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Computer and Engineering Science

Jagan Agrawal

Jagan Agrawal, Reza Khosravani

Associated Faculty
Jagan Agrawal, Reza Khosravani

Adjunct Faculty
Giovonnae Anderson, Jim Brede, Jefferson Coelho, Atul Garg, Tim Griesser, Mark Johnson, Ali Kujoory, Said Mansour, Mario Righi, John Serceki, David Smith, Giampaolo Tardioli Course Plan / Individual Course Descriptions

Programs offered
Master of Science in Computer and Engineering Science with specialization in:
Communications and Photonics, or
Computer Hardware and Software Systems

Started in Fall 2001, the Master of Science degree in Computer and Engineering Science (MS-CES) at Sonoma State University is a multidisciplinary degree built on a strong foundation of Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science and/or Electrical Sciences. Specifically, this program emphasizes the application of these fields to the design, analysis and synthesis of engineering problem solutions.

The MS-CES curriculum is designed to further the working skills and practical knowledge of engineers, computer scientists and similar professionals. The firm base in mathematics, computer science and physics is augmented with a selection of engineering course options, which prepares the students for tackling real-world problems. These options include such areas as advanced analog and digital electronics, embedded systems, communications, networking and photonics.

The MS-CES faculty is composed of professors from Sonoma State University, whose interests traverse the fields of science and engineering, as well as professionals from the local community who have cutting-edge expertise in the various engineering disciplines of interest and are qualified to be adjunct faculty in SSU.

A linkage with local industry in the form of an Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) is an integral part of the program. Such an advisory board is critical to ensure the Program meets local community needs. The IAB provides the Program with valuable input regarding the new scientific and technological developments and educational needs of the industry. It also facilitates internship opportunities for students, joint student research/project development and supervision, faculty-scientists/engineers joint project opportunities, equipment and financial support from the industries. Through this linkage of academic learning and practical application, students obtain a solid education indispensable for working in a professional environment. The MS-CES is a self-supported program which is underwritten by local industry as well as student tuition revenue. Therefore, as of this writing, tuition fee for this Program is $500 per unit for all students, resident and non-resident. The MS-CES is 30-unit program, not including any prerequisite work.

Admission to the Program

For admission, the applicant must have:
  1. a baccalaureate degree in a scientific or technical discipline from an U.S. institution accredited by a regional accrediting association, or an equivalent baccalaureate degree from a foreign institution of high reputation.
  2. attained grade point average of at least 3.0 (A=4.00) in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted.
  3. earned a minimum score of 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). This requirement applies only to applicants who have not spent at least three years of school at the secondary level (or beyond) where English is the principal language of instruction.
  4. demonstrate competency in writing by one of the WEPT (Written English Proficiency Test) criteria for MS-CES students given below. Generally, this requirement must be met before entering the Program. One of the criteria is demonstrating competency in writing through an essay. Therefore, if this requirement is to be met by writing an essay, it should be submitted with the application for admission.
  5. completed the following SSU courses or equivalent at the undergraduate level with a GPA of 3.0 or higher:

In addition, it is highly desirable, though not required, that students have knowledge of Operating Systems (CS 450).

Note: When possible, the Program offers a highly intense and compressed 4-unit course as CES 490 which covers the major concepts of data structures, assembly language programming and computer design and architecture. Students can take this course, when offered, to satisfy the prerequisite requirements of CS 315, 250, 251 and 351. Please contact MS-CES office about this offering.

Conditional Admission

The applicants whose GPA is less than 3.0 but greater than 2.5, or who lack not more than 18 units of prerequisite work (generally, 6 courses), may be accepted conditionally and must complete a program of study specified by the graduate coordinator at the time of admission before being given full admission.

