
Christopher Rozell headshot

    Christopher Rozell

    Georgia Institute of Technology

David Liu headshot

    David Liu

    OnPrem Solution Partners

Jack Bonn headshot

    Jack Bonn

    Northrop Grumman

Tony Fadell headshot

    Tony Fadell

    iPod inventor, iPhone co-inventor, Nest founder, and Future Shape principal

Joe Lin headshot

    Joe Lin

    The NPD Group

Kwame Fields headshot

    Kwame A. Fields

    The Federal Home Loan Bank

Katie Tamarelli headshot

    Katie Tamarelli

    Fifth Third Bank

Ronald G. Dreslinski headshot

    Ronald Dreslinski Jr.

    University of Michigan

William Joy headshot

    William Joy

    Water Street Capital

K Cyrus Hadavi headshot

    K. Cyrus Hadavi

    Adexa

Not sure what major to choose?

Tap in to our network of 85k+ engineering alumni. Do you have questions you’d like answered? Our alumni are always eager to talk about engineering.

Please email engin-alumni@umich.edu for more information.

SPEAK TO AN ALUM
A student with pink nails connects wires to a white chip

Industries & Occupations

  • Computer Systems Design
  • Computer Equipment Manufacturing
  • Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control instruments manufacturing
  • Scientific research
  • Federal Government
  • Data processing and software industries
  • Wireless telecommunications industry
  • Business Management and Consulting
A bright red, fushia, and purple digital model of a computer processor

Companies

  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • Bloomberg
  • Cisco Systems
  • Citi
  • Facebook
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Google
  • Hulu
  • IBM
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Microsoft
  • Motorola Solutions
  • Sprint
  • Toyota

Find salary information at the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Discover the various salary ranges based on experience level and location.

LEARN MORE

LEARN MORE

Christopher Rozell headshot

Christopher Rozell

  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

University of Michigan, BSE Computer Engineering, 2000
University of Michigan, BFA Performing Arts Technology — Music, 2000
Rice University, MS Electrical Engineering, 2002
Rice University, PhD Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2007
University of California, Berkeley, Postdoctoral Scholar, Theoretical Neuroscience, 2007-2008
Career Summary

I am a researcher and educator, so most of my career training has happened within the context of academic institutions. My first research experiences came as an undergraduate at UM on a joint project between the music school and EECS. In addition to the research in my graduate training, I also had an internship at MIT Lincoln Laboratory to experience research in a government laboratory. After graduate school, I also had an incredibly valuable postdoctoral research position at Berkeley which helped immensely in preparing me to lead my own research lab. I lead a lab of PhD students and postdocs performing research at the intersection of machine learning and neuroengineering. My teaching in the undergraduate and graduate curriculum centers around applied mathematics and the applications to machine learning and biotechnology.

I started performing arts training when I was in elementary school, eventually becoming involved in instrumental music, choral music and theater. Those experiences were critical to my development as an engineering researcher, including making me more creative and dramatically improving my communication ability. I engaged significantly in science policy discussions during my graduate studies by taking advantage of programs at my graduate institution. While I never worked in the area specifically myself, exposure to those discussions help me appreciate the need to understand and articulate the broad impact of the research we were engaging in.

Favorite Student Orgs

My most significant organizational participation at Michigan came through my membership in the Men’s Glee Club. It allowed me a high level of performance quality, as well as an opportunity to travel the world (which I had never done before). In addition to 5 significant domestic tours, I was able to spend approximately a month each in South America and Australia giving concerts and seeing the world with my friends. It was an incredible experience.

For my first year on campus, I was also a member of the marching band (drumline). I had to give that up after the first year when I started the dual major because the time commitment was too much for my schedule.

David Liu headshot

David Liu

  • OnPrem Solution Partners
  • Principal

University of Michigan, BSE Computer Engineering, 2006
Career Summary

After graduation, I went away from a pure engineering role and instead went into a technology leadership training program at GE (when they owned NBC Universal). Through that, I got more involved in the Media and Entertainment industry. I did a lot of technology project and product management, along with operations management. All the critical thinking skills from engineering helped to approach and problem solve business issues. Having familiarity around the software development lifecycle, and coding definitely helped as I could relate to what our technical teams were dealing with.

After NBC Universal, I joined the technology consulting world (Cognizant and then OnPrem Solution Partners) as a lot of the same problem solving skills came into play there. It’s rare to find a blend of folks that have a strong technical and functional background. In consulting, it’s critical to be able to go into a new situation, quickly get up to speed, learn new subject matter areas quickly by doing your research and asking the key question, while also quickly analyzing the problems and coming up with either a process, technology, and/or organizational solution in a methodical fashion. Michigan Engineering helped me build those core skillsets.

