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Computer Engineering Qualifying Exam Information

Exam Dates: January 2013 and August 2013


FAQ for Computer Engineering Qualifying Exam

How to Read a Paper

How to Write a Scientific Paper

Tentative Dates for August Qualifying Exam

July 15, 2013 -- Declare intent to take the Qualifying Exam and state your selections of primary and secondary areas. (Please submit by email to Natalie Edwards.)

August 5, 2013 -- Student will submit a 3-page written report on the Type-1 paper to Prof. Dugan by email.

Day of the Exam -- Provide the Director of CpE with a partially complete PhD Examination Report and Program Specific Qualifying Exam Report form at the time of the exam. These forms will be completed by the committee and submitted to the CpE office after the exam.

The areas identified in Computer Engineering Graduate Handbook for the qualifiers are as follows:

  1. Computer Architecture
  2. VLSI, Switching Theory
  3. Operating Systems, Real-Time and Embedded Systems
  4. Compilers, Software Systems and Software Engineering
  5. Fault-tolerant Computing and REliability Engineering
  6. Networks, Distributed Systems and Security

NOTE: Please read the handbook carefully and note the committee’s expectations. The committee will both “assess the student’s potential to begin doctoral-level research,” as well as examine fundamental understanding by asking questions on “related topics.” Therefore, students should not only understand the problem and solution presented in the paper (and demonstrate the “abilities” listed in the handbook), but also, be responsible for background material (which is *not* limited to references in the paper) for the question-answer session.

Official List of papers for the Computer Engineering Qualifiers

Computer Architecture

Hadi Esmaeilzadeh, et. al., "Dark Silicon and the End of Multicore Scaling." ISCA’11, June 4–8, 2011, San Jose, California, USA.

VLSI, Switching Theory

Hiroshi Fuketa, et. al., "Minimizing Energy of Integer Unit by Higher Voltage Flip-Flop." IEEE Transactions on very Large Scale Inegration (VLSI) Systems, Vol. 21, No. 6, June 2013.

Operating Systems, Real-Time and Embedded Systems

Tongping Liu, et. al., "DTHREADS: Efficient and Deterministic Multithreading." Proceedings of the Twenty-Third ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, 2011, SOSP '11, Cascais Portugal.

Compilers, Software Systems and Software Engineering

Vasanth Bala, et. al., "Dynamo: A Transparent Dynamic Optimization System." PLDI 2000, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Fault-tolerant Computing and Reliability Engineering

Pedro Costa, et. al, "On the Performance of Byzantine Fault-Tolerant MapReduce." IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing, 2012.

Networks, Distributed Systems & Security

Ratul Mahajan, et. al., "Understanding BGP Misconfiguration." SIGCOMM'02, August 19-23, 2002, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


The Computer Engineering Committee Members

  • Joanne Bechta Dugan, Chair
  • Jack Davidson
  • Jack Stankovic
  • Malathi Veeraraghavan


Past Qualifying Exams in Computer Engineering

August 2012 and January 2013 Qualifying Exam Information

January 2012 -- Qualifying Exam Information