Written English Proficiency Test (WEPT) Requirement

All students are required to demonstrate competency in written English known as WEPT requirement. A student can satisfy WEPT requirement by meeting any one of the following five criteria:
  1. A student who has obtained his/her bachelor's degree from a CSU institution will be deemed to have satisfied WEPT requirement.
  2. A student who has obtained a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from an accredited institution(s) with English as the medium of instruction for both the degree programs will be deemed to have satisfied WEPT requirement.
  3. A student who scores at least 3.5 in the analytical writing portion of the GRE test will be deemed to have satisfied the WEPT requirement.
  4. A student can take and pass the campus WEPT test
  5. A student may write and submit an article of at least 500 words in length to demonstrate his/her writing proficiency in English. It will be evaluated by the MS-CES curriculum committee for (i)competent analysis of complex ideas, (ii)development and support of main points with relevant reasons and/or examples, (iii)organization of ideas, (iv)ease in conveying meaning with reasonable clarity, and, (v)demonstration of satisfactory control of sentence structure and language (including spelling, punctuation and proper use of grammar). If accepted by the curriculum committee, the student will be deemed to have satisfied the WEPT requirement.

Internship Opportunities and Financial Aid

The industries sponsoring the Program, as well as other industries in the region provide opportunities to the students to work as interns at their site and enrich their academic experience at SSU with valuable on-hand practical experience. The students are also eligible to apply for financial aid in the form of low interest loan through the SSU Financial Aid Office and for part time employment on campus as student assistants.

Program of Study

The Program offers two tracks or areas of specialization:

A student chooses one of the two tracks at the time of admission but can change it in the midstream. However, that may mean taking additional courses to meet the requirements of the new track. A students program of study consists of the following four components: common core, track core, culminating experience and technical electives. Details of these components are as follows:

Common Core

All students in the program must take three core courses (9 units). These courses are designed to give students the fundamentals necessary to master advanced level academic work. These core courses are: If any of the above 400-level core course was part of a student's undergraduate program, the student must take a 500-level course in its place approved by the student's faculty advisor.

Track Core

A student must take 12 units of courses from the list of courses for the chosen track. The lists of courses for each track, which will be revised periodically, are given below.

Communications and Photonics Track Courses:>

Computer Hardware & Software Systems

The courses are selected with the approval of the student's faculty advisor to ensure they form a cohesive plan of study in the desired subject area.

Culminating experience through Thesis/Design Project/ Lab and Technical Report Experience All students are required to complete a culminating experience which may take one of the following three forms:

A supervisory committee is appointed for the students choosing Plan A or Plan B. A supervisory committee consists of three faculty members. One of the three members could be an adjunct faculty. A student interested in choosing Plan A or Plan B chooses a faculty member to be his/her thesis/project supervisor who becomes chairman of his/her supervisory committee. In consultation with the faculty supervisor, then, two other members of the committee are selected. The committee must be approved by the director of the program. As a faculty member, director of the program may also serve on a student's supervisory committee as the chair or a member. For a student choosing Plan C, an advisor is appointed by the Program director to guide the student through this plan.

Under Plan A, a student may choose to research and write a 6 unit thesis which is mentored by the student's faculty supervisor and supervised by his/her supervisory committee.

Under Plan B, a student may decide to prepare a design project for 3 units. Projects should focus on the design of devices, instruments or systems. As in the case of Plan A, project is mentored by the student's faculty supervisor and supervised by his/her supervisory committee.

Upon approval by the student's supervisory committee, the thesis research or design project may be carried out at the student's company's site (if the student is working) under the supervision of a senior scientist/engineer. However, a SSU faculty supervisor must oversee the research/project and regularly examine the student's progress. While not a requirement for graduation, it is expected that the results of the research/project will be presented in an appropriate technical conference and/or published in a relevant professional journal.

Plan C, Lab and Technical Report Experience (LTR Experience), provides students with the opportunity for taking more courses to develop a deeper knowledge in their areas of interest instead of carrying out research or design projects, gives extensive exposure of the state-of-the art equipment in various laboratories and develops technical survey and report writing skills.

Technical Electives

A student must take 3 to 9 units of technical electives approved by his/her faculty advisor depending upon the culminating experience plan chosen as given below:
Plan A (Thesis, 30 units)
Common Core 9 units
Track Core 12 units
Electives 3 units
Thesis 6 units
Plan B (Project, 30 units)
Common Core 9 units
Track Core 12 units
Electives 6 units
Design Project 3 units
Plan C (LTR Experience, 33 units)
Common Core 9 units
Track Core 12 units
Electives 9 units
CES 593 3 units
The purpose of technical elective courses is to provide a student with greater depth and/or breadth in his/her area(s) of interest. A technical elective course can be from any of the two lists of the track courses and must be at 500-level.