Career Timeline
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Cole National Corporation
  • NBC Universal
  • Cognizant Technology Solutions
  • Motorola
  • Buyerly
  • OnPrem Solution Partners
Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

Like: Creativity and solving problems

Dislike: Debugging

Jack Bonn headshot

Jack Bonn

  • Northrop Grumman
  • Software Consultant

University of Michigan, BSE Computer Engineering, 1976
University of Michigan, MSE Computer Engineering, 1977
Career Summary

Initially took and employee job at ITT in Connecticut. After a couple of years I was offered a plum offer to work at one of their divisions in Germany. Instead I opted to work as an independent consultant which was similarly financially attractive.

I have worked on everything from RADARs to fast food controls to bottle making machines. I have been intrigued with real-time aspects of software and have learned from each assignment. Specifically, the bottle making software was challenging. This was “hard real time” where not keeping up could cause death or dismemberment.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

I enjoyed the IEEE lunches where people would come in from industry. Gave a good view of what life was like in the working world.

Advice to Students

Do the hard subjects, it will pay off in the long run.

Tony Fadell headshot

Tony Fadell

  • iPod inventor, iPhone co-inventor, Nest founder, and Future Shape principal

University of Michigan, BS in Computer Engineering, 1991.
Career Summary

Tony is an active investor & entrepreneur with a 30+ year history of founding companies & designing products that profoundly improve people’s lives. As the Principal at Future Shape, a global investment and advisory firm coaching engineers & scientists working on foundational deep technology, he is continuing to help bring technology out of the lab and into our lives. Currently, Future Shape is coaching 200+ startups innovating game-changing technologies. Headquartered at Station F Paris, France.

While at University of Michigan, Tony was founder & CEO of Constructive Instruments, a company he started with U-M Professor Elliot Soloway. It developed MediaText, a multimedia composition software for children. From 1992 to 1995, he served as a Hardware and Software Architect at General Magic, which created the precursor to the iPhone 15 years earlier (watch the General Magic documentary on Showtime/Apple iTunes!). He founded the Mobile Computing Group at Philips Electronics and served as its Chief Technology Officer and Director of Engineering 1995 to 1998, responsible for all aspects of business and product development, including the award-winning Philips Velo & Nino PDAs. From 1998 to 1999, he served as Vice President for Philips Strategy & Venture focused on building out its digital media strategy & investment portfolio.

He joined Apple Computer Inc. in 2001 and, as the Senior Vice President of Apple’s iPod division, led the team that created the first 18 generations of the iPod and the first three generations of the iPhone. Tony founded Nest Labs, Inc. in 2010 and served as its Chief Executive Officer until his resignation in 2016.

Career Timeline
  • Constructive Instruments // MediaText
  • General Magic
  • Philips Electronics
  • Apple Computer Inc.
  • Nest Labs, Inc.
  • Future Shape
Honors and Awards
  • (2004) University of Michigan, College of Engineering’s alumnus of the year award
  • (2012) Alva Award, “The Next Great Serial Inventor”
  • (2012) (2013) (2014) Vanity Fair, Next Establishment list
  • (2013) Business Insider, Top 75 Designers in Technology
  • (2013) Fast Company, 100 Most Creative People
  • (2013) CNBC, Top 50 Disruptors
  • (2013) Fortune, Trailblazers: 11 people changing business
  • (2014) Fortune, The World’s Top 25 Eco-Innovators
  • (2014) TIME Magazine, 100 Most Influential People in the World
  • (2014) CNN, CNN 10: Thinkers
  • (2014) Golden Plate Award, American Academy of Achievement
  • (2016), TIME named the Nest Learning Thermostat, the iPod and the iPhone as three of the “50 Most Influential Gadgets of All Time”
  • Tony has filed more than 300 patents for his work.
Advice to Students

If you’re not having doubt, then you’re not pushing it hard enough, or you’re not looking at the details close enough. You need to be feeling that doubt every single day.

I challenge myself to solve the problems that nobody sees. When I encounter a problem, I break it down, understand my audience, and iterate, always iterate.

The projects I’ve worked on taught me to learn by doing.

Joe Lin headshot

Joe Lin

  • The NPD Group
  • Director, PMO

University of Michigan, BSE Computer Engineering, 1998
New York University, MBA, 2010
Career Summary

I started my career at IBM as a SAP ERP developer before joining a startup as a web producer at iWon.com for 2 years. From there I went into the publishing industry at Time Inc., where I started to take on more management responsibilities and got my MBA. After Time Inc., I joined Newsweek to lead the internal IT applications team then joined another startup, The Ladders, where I continue the career path in IT leadership. I transitioned into the manufacturing space when I joined Pall Corporation where I took on responsibilities in digital strategy & IT leadership. Along the way, I also did short stints in telecommunications sales and teaching vocational training.

