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The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at DigiPen Institute of Technology aims to educate the future generation of computer engineers and computer scientists and advance the state of the art needed to solve problems relevant to society. Foundational courses are offered on topics such as electronics and analog and digital circuits. Intermediate courses focus on areas such as embedded systems, operating systems, programmable logic, signal processing, and control systems. Project courses are offered to each cohort allowing students to conceive, design, build, and test software and hardware systems. Faculty bring wide-ranging experience and conduct theoretical and applied research with undergraduate students in embedded systems, programmable logic, robotics, remote sensing, and signal processing.

Faculty Directory

Department Faculty

DigiPen Faculty Lorena Villarreal, Ph.D.

Lorena Villarreal, Ph.D.

Department Chair
Associate Professor

B. Lorena Villarreal graduated with honors from Tecnológico de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering in 2008, and her Ph.D in Robotics and Intelligent Systems in 2014. She also took courses in automotive engineering and design at the Fachhochschule Braunschweig/Wolfenbütel in Wolfsburg, Germany, and courses in Lean Manufacturing endorsed by the Institute of Industrial Engineers. In 2013, she was invited as a visiting researcher to collaborate with the EVOVision Group at the computer department of CICESE in Baja California.

In 2014, Dr. Villarreal earned a nomination on MIT Technology Review’s “Innovators under 35 Mexico” (TR35) list for her work on the development of an artificial olfactory system for odor-source tracking and localization using rescue robots.

In 2015, Dr. Villarreal was awarded through a program between INFOTEC, CONACYT, the Newton Fund, and the Mexican Secretariat of Economy, with the opportunity to participate in a training course on technology commercialization as part of the Leaders in Innovation Fellowship program offered by the Royal Academy of Engineering in collaboration with the University of Oxford and Isis Enterprise.

Previously, Dr. Villarreal was a Research Specialist at the Center of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at Tec de Monterrey, and a Professor and Researcher of robotics and embedded systems at Universidad de Monterrey, where she remains an affiliate fellow. She has authored eight peer-reviewed publications and has taught different courses in advanced robotics, mechatronics, signal analysis, computer environment, embedded systems, electric circuits, and control systems.

Dr. Villarreal’s research interests include both mobile robotics and artificial intelligence systems. Because technology is constantly changing, she always advocates for research in the use of new technologies. She believes that professors should be able to evolve as well, providing students with up-to-date theoretical background, experience, and practical knowledge, all of which will help them to develop an ability to translate that knowledge into analysis, interpretation, and designs of their own. She encourages students to take part in her research into bio-inspired rescue robots during the summer — an opportunity whereby students can learn more about embedded systems and communication protocols, participate in conferences, and publish peer-reviewed papers.

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DigiPen Faculty Jeremy N. Thomas, Ph.D.

Jeremy N. Thomas, Ph.D.

Program Director (BS in Computer Engineering)
Associate Professor

Dr. Jeremy Thomas holds a BA in Physics from Bard College, as well as his MS in Physics and Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of Washington. In addition to serving as the Electrical and Computer Engineering department chair and Computer Engineering Program Director at DigiPen, he is an Affiliate Associate Professor in the Earth & Space Science Department at the University of Washington and a Research Scientist/Engineer at NorthWest Research Associates.

Dr. Thomas believes that curricula should be student-centered and embedded within an engaged, collaborative community that understands and teaches the broader, societal implications of academic work. He aims to achieve this through the design of project-based and experiential curricula, such as through a recent redesign of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) project courses. He serves on several committees, including the steering committee for the Faculty Senate. He also leads ABET accreditation and coordinates assessment for the Computer Engineering program.

Dr. Thomas conducts research in space physics and electrical engineering, including atmospheric electricity, radio wave propagation, signal processing, and embedded systems. He has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications, several with DigiPen students. In 2008, Dr. Thomas and Department of Physics faculty member Natalia Solorzano were recipients of a Science and Math Improvement Grant from the Toshiba America Foundation. In 2017, along with DigiPen BS in Computer Science graduate Connor Bracy, they received the Amazon Catalyst Award of Merit for a data product that visualizes tropical cyclone lightning data in real time ( In the same year, Drs. Thomas and Solorzano were also awarded a National Science Foundation grant for the project “Collaborative Research: Balloon Campaign to Quantify Thunderstorm Effects on the Global Electric Circuit.” Additionally, Dr. Thomas was awarded the 2016 Editors’ Citation for Excellence in Refereeing for the Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics.