Learning Objectives

The curriculum of MS-CES Program has been designed to meet the following learning objectives:
  1. Developing knowledge in multiple interrelated disciplines
  2. Learning mathematical tools to model and analyze scientific and engineering problems
  3. Learning theory of high performance computing, communications and/or networking
  4. Developing critical thinking ability and learning analytical and simulation tools to do system performance evaluation
  5. Developing ability to apply theory to design and implement efficient computing and/or communications systems
  6. Developing ability to integrate knowledge from multiple interrelated disciplines to formulate, design and/or implement interdisciplinary projects
  7. Ability to investigate and formulate research problems and/or design projects
  8. Ability to learn and research independently
  9. Developing written and oral communication skills.

A student's plan of study is designed such that all the nine learning objectives are covered by the courses selected. This is ensured by the student's faculty advisor.


The Program has the following eight state-of-the art laboratories in various areas of interest located in the Cerent Engineering Sciences Complex in Salazar Hall.

These labs provide excellent facilities to our students and faculty for hands-on experience, research, project development, implementation and testing. Many of these labs are sponsored by the high tech industries in the North Bay region of the San Francisco area.

Computer and Engineering Science Courses (CES)

400: Linear Systems Theory (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Analysis of linear time-invariant systems, correlation, convolution, impulse response, complex variables, Fourier series and transform, sampling, filtering, modulation, stability and causality, feedback and control systems, Laplace and Z-transform, fast Fourier transforms. Prerequisites: Math 241 or consent of instructor.

430: Photonics (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Lasers, diode lasers and LED's, fiber optics, optical radiation detectors. Prerequisites: A course in modern Physics (such as PHYS 314) and electromagnetism (such as PHYS 430).

432: Physics of Semiconductor Devices (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Semiconductor materials, crystal structure and growth; energy bands and charge carriers, conductivity and mobility; metal-semiconductor and p-n junctions; p-n junction diodes, bipolar junction transistors, field-effect transistors, CCD's, photonic devices and integrated circuits. Projects in photolithography; conductivity and contact resistance measurements; I-V and C-V characteristics of diodes; characterization of transistors may be assigned. Prerequisites: PHYS 314 or consent of instructor.

440: Data Communications (3)

Lecture, 2 hrs, Laboratory, 3 hrs. The ISO reference model, theoretical basis for data communications, data transmission theory and practice, telephone systems, protocols, networks, internetworks with examples. Prerequisites: CS 215, Math 345 and Phys 214 and 216, or consent of instructor.

490: Selected Topics in CES (1-3)

Special topics to introduce new emerging fields, provide foundation for advanced graduate level courses or augment other courses in computer and engineering science. Prerequisites: consent of Instructor.

494: Directed Readings (1-3)

Independent study under a faculty. The proposal must be approved by the graduate advisor if the course is to apply towards degree requirements. Prerequisites: consent of instructor.

500: Queuing and Transform Theory (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Review of probability theory, fundamentals of transform theory, Fourier and Z-transforms. Markovian and discrete time queuing systems, single and multi server queues, queuing networks and their applications. The course may require significant lab and/or project activity. Prerequisites: Math 345 and 261 or consent of Instructor.

510: Intelligent Systems Design (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Introduction to adaptive systems: neural networks, genetic algorithms (GAs), fuzzy logic, simulated annealing, tabu search, etc. Specific topics include perceptions, backpropagation, Hopfield nets, neural network theory, simple GAs, parallel GAs, cellular GAs, schema theory, mathematical models of simple GAs, and using GAs to evolve neural networks. Prerequisites: CS 315 and CES 400, or consent of instructor.