Career Timeline
  • Secret Angel Foundation
  • iWon.com
  • IBM
  • The UrbanMentor Project
  • New Concept Computer Training Center
  • Time Inc.
  • Newsweek Inc.
  • TheLadders
  • Pall Corporation
  • J Lin Advisors Ltd.
  • The NPD Group
Favorite Classes

I love the arts, but my favorite class in school was Computer Vision.

Advice to Students

Take calculated risks and chase your passion. If you don’t know your passion, then search for it. There is no better time than your college years and immediately after college to take a chance on making a difference, doing something unique or being creative.

Kwame Fields headshot

Kwame A. Fields

  • The Federal Home Loan Bank
  • Chief Information Security Officer

University of Michigan, BSE Computer Engineering, 1998
University of Phoenix, MBA Technology Management, 2010
Career Summary

During my time at UofM I partnered with professors and graduate students to participate on research projects. Before I graduated I had an internship with Accenture that turned into my first full time job in Application Development. Consulting helped expose me to many different industries, but I eventually settled on Chemicals and Energy and worked for a large utility company. After 9-11 my career shifted to security and risk management out of necessity.

Utility companies had long believed that their unique technology and systems insulated them from cyber attacks, which was not entirely true, as I found out when I worked to secure a nuclear power plant. From there I used my new skills to help a large health care company adapt to new HIPAA information security regulations. Information security was at the forefront of the battle to eliminate black market drugs from the mainstream supply chain.

During that same time frame, many industries were transitioning more services online and I eventually focused my career in financial services. Because the financial services industry is heavily regulated, there is a significant unmet need for security and risk management professionals. I used what I had learned to aggressively help financial companies meet the regulations, mature their information security and risk management functions, and elevate their corporate profiles to attract and retain quality talent.

Each organization I worked at I made sure to leave something and take something with me. In some organizations I created outlets for minority employees so they have a strong voice with leadership, at other organizations I created entirely new programs and teams that helped meet business objectives in a more secure and risk adverse way. But at each stop I added new skills to my tool belt. New perspectives. New techniques. New concepts. Each new item made me the ideal candidate for the role I have now. I had the cross-industry perspectives to draw from and I had security and risk management skills to appropriately apply controls to meet regulatory requirements while not suppressing business operations or innovation.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

Beyond academics I think it goes without saying that Michigan is one of THE best schools for athletics. From Crew and Rugby club sports all the way to nationally recognized Football, Basketball, Hockey, and Baseball. I cheer on all the sports whenever I can. It’s hard being a student athlete and they deserve our support because those students represent us all.

Advice to Students

Keep your class schedule balanced. Michigan can be tough sometimes and you need to balance those tough classes you must take with classes that you take just because they interest you and are fun. When I was at Michigan I took classes like Greek Myths and Mythology, Greek Spells and Potions, Advanced Gym, etc because I knew that my core engineering classes would be tough and sometimes you just need a break… and you want to get credit for it too!

Katie Tamarelli headshot

Katie Tamarelli

  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Principal- Corporate Strategy, Vice President

University of Michigan, BSE Computer Engineering, 2003
University of Michigan, MBA Finance/Strategy, 2012
Career Summary

Goldman Sachs Technology –> Amazon.com summer internship –> Boston Consulting Group as a generalist consultant eventually focusing on financial institutions, insurance and IT strategy. I took a role at Fifth Third Bank in corporate strategy. I have taken roles that have pushed me to communicate increasingly complex and analytical problems. I am working with the senior leadership to make decisions that change the direction of our organization.

Favorite Student Orgs

I was in the society of women engineers (SWE) and I really enjoyed making forward progress on women’s inclusion in engineering. From that, I learned the value of preparing for a career and I have SWE to thank for that. I have continued to volunteer with organizations that review resumes, update LinkedIn profiles, provide career advice. I think it is really important for students to think about it early in college — it will make it so much easier. It allows time to make choices and see what students really like and want to be.

Ronald G. Dreslinski headshot

Ronald Dreslinski Jr.

  • University of Michigan
  • Assistant Professor

University of Michigan, BSE Electrical Engineering and BSE Computer Engineering, 2002 University of Michigan, MSE Computer Science and Engineering, 2004
University of Michigan, PhD Computer Science and Engineering, 2011
Career Summary

After I finished my PhD, I worked as a Post Doctoral Student and Research Scientist at the University of Michigan. In this role I gained experience in preparing and overseeing research proposals and projects. This gave me a great understanding of the process of converting research into fundable projects, ultimately generating interest from industry and government funders. This work has been invaluable to me as a Professor, as I was quickly able to create 5 research projects and staff up a group of greater than 15 graduate students in a short period of time. The basis for this research was fostered in the courses I took at the University of Michigan. It inspired a curiosity in me to develop world class low-power solutions for computer systems. Ultimately I am excited about the research I am doing that will eventually end up in space exploration vehicles, helping them remain tolerant to radiation, but also survive on limited energy. In addition to these experiences, my involvement in student organizations helped me network with older students to help target my classes to my interests, and then develop my leadership skills.

Favorite Student Orgs

I was heavily involved in student organizations. I started in IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and then expanded to HKN (Eta Kappa Nu, EECS Honors Society), TBP (Tau Beta Pi, Honors Society), and SWE (Society of Women Engineers). I would encourage students to get involved in student societies to expand their base of connections to senior students who can help steer them to the correct courses. In general, make the most of the diversity of the college to learn about other cultures and backgrounds.

William Joy headshot

William Joy

  • Water Street Capital
  • Principal and Chief Scientist

University of Michigan, BS Electrical Engineering, 1975
University of California, Berkeley, MS Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 1982
University of Michigan, Ph.D. Engineering, Honoris Causa, 2004
Career Summary

After graduate school at UC Berkeley, I co-founded Sun Microsystems. While at Sun, I designed the Network File System for sharing files between computers over Ethernet, did a number of RISC-architecture microarchitecture designs for the SPARC family of microprocessors and was co-author of the Java Language Specification with James Gosling and Guy Steele. In 2000, I wrote a cover story for Wired magazine entitled “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us” which described why emerging new powerful information technologies pose a “weapons of mass destruction” threat and that we need to find ways to regulate most of them and even renounce some of them.

From then, I worked in the green tech practice of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, where we invested in early stage ventures with scientific and technical breakthroughs to accelerate the transition to sustainability which lies so necessarily near ahead. Notable companies include Ionic Materials, which will enable the first large family of solid-state batteries which are safe, nontoxic, high capacity and operate at room temperature, Solidia Technologies, which has a very low CO2 replacement for Portland cement, and Beyond Meat, which uses technology from the ceramics and plastics industry (extrusion) and other techniques to create food that tastes like meat from plant food sources. These three innovations collectively address electrification of transportation and the grid, decarbonization of cement, and the transition away from livestock to non-animal food sources, which activities emissions currently represent approximately 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions. After KPCB I joined Water Street Capital and am working to help position the firm to participate in the transformative technological advances which are forthcoming including Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Virtual Reality, Sustainability, Genetic Medicine, and others.

Career Timeline
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers
  • Water Street Capital
Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

I had a great time at Michigan as an undergraduate. I worked for Prof. Don Calahan and we wrote software for sparse matrix calculations on early supercomputers such as the early Crays. This exposure to trying to solve really hard problem led to my extensive work while at UC Berkeley creating the Berkeley version of UNIX (BSD or “Bill’s Software Distribution” :-). These projects were intensive, but they didn’t last forever.

Advice to Students

My biggest advice is when an opportunity to do something important comes along choose that. If you get fame or money or power from it, that’s OK I suppose, but these ambitious things often fail, and if you do things which others are doing and will happen anyways then when they fail you don’t have much. If trying to do something really hard fails, maybe no one else will even have tried. There’s honor in that, and glory and important contribution if such things success. I suggest studying systems which can be simulated and learning broadly in the physical as well as computational science! Carpe diem!

K Cyrus Hadavi headshot

K. Cyrus Hadavi

  • Adexa
  • CEO

University of Birmingham, BSc Electronics and Electrical Engineering, 1975,
University of Southampton, MSc Electronics Engineering, 1976
University of Birmingham, MS Management, 1976,
University of Michigan, PhD Electrical Engineering, 1983
Career Summary

After grad school, I started working at Siemens R&D Labs for 8 years, where I combined Artificial Intelligence with the Operating Room to develop new methods of production planning and scheduling. I left to work at a startup as employee #12 and helped in every aspect: sales, consulting, marketing etc. Left after 2 years to startup Adexa 25 years ago. we have offices in 5 continents and Fortune 500 customers for systems that manage their supply chain.

Reflection on Time Spent at U-M

I very much enjoyed performing research, as well as teaching positions at Uof M. I improved my speaking skills and interaction with other students.

Advice to Students

Make sure you have good chemistry with your advisor.