Dr. Thomas’ research page:

Dr. Thomas’ Google Scholar Page:

Important Publications in 2016-2017

  • Thomas, J. N., J. Huard, and F. Masci (2017), “A statistical study of global ionospheric map total electron content changes prior to occurrences of M ≥ 6.0 earthquakes during 2000-2014,” J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 122, doi:10.1002/2016JA023652.
  • Solorzano, N. N., Thomas J. N., M. L. Hutchins, and R. H. Holzworth (2016), “WWLLN lightning and satellite microwave radiometrics at 37 to 183 GHz: thunderstorms in the broad tropics,” J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 121, doi:10.1002/2016JD025374.

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DigiPen Faculty Charles Duba, Ph.D.

Charles Duba, Ph.D.

Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Strategic Initiatives

Charles Duba earned a BS in Physics from UC San Diego, and an MS and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Washington at the Center for Experimental Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics. His dissertation project was on electronics for the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, where he helped prove the solution to the long-standing “Solar Neutrino Problem.” (See “Solving the Mystery of the Missing Neutrinos.”) He continues to work on neutrino detection experiments, currently with HALO, a long-term supernova neutrino detector at the SNO lab in Sudbury.

Dr. Duba’s research interests are in weak-interaction physics, physics instrumentation, physics simulation, augmented reality, and hardware design.

Selected Publications

  • Duba, C. A., Duncan F., Farine J., Habig A., Hime A., Robertson R. G. H., Scholberg K., Shantz T., Virtue C. J., Wilkerson J. F., Yen S., “HALO -The Helium and Lead Observatory for Supernova Neutrinos,” Journal of Physics, Conference Series, Volume 136 (2008).
  • Duba, C. A.,”Electronics for the Neutral Current Detection Array at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory,” Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Washington, 277 pp (2006).
  • Duba, C. A., et al, T. D., “Sudbury Neutrino Observatory Neutral Current Detectors Signal Readout System,” IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, v 51, n 5, pp 2227-30 (2004).
  • Duba, C. A., et al, “Direct Evidence for Neutrino Flavor Transformation from Neutral-Current Interactions in the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory,” Physical Review Letters, Volume 89, Issue 1; 746 citations (2002).
  • Duba, C. A., et al, “Measurement of the Rate of ne + d -> p + p + e- Interactions Produced by 8B Solar Neutrinos at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory,” Physical Review Letters, Volume 87, Issue 7; 831 citations (2001).
  • Duba, C. A., et al, “Low Background 3He Proportional Counter for Use in the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory,” IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, Volume 46, Issue 4 (1999).
  • Duba, C., et al, “Solar Fusion Cross Sections,” Reviews of Modern Physics, Volume 70, Issue 4; 437 citations (1998).

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Christopher Theriault


Christopher Theriault graduated at the top of his class in high school, and after attending University of Arizona for a brief time, enlisted in the Army. He was stationed overseas in Germany and deployed to both Bosnia and Saudi Arabia, where he worked in Information Management.

After discharge, Theriault rediscovered his love of game development by creating scenarios for the PC strategy game Age of Empires. This led to a job designing scenarios for Creative Carnage, where he developed levels for an unreleased title. During this time, he earned his Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer certificate and the CompTia A+ certification.

The notoriety he gained via his scenario designs led to a job at Stainless Steel Studios. While there, Theriault was the Lead Single-Player Designer for Empire Earth and Empire: Dawn of the Modern World. In 2003, Theriault decided he wanted to explore game development as a full-time career, enrolling in DigiPen’s BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation program. Shortly after starting, he switched over to the BS in Computer Engineering program and graduated with honors in 2007. His design, organizational, and engineering skills led him to be immediately hired by DigiPen’s Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering, where he currently serves as a lecturer and lab manager. While not teaching any classes directly, Theriault has been instrumental in developing lab work for the RTOS and digital electronics courses. He has also given lectures in the engineering project classes and at the University of Washington’s Tacoma campus.

Theriault’s senior engineering project was to produce an in-house version of the ProjectFUN robotics toolkits that DigiPen had previously bought from an outside vendor. DigiPen has since used Theriault’s toolkit, which he continues to update yearly. On the side, he