University of Hawaii

Department of Electrical Engineering

About EE & CENG

What is Electrical Engineering (EE) and Computer Engineering (CENG)?

Electrical Engineering (EE) is a profession concerned with the design of electrical, electronic, and electro-magnetic systems.  Sub-disciplines within this profession include biomedical engineering. bioengineering, electronic circuits, computers, lasers and optics, networks, signal and image processing, solid-state devices, and telecommunications.  Electrical engineers design and build fiber-optic communication, memory chips, solar cells, compact disk players, television, cell phones, laptop computers, Internet routers, stereo components, robots, radio, modern aircraft control, electrical power plants, flat panel displays, electric and hybrid cars, biomedical equipment, portable media players, and air traffic control radar.  Much of ``high technology'' is designed and built by electrical engineers.

Computer Engineers (CENG) is a profession concerned with the hardware and software of computers and their applications.  Sub-disciplines include computer architecture, computer networks, embedded systems, software engineering, computer aided design, and algorithms.  CENGs design and build computer chips, video game circuits, wireless network routers, graphics processors, software, medical image software, super computers, Internet software, artificial intelligence software, and robots.

Both EEs and CENGs have a solid background in sciences and mathematics.  Today's engineers work in teams, which are often multidisciplinary and stretch to distant parts of the world.  So EEs and CENGs must be team players, have good communication skills and an understanding of other cultures.

What's the Difference Between Computer Engineering and Computer Science?

Both disciplines study the hardware and software of computers.  However, Computer Science has a broader scope including the theory of computation and programming.  Computer Engineering is more engineering oriented in the hardware and software of computers and applying them to solve practical problems.  In addition, Computer Science spends more time on computer software skills while Computer Engineering has more balance between computer hardware and software skills. 

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