Sunday, March 18, 2012

Essential websites to learn digital communications: perspective of an engineer

Not too long ago, to do a research or to find what a technical term means a student or an engineer had to go to libraries, mainly university libraries, or to order a book and wait for some time for the book to arrive. But these days things are different. If you want to find what a technical term means the fastest and first thing is to go to Wikipedia and search for it. This is one of my favorite websites and is the first place I visit to get at least some initial information about a topic. If the information in there is not enough, then I do a Google searchAlso there are some good free online places that can be used to learn different topics of Digital Communications. In this post I share some that I have used and found very useful.

As an electrical engineer my favorite place is the website of Stanford Electrical Engineering department. First of all the research and teaching at Stanford is cutting edge, and secondly there are many lectures and course notes available for free. It seems that putting course notes online and making them available to everybody is part of Stanford Electrical Engineering department culture. I have not looked at their other departments maybe it is part of Stanford University culture in general.You can click on any of the following links to go to appropriate website relevant to a communications system engineer:

General links of Stanford Electrical Engineering

- Stanford Electrical Engineering department
- Stanford Electrical Engineering department courses

Here are some of my favorite websites of some of Stanford professors:

- John M. Cioffi’s Group: Professor Cioffi’s expertise is in the general area of digital communications. He is best known as father of DSL. You can download book chapters which are materials that he uses to teach digital communications.Also there are links to four courses that are very useful, and one of the best resources in teaching digital communications I have seen. These are:

- Andrea Goldsmith Group: Professor Goldsmith’s expertise is in the area of Wireless Communications. She also has written a very good book on wireless communications, which I have mentioned in an earlier post. There are lecture notes of a number of Professor Goldsmit's courses:

- Robert M. Gray: his website has a number of free and useful books:

- Stephen P. Boyd: Professor Boyd’s expertise is in the area of linear dynamic systems and convex optimization. Here are links to some of his courses where you can find lecture slides as well as some software:

I am sure there are many other useful resources at Stanford Electrical engineering department, but above are some that I have used and found extremely helpful. 

Here are some other websites that I found extremely relevant and useful:

- David Tse: Professor Tse is an expert in Wireless Communications and teaches at the University of California Berkeley. Professor Tse also has written an excellent book on wireless communications that I mentioned in an earlier post. You can see a list of his courses and some lecture notes in his website.
- Martin Vetterli: Professor Vetterli is an expert in signal processing and teaches in EPFL. You can find useful course material and software in his website.

Finally there are a number of free open courses available on MIT’s website some of them are very useful for Communications System engineer.

This list is not an exhaustive list, but is a good start for those who want to learn using the free stuff available on the web. In past "free" was associated with low quality, but the above resources are all state of the art and produced by leading experts in their fields.

I would like to hear from you and see if you know other excellent free resources for communications system engineers.

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