Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in Computer Engineering By Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

This report presents curriculum guidelines for undergraduate degree programs in computer engineering. It draws upon the 2004 published curricular report in computer engineering titled, Computer Engineering 2004: Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in Computer Engineering, also known as CE2004. This report also draws upon recent efforts in computing curricula developed by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the IEEE Computer Society, and the Association for Information Systems (AIS). These efforts resulted in published curricula recommendations in computer science [ACM/IEEECS, 2013], information systems [ACM/AIS, 2010], information technology [ACM/IEEECS, 2008], and software engineering [ACM/IEEECS, 2015]. Recommendations for a new information technology recommendation should appear in 2017. Computer engineering as an academic field encompasses the broad areas of electrical or electronics engineering and computer science. We define computer engineering in this report as follows. Computer engineering is a discipline that embodies the science and technology of design, construction, implementation, and maintenance of software and hardware components of modern computing systems and computer-controlled equipment. Therefore, this unique combination prepares students for careers that deal with computer systems from their design through their implementation. Computing systems are components of a wide range of products such as fuel injection systems in vehicles, medical devices such as x-ray machines, communication devices such as smart phones, and household devices such as alarm systems and washing machines. Designing computing systems and computing components for products, developing and testing their prototypes, and implementing them to market are examples of what computer engineers typically do. This report provides some background on the field of computer engineering and it explains how the field evolved. It describes the expectations of graduates of the discipline and shows how those graduates differ from other computing disciplines. It describes the expected background, knowledge, and skills employers expect to see from graduates of computer engineering programs. These include the ability to design computer systems, the realization of the importance of practicing as professionals, and having the breadth and depth of knowledge expected of a practicing engineer. It also discusses ways in which programs in computer engineering may have to stand up to the scrutiny of validation and accreditation by government or private agencies. The foundation for this report is a fundamental body of knowledge from which an institution could develop or modify a curriculum to fit its needs. This body of knowledge, also known as BoK, contains broad knowledge areas that are applicable to all computer engineering programs worldwide. Each knowledge area comprises a thematic scope and a set of knowledge units. A set of learning outcomes complements each knowledge unit. The report identifies some knowledge units “core” that should appear in every implemented curriculum; the remaining knowledge units are supplementary. Core units represent the minimal knowledge or depth a program should cover in each knowledge area. A curriculum in computer engineering that contains only core units would be very incomplete. A computer engineering program should contain sufficient coursework at the introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels based on the aforementioned body of knowledge for computer engineering. Programs should augment this coursework by a judicious selection of elective courses that build upon that foundation. Breadth and depth in science and mathematics are necessary to this discipline. A design component is vital to the program and it typically culminates with a capstone or senior project experience. The curriculum should also emphasize professional practice, legal and ethical issues, and the social context in which graduates implement engineering designs. Problem solving and critical thinking skills, personal (soft) skills, oral and written communication skills, teamwork, and a variety of laboratory experiences are fundamental to the study of computer engineering. copyright and Reprint Permissions: Permission is granted to use these curriculum guidelines for the development of educational materials and programs. Other use requires specific permission. Permission requests should be addressed to: ACM Permissions Dept. at or to the IEEE Copyrights Manager at

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