Andrew Potter
Lives in
A House, North Davis
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Graduate Student

I was a transfer student here in 2007 before getting a BS in Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering. Now I'm in the PhD program in the same department. My studies are mostly in Computer Architecture, but I try to keep strong on my CS fundamentals. I also like to read Science Fiction and Fantasy novels, listen to Vocaloid music, and am generally up for going out to any sort of state historical park. Or any outdoor activity. Or any activity. I need to get out of the house more often!

My Undergrad Program

I double majored in Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering. It seemed like a cool idea at the time. But it was really a pain (the stress was literally physically painful at times); so much so I can't really say its worth it. If you find some random class interesting, it might be a better idea to just audit it if you don't need it.

For aspiring computer engineers, I would suggest cutting back on the DSP and EM classes and instead pick up the advanced device physics and circuits courses, particularly the digital circuits/VLSI stuff. And overall it really sucks to take more than 4 classes a quarter. If you want to overachieve, I would suggest getting involved with research instead; if you have half a clue, any research group can find something for you to do. You just need to speak up!

But here is what I took:

Spring 2009: EEC130B - Electromagetics II. Better than 130A in that there is more new material to learn. Downside: More new material to learn. EEC152 - Digital Signal Processing. The lab is a fucking nightmare—the board never does what it should! EEC171 - Parallel Computer Architecture. I was frightened that this class would be a lot of work, but it is pretty chill. I highly recommend this class — goes into depth on modern architecture design. Best undergrad class in the major! EEC181 - Application Specific Processor. I took this the first time it was offered. Not sure what to say.

Winter 2009: ECS 122A - Algorithms. This class is 95% a repeat of ECS 60. I guess it is important if you didn't get it the first time around, but a snoozefest if you did. EEC130A - Electromagnetism I. Basically a repeat of physics. EEC151 - Instrumentation. This class is good for analog folks I guess. It's basically about LabVIEW and opamps. EEC172 - Microcontrollers - That's what this class is really about: Using a microcontroller to interface with stuff. The prelab quizes are killer. EEC183 - Verification of Digital Systems. What can I say? This is an easy class, but does involve some work at the beginning when you make your CPU. EEC 281 - VLSI for DSP w/ Baas. Awesome class.

Fall Quarter 2008: ECS 150 - Operating Systems. Pretty much what you would expect: screwing around with schedulers and crap. EEC 150B - Signals and Systems II, a first course in DSP. It is more about the math that you will need later for DSP. EEC 170 - Computer Architecture. This is where you learn how you take an ALU and build the stuff around it to make a CPU. EEC 196 - Issues in Engineering Design, snooze. EEC 250 - Linear Systems and Signals. They might as well call this Linear Algebra. POL 114 - Quantitative Analysis of Political Data, or more affectionately, Stats for Polisci, lol.

Spring Quarter 2008: EEC 180B - Digital Systems II. Lectures were about how FPGAs work and.. um.. stuff. If you kick ass at boolean logic, then this class is a snoozer. The class introduces Verilog programming, but IMHO doesn't say enough about best practices. In retrospect, *A LOT* of digital design interview questions come out of this class, so take in as much as you can! EEC 150A - Signals and Systems I. The content is just a recap of differential equations and Laplace transforms, and leads up to the Fourier transform. If you like math you'll like this class. EEC 110A - Electronic Circuits I. Seems easy enough until you have to remember everything for the final. ENG 117A - Shakespeare: Early Works. My professor is great, very interesting lectures. 'twas fun, but I got Bs on my essays. I guess I'm not very insightful. UWP 104A - Reports and Technical Writing with Dr Sententia. Two-thumbs up, take this class; helped me impress my bosses during my summer internship.

Winter Quarter 2008: EEC 100 - Circuits II with Chang. EEC 140A - Device Physics I. EEC 180A - Digital Systems I with al-Asaad. If you know your boolean algebra, you will do very well in this class. EEs who don't know Boolean from Boole have more trouble. ENG 190 - Professional Responsibilities of Engineers. Lots of applicable information, but the 1.5 hour lectures do drag.

Fall Quarter 2007: STA 120 - Probability for Engineers with Jimmy Jiang. Very straightforward course on Probability. Was a little on the easy side—maybe I should have taken 131A? PHY 9D - Modern Physics with Dr. Harris. Excellent professor. Not too overwhelming if you keep up with your homework. ECE 70 - Assembly Language with Chen-Nee Chuah. Covers MIPS architecture. A good chunk of the course is on binary number representations—two's compliment and IEEE floating point. The other focus is stack and frame pointers. In the end we wrote a TAL assembler in TAL. It was fun, but I would have done better if I had spent more time testing my code. ECS 60 - Data Structures and Algorithms with Sean Davis. Good times, look forward to much thinking and programming. The homework sets usually had 1 or 2 nontrivial problems as well, so get started on everything in this class early.

Summer II 2007: Math 22B - Easy if your teacher treats the class like its full of engineers, tough if your teacher treats you like math majors. ENG 6 - Too easy. You just have to learn to use MATLAB. Basic trig is used, that's about it. Oh, do yourself a favor and use MATLAB in all your other engineering classes after this. That way you won't be a graduating senior in EE who only knows how to plot things in Excel.


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2007-07-02 17:44:24   ni hao! and welcome. hope you'll like davis. —JessicaRockwell

2009-11-25 00:53:55   Yup, I was. I swear I'm not one of the crazies asking for UCD to be a sanctuary campus or an official apology for something that hasn't been properly investigated. =) —WilliamLewis

2009-11-25 01:00:31   I used the protest to procrastinate writing a paper. Oops, looks like another all-nighter. =\ —WilliamLewis