512: Theory of Software Systems (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Review of data structures and basic algorithms for sorting and string processing. Basics of logic, formal systems, grammars and automata. Applications to some of the following areas: design of language processing tools (editor, translator etc.), software specification, testing and verification, non-numerical problem solving.. The course may require significant lab and/or project activity. Prerequisites: CS 315 or consent of Instructor.

514: Data Mining (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Introduction to data models, data warehousing, association-rule mining, searching the Web, Web Mining: Clustering. AI techniques (neural networks, decision trees), applications and case studies. The course may require significant lab and/or project activity. Prerequisites: CS 315 or consent of Instructor.

516: High-Performance Computing (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Algorithmic tools and techniques for problems hard to solve on a standard uniprocessor model such as problems involving large data sets or real-time constraints; development of computational models to analyze the requirements and solutions and special hardware based solutions; case studies to illustrate the developed models, tools and techniques. The course may require significant lab and/or project activity. Prerequisites: CS315 or consent of Instructor.

520: Embedded Systems (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Three major topics covered in this course are: controlling specialized I/O devices with particular attention to bit patterns and priority interrupts; waveshapes and measurement tools, both hardware and software; and real time operating systems. Prerequisites: Phys 230-231 and CS 351, or consent of instructor.

522: VLSI Design (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. IC technology review; hardware description languages and describing hardware using one of the languages, modern VLSI design flow;circuit partitioning; clustering. Floorplanning; placement; global routing; area efficient design. area-time trade-offs. The course may require significant lab and/or project activity. Prerequisites: CES 530, or consent of Instructor.

524: Advanced Computer Architecture (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Concept of advanced computing architectures, pipelining; multiprocessing and multiprogramming, Single and multi-stage interconnection networks, applications/ algorithms for parallel computers; local and system bus architectures; CPU and computer system performance analysis. The course may require significant lab and/or project activity. Prerequisites: CS 351 and CS 450 or consent of Instructor.

530: Analog and Digital Microelectronics (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Introduction to analog/digital integrated circuits, bipolar and MOS transistor models, analysis and design of monolithic operational amplifiers, frequency response, Non-linear circuits and CMOS and Bipolar Logic Circuits. The course requires lab and/or project activity. Prerequisites: Phys 230-231 and CES 432, or consent of instructor.

532: Advanced Photonics Devices (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Optical resonators, interaction of photons with materials, LEDs, laser diodes, optical amplifiers, optical noise, photoconductors, electrooptic modulators, photonic switches, nonlinear optical materials and devices. The course requires lab and/or project activity. Prerequisites: CES 430 or equivalent.

540: Digital Data Transmission (3)

Characteristics of base-band and bandpass channels, optimum signaling sets, and receivers for digital communications; effect of noise and intersymbol interference on probability of error; channel capacity; introduction to phase-locked loop analysis for timing and carrier synchronization. Prerequisites: CES 400 and 440, or consent of instructor.

542: Digital Signal Processing (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Time/frequency analysis of discrete-time signals and systems. Fast implementations of the DFT and its relatives. IIR and FIR digital filter design, implementation and quantization error analysis. Decimation, interpolation and multirate processing. Prerequisites: CES 400, or consent of instructor.

543:Optical Fiber Communications (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Lightwave fundamentals, optical fiber as transmission media, losses and bandwidth, fiber cables. Optical sources, detectors. Optical components such as switches, access couplers, wavelength multiplexers and demultiplexers. Analog and digital transmission techniques, line coding techniques, optic heterodyne receivers, thermal and shot noise, bit error rates, optical transmission system design. Optical T-carrier systems and SONET, future directions. The course may require significant lab and/or project activity. Prerequisites: Phys 230-231 and CES 440 or consent of Instructor.

544: Wireless Communications (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Introduction to mobile/wireless communication systems, cellular communication, data transmission and signaling, noise and interference, analog and digital techniques, multiple-access architecture. . The course requires lab and/or project activity. Prerequisites: Phys 230-231 and CES 440, or consent of instructor.

546: Data Compression (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Information theory, models, lossless compression (statistical, dictionary, static, dynamic, huffman, arithmetic, context-modelling), lossy compression (scalar quantization, vector quantization, differential encoding, subband, transform, predictive), compression standards (JPEG, MPEG). Prerequisites: Math 345 and CS 315, or consent of instructor.

