University of Colorado at Boulder
University of Colorado at Boulder Search A to Z Campus Map CU Search Links
Course List
Contact Us

Communications and Signal Processing


Communication engineering and information theory are concerned with the efficient representation and reliable transmission and/or storage of information. Current research focuses on single and multiuser information and communication theory, error-control coding, information storage systems, cryptography, source coding, and resource allocation in communication networks. Both theoretical and practical questions are investigated. The theoretical area is concerned with the ultimate bounds on what can be achieved with a communication system under given constraints. Our practical interest is the question of how closely the theorectical bounds can be approached with modern circuit design and implementation methods and protocols. Communication engineering and information theory are also closely related to digital signal processing and systems theory.

Research in signal processing and systems theory is concerned with theoretical developments that improve our understanding of communication, control, and information processing. These developments are applied to data communication, digital audio, pattern recognition, speech processing and recognition, audio and image compression, medical imaging, digital filtering, detection and estimation, and spectrum analysis. Signal processing and systems theory are closely allied with numerical linear algebra, applied probability, and computer architecture.

Graduate Courses

ECEN 5612, Noise and Random Processes
ECEN 5622, Information Theory and Coding
ECEN 5632, Theory and Application of Digital Filtering
ECEN 5642, Modern Methods of Spectral Estimation
ECEN 5652, Detection and Extraction of Signals from Noise
ECEN 5662, Optimal Signal Processing and Stochastic Systems
ECEN 5672, Digital Image Processing
ECEN 5682, Theory and Practice of Error Control Codes
ECEN 5692, Principles of Digital Communication
ECEN 5696, Fourier Optics
ECEN 7632, Advanced Digital Signal Processing Methods.

Research Topics

Current research topics in communication engineering include multiuser detection, signal design and multiple access, adaptive receivers, stochastic algorithms for power control, and modulation/detection methods for wireless communications and their performance analysis, coding for multiple antenna systems, and joint resource allocation, coding schemes for high-density two-dimensional optical and magnetic recording devices, source coding including audio and image compression, cryptography, which deals with the issues of secrecy and security in communication, communication energy and quality of service constrained wireless network routing, energy aware ad hoc network systems and wireless cellular system design.

Current research topics in signal processing include the design of multisensor arrays that incorpoprate steering and adaptive filtering in their internal structure; quadratic and parametric spectrum analysis; modal analysis; wavelets and orthogonal filters; the design and analysis of new adaptive structures and algorithms; the development of fast algorithms; the design of digital controllers which minimize finite register effects; multiscale and time frequency representations of images and multi-dimensional signals which involves the development of new mathematical and computational algorithms in the area of applied harmonic analysis. Applications are in biomedical signal and image analysis, and audio and image compression. Research in speech signal processing includes analysis and modeling of speech and speaker traits, speech pathology and voice assessment, speech enhancement and feature estimation in noise, robust speech recognition, and speech feature enhancement in hands-free environments for human-computer interaction.


T.X. Brown (Ph.D., California Institute of Technology), adaptive and massively parallel computational approaches in communication systems.

Y. Liu (Ph.D., Ohio State), wireless communications and coding.

P. Mathys (Ph.D., Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), information theory and coding, multiuser information and communication theory, communication network architectures.

Emeritus Faculty

C.T. Mullis (Ph.D., Colorado), signal processing and algorithms.


The research group in communication engineering and signal processing has a 1300 square foot graduate student Comm-DSP laboratory. Students have access to state-of-the-art dual processor workstations, running Debian GNU/Linux as operating system and Matlab as the main application for reserach. It also has a 400 sq. ft. Pervasive Communication Lab with RF test equipment such as spectrum analyzers, signal generators, and cellular drive-test tools, wireless system design software (Planet), table top ad hoc wireless test bed, with 9 laptop nodes and 8 Sun workstations.

Current Research Support

Research support is provided by the US Airforce Rome Lab, US Army Research Office, the National Science Foundation, US Office of Naval Research, and the Whitaker Foundation. Scholarships, fellowships, and research assistantships funded by these agencies are available to qualified students.