The department has an excellent set of facilities for introductory courses, intermediate courses, and student research. The department strives for an environment that fosters a community of students and faculty working together.
The department maintains two high-tech Windows classrooms with computers for each student, and an audio-visual system that allows the instructor to project each student’s display for the entire class. This supports collaborative learning and discussion. One classroom is configured for closed labs where two students work together on a problem set, and the instructor assists with problems. Both classrooms support active learning with the student engaged in doing, not merely listening.
24/7 Computer Labs
First-year students have 24 hour access to the Windows lab described above. Upperclass students have access to that lab and a Linux lab with powerful workstations and dual 24-inch monitors. Both labs have a discussion area with a large wall monitor so students can collaborate on group projects. The labs provide a good social setting for students so they know where to find classmates as they work on class projects.
The upperclass lab is based on Ubuntu Linux because it is a powerful programming development environment, and prepares students for graduate and professional work. The Linux lab is supported by substantial file, web, and compute servers that supply additional resources and power.
- Robotics Lab
The department maintains a Robotic/Computer Engineering hardware lab with specialized equipment for research and courses. It has hosted a Honeypot network of computers built by students, which was designed to look like an easy mark for network hackers and to allow students to trace their attacks. The lab is configured as needed for classes, and available for students doing independent research. The lab facilities are also used for research in collaboration with staff of the Manufacturing Engineering Lab of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Gaithersburg campus. Currently the lab has the following robot hardware:
- Small, professional mobile robots (Pioneer P3-DX, and Videre Erratic) that run on Robot Operating System (ROS).
- A collection of small Scribbler robots used in classes.
- Components for building small robots with Arduino controllers.
- A set of advanced robot sensors, including video cameras and professional range sensors (SICK LMS-200 and 291 laser range scanners, multiple Hokuyo URG-04LX laser range scanners, multiple Kinects and Primesense depth sensors, several Point Grey machine vision cameras, and a Mesa SR3000 LED range sensor).
- Computer engineering facilities with hardware design devices and electronic workbench software, so students can design, build, and test their own circuits and small robots.
Outside of the department the campus has many computer labs available to students, as well as software and WiFi. See Technology Services for a full list of available technology.