547: Digital Switching: Techniques and Architectures (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Review of switching techniques, synchronous and asynchronous transfer modes (i.e., STM and ATM). various switch architectures. Multi rate and multipoint-to-multipoint switching, ATM switching, signaling and call set-up, ATM switch-architectures and their performance evaluation, multicasting techniques. VLSI implementation considerations, future directions. The course may require significant lab and/or project activity. Prerequisites: Math 345, Phys 230-231 and CES 440, or consent of Instructor.

550: Integrated Digital Networks (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Information types and signals, definitions of services and integration, narrow band ISDN and frame relay protocols, broadband ISDN concept and protocol. Integrated environment and ATM, principles of SONET and ATM transmission, broadband ATM networking, future trends. The course may require significant lab and/or project activity. Prerequisites: CES 440 or consent of Instructor.

552: Network Architecture and Protocols (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. ISO model, review of the physical and data link layers, network layer and routing including for internet, multicast routing, TCP and UDP protocols and their characteristics, performance and limitations, TCP/IP stack, applications such a FTP, e-mail and DNS, voice over IP. The course may require significant lab and/or project activity. Prerequisites: CES 440 or consent of Instructor.

554: Broadband Access Technology (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Review of ISDN and B-ISDN Protocols, digital subscriber loops, digital modems. The xDSL technology, xDSL family of protocols, ADSL standardization, its architecture, operation, implementation and management, ATM, TCP/IP, Ethernet transmissions using ADSL, optical access. The course may require significant lab and/or project activity. Prerequisites: CES 440 or consent of Instructor.

558: Multicasting on the Internet (3)

Lecture, 3 hrs. Multicasting fundamentals, multicast routing algorithms, IP multicast, architecture and operation of MOSPF, PIM, CBT, OCBT, HDVMRP, HPIM, BGMP, and, Mbone protocols. Real-time Transport protocol and scalable reliable multicast, reliable multicast transport protocols. Multicasting in ATM networks, IP multicast over ATM, future directions. The course may require significant lab and/or project activity. Prerequisites: CES 552 or consent of Instructor.

590: Selected Topics in Communications and Photonics (3)

Special topics to augment regularly scheduled graduate courses in communications and photonics will be presented. Prerequisites depend on subject material.

592: Selected Topics in Hardware and Software Systems (3)

Special topics to augment regularly scheduled graduate courses in hardware and software systems will be presented. Prerequisites depend on subject material.

593: Lab and technical report experience (3)

Lecture, 1 hr., Laboratory, 6 hrs. In this course, students will learn to operate state-of-the art equipment in at least 6 laboratories, perform experiments and write lab reports. In addition, students will write a technical report on a state-of-the art topic within the scope of the master's program of at least 3000 words excluding figures and tables. (The course cannot be taken to meet 30-unit requirement under thesis or project option unless approved by the Program Director) Prerequisite: Permission of student's advisor.

594: Directed Readings (1-3)

Independent study under a faculty. The proposal must be approved by the graduate advisor if it is to apply towards degree requirements. Prerequisites: consent of instructor.

595: Design Project (1-3)

The project plan, timetable, necessary resources and the expected outcome must be approved by a faculty project advisor and the program advisor at least one semester before taking the course. Prerequisites: Admission of candidacy for the Master's degree and approval of the faculty advisor.

596: Project Continuation (1-3)

Designed for students working on their thesis or design Project but who have otherwise completed all graduate coursework toward their degree. This course can not be applied toward the minimum number of units needed for completion of the masters degree. Prerequisites: Consent of faculty thesis/project advisor.

597: Graduate Seminar (1)

Series of lectures presented by experts from academia and industries.

598: Comprehensive Examination (1)

In this four hour examination the students' overall understanding of important concepts of the core courses and the main subjects of each track will be tested. Prerequisites: Advancement to candidacy for the Master's degree and approval of the graduate advisor.

599: Research and Thesis (1-6)

Prerequisites: Admission of candidacy for the Master's degree and approval of the thesis advisor.

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