Northeastern University: Engineering for an autonomous and connected world
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Northeastern University: Engineering for an autonomous and connected world

Northeastern University: Engineering for an autonomous and connected world

Technological developments—from smart devices to humanoid robotics—are driving a new era of autonomous and connected devices that have the potential to transform our personal and professional lives in unimaginable ways. Skilled engineers are needed to spur this movement in the age of disruption, and graduates and professionals must enhance their skillsets and knowledge in the field.

In capturing the 21st century zeitgeist, Northeastern University’s College of Engineering—known for multidisciplinary research and education—has become recognized as a global leader in the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as robotics research, and offers a host of academic programs in the field to prepare future generations of engineers for an ever-evolving world.

“Northeastern has leading expertise in every single field related to the IoT,” said the university’s Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Matteo Rinaldi. “There are experts in micromechanical systems, wireless networks, Big Data, imaging, signal processing, and of course, security. This combination of expertise is quite unique, and that creates the critical mass needed to solve complex problems.”

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Student conducts wireless networking research at the Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things lab at Northeastern University.

The College’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering offer MS and PhD programs with flexible electives and several concentrations, as well as a wide range of research opportunities, working alongside accomplished faculty to allow students to focus in the area of most interest to them.

Breaking new ground in robotics

The college has carved itself a reputation in robotics, with a portfolio of high-profile research projects, cutting-edge laboratory facilities and new degree programs that address fast-changing industry and societal challenges.

The university is home to the Institute for Experiential Robotics, led by Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Taskin Padir, and focuses on creating artificial intelligence (AI) that learns from human experiences to build robots that operate seamlessly with people at work and at home. There are a wide range of potential applications for experiential robotics.

For example, Padir is leading a US$2.5 million National Science Foundation grant to develop robots that can transform the US seafood processing industry, while Professor Hanumant Singh, of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, develops autonomous car technology, drones and unmanned vehicles to explore the Arctic to collect and interpret data for a sustainable society.

Northeastern also has a new 12,000 square foot lab at the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex, which is dedicated to robot fabrication, testing and prototyping. It has cutting-edge robot systems, including collaborative manipulator arms, drones, human support robots and field robots.

With its state-of-the-art facilities and research prowess, prospective students keen on pursuing their graduate studies in robotics will find Northeastern’s MS in Robotics program ideal.

“The MS in Robotics is interdisciplinary—it includes mechanical engineering, computer science and electrical engineering,” explained Professor Singh. “Our coursework is geared so that our students have the basic foundational knowledge in each of those three areas. The idea is to expose them to a broad, strong theoretical framework across multiple fields, and let them, if they choose, specialize in a particular area.”

Forward-thinking master programs

Northeastern offers programs in high-growth IoT fields, such as its MS in Cyber-Physical Systems with a concentration in the IoT. This multidisciplinary program is designed to meet the demand for a new kind of specialist, one who can engineer and develop new interactive services; acquire, fuse, and process the data collected from sensors, actuators, controllers, and other devices; and develop architecture to interconnect these elements as part of larger, more diverse systems.

Careers in this rapidly evolving area are expected to encompass various industry sectors ranging from energy to healthcare, transportation to infrastructure, and even manufacturing. Students can pursue the program in Boston as well as at Northeastern’s Silicon Valley campus. Students applying for Spring 2020 admission at the Silicon Valley campus are eligible for a 25 percent tuition scholarship.

Meanwhile, the MS in Information Systems is a flexible program that puts software at the forefront of the engineering paradigm to address the socio-technical needs of contemporary society. Students will be prepared to go beyond simple programming to become a leader in information technology, delivering systems that are safe, secure and help solve the world’s grand challenges. There are also concentrations and electives relevant to smart contracts, intelligent systems, as well as a blockchain specialization. The program is available in Boston, Seattle and Silicon Valley—three of the most innovative hubs in the US.

Those interested in advancing their telecom and networking knowledge, or expanding to business or marketing, may consider the MS in Telecommunication Networks. It takes a multidisciplinary approach, combining engineering, computer science, and business.

Security in the age of the internet is of course important. Northeastern’s PhD in Cybersecurity program combines a strong technical foundation with a security policy and social sciences perspective. It prepares graduates to advance the state-of-the-art security in systems networks and the internet in industry, academia and government.

Unparalleled student environment

Stellar programs aside, Northeastern also offers a stimulating learning environment to complement their academic experience. The Northeastern Robotics Club is award-winning and the college has a new NU IoT Connect student organization, a common platform for all things IoT. The organization regularly conducts workshops, works on real-world projects and organizes meet-ups with IoT-related companies.

Experiential learning is the heart of a Northeastern education. Unique to the university is the opportunity for graduate students to participate in its world-renowned cooperative education program to gain professional experience while employed in their field of interest as part of the academic program. MS in Telecommunications student Nishita Sikka did her co-op at Volvo Group North American headquarters, gaining invaluable experience in automation, web development, and network infrastructure.

If you’re interest is piqued, reap the rewards that only Northeastern can offer by applying to the engineering graduate program today.

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