Conference brings Qualcomm, Google

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A student participates in one of ECE Pulse conference’s student design competitions on Saturday.

Now in its fourth year, the annual student-run conference ECE Pulse, the “Seven Wonders of ECE,” a week-long conference running until Feb. 21., kicked off on Saturday.

This is the first year the conference will be held over a week-long period, rather than a weekend, and guest speakers will make presentations on a variety of topics related to engineering.

“The main goal of Pulse is basically a celebration of ECE as a major or a field of study,” said Aswin Sivaraman, executive director of Pulse and senior in Engineering. “We’re basically trying to show students what the industry is doing with an ECE major.”

Attendees are discouraged from bringing resumes, as Sivaraman said the purpose of the conference is to focus on the technical aspects of engineering. Although the event is called ECE Pulse, Sivaraman said it is open to all majors.

Speakers will cover an array of topics, from using an engineering degree to revolutionize medicine and health care to processing data in today’s fast-paced, digital world. Google, Yahoo, Texas Instruments and Qualcomm are among the companies represented at Pulse.

Sivaraman said his team targeted companies that are well-known leaders in innovation, but also wanted to bring in a wider range of companies to highlight how electrical and computer engineering knowledge is being applied in different industries.

“We tried to really reach into the different research fields that an ECE major could get into,” Sivaraman said.

In addition to hosting guest speakers, ECE Pulse also gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge outside of the classroom and participate in student design competitions.

Teams of up to three members could participate in 12-hour competitions, held on Saturday. The teams were given the opportunity to register one of four competitions: Freshman Embedded, Freshman TTL, Software and Signal Processing. A fifth competition, Digital Design, was rescheduled for Feb. 21.

Sivarama said the prompts employed students’ knowledge from the electrical and computer engineering curriculum and potential real-world problems.

Participants of the Signal Processing competition were challenged to create something that would help a person lose weight to find a date for Valentine’s Day.

“All of the other challenges, and in years past, they’ve all been challenges,” said Dario Aranguiz, senior in Engineering. “This was the first time where they’ve said, ‘Here’s a thing; make something cool.’?”

Aranguiz, Brady Salz and Ahmed Suhyl, all seniors in electrical engineering, created Reps 480085, a machine that uses a rep tracker when lifting weights. An image on the screen is initially blurry, but gets clearer with each rep the person performs.

“This one was a lot more open-ended because they gave you tools and said here, ‘make something cool with it,’?” Salz said.

Because the competition allowed for more creativity this year, Aranguiz said it is harder to gauge where his team stands. The winners of each competition will be announced Thursday.

Angelica can be reached at [email protected]