Computer Engineering: A Graphical Overview

During my 4A term at the University of Waterloo, a set of events that I don’t fully understand myself resulted in me becoming the yearbook editor for the Computer Engineering 2009 (8-stream) class. When I was putting together our pages, I stumbled across Wordle – a web application for generating word clouds – and thought that I could use it to sum up Computer Engineering at UW graphically.

For data, I used the ECE course descriptions from the UW undergraduate calendar, filtered down to only include courses taken by computer engineering students, and with the addition of the course descriptions for core non-ECE courses (e.g. those offered through math or science). The result was a word cloud consisting of the top 50 words used to describe computer engineering courses at the University of Waterloo, sized by the number of occurrences in course descriptions.

For those of you with the 2009 yearbook, I encourage you to check out the result on page 169; for everyone else, a PDF link is below. Besides the words computer, engineering, and ECE, which were artistically weighted to dominate the cloud, it turns out that the terms design, systems, analysis, and control all play a big part of a computer engineer’s academic life. Who’d have guessed?

Computer Engineering: A Graphical Overview [pdf]