Electrical Engineering at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

Viterbi signElectrical Engineering at the Technion is consistently ranked among the world’s top 10 electrical and computer engineering departments. It is also the largest engineering department in Israel. It has been recognized by national and international review committees as “an invaluable national resource and the main dynamo of the Israeli high-tech and electronics defense industries.”

The Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering enjoys a worldwide reputation of leadership in key areas of communications, electronics, and computer engineering. Award- winning faculty members conduct advanced research in computer networks, signal processing and imaging, VLSI, microelectronics, nanoelectronics, computer vision and graphics, big data, cyber security and electro-optics. The faculty is also recognized for its seminal contributions to such theoretical fields as information theory, stochastic processes, distributed systems, machine learning, electromagnetism, and algorithms.

Electrical Engineering at the Technion constitutes an essential component of the technological and scientific infrastructure of the State of Israel. More than 1,600 companies were founded or managed by Technion alumni during the last 20 years; of these, some 35 percent are graduates of Electrical Engineering at the Technion. The department has extensive, multi-faceted relations with the high-tech industry, and its liaison program includes over 30 member companies, from multi-nationals to start-ups.

Electrical Engineering studies commenced at Technion approximately a decade before the establishment of the State of Israel. To date, more than 16,000 students graduated this discipline. At present, there are more than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students in the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Technion. The current dean of the Faculty is Prof. Ariel Orda.

In the early 1970s, Technion’s Electrical Engineering faculty and engineers launched the research infrastructure and educational training ground for Israel’s microelectronics industry – crucial for Israel’s security and economic growth in the tech sector. It has also paved the way for Israel’s prowess in systems and control theory, computer engineering, communications and information theory, optoelectronics, nanotechnology, and quantum engineering.

Electrical Engineering at the Technion has long been a trailblazer in computer engineering. It identified at an early stage the increasing role of computer engineering in EE, attracting faculty in areas including computer architecture, networks, distributed systems, computer vision, graphics, and big data. This crucial development was facilitated by the Andrew and Erna Finci Viterbi Center for Advanced Studies in Computer Technology (Computech), which serves as the focal point for computer engineering research.

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Technion is highly multidisciplinary. Together with the Computer Science department, it has established the Technion Computer Engineering Center (TCE), which offers a platform for industry-Technion collaboration by permitting industry personnel to spend time at the Technion on joint research.

Technion Electrical Engineering has a long history of innovation. One salient example is the Lempel-Ziv algorithm, developed by Distinguished Prof. Jacob Ziv, a faculty member of Electrical Engineering, along with Prof. Abraham Lempel. This universal lossless data compression algorithm forms the basis of the compression algorithms in standard GIF and ZIP files.

The successful hiring process of Technion Electrical Engineering is further manifested by the fact that 15 of the faculty members (about 30 percent) are recipients of the Allon Fellowship, awarded annually by the Israel Council for Higher Education to the 10 most outstanding young candidates for faculty positions in any Israeli university or discipline. This seems to be the largest number of recipients of the Allon Fellowship awarded to faculty of any department in any discipline in Israeli universities. Another sign of excellence and success in the hiring process is that most of the full professors have received distinguished international awards and achieved ranks of distinction at international scientific societies.

A 2009 Evaluation Report by an International Review Committee – chaired by the current President of MIT – stated that: “The faculty, the technical staff, and the undergraduate and graduate students are among the best that can be found in a top ranked institution anywhere in the world… It is also well known that the graduates of this Department, whether with a BSc, MSc, or PhD, are as well prepared (if not better prepared) as EE graduates of any top ranked institution anywhere in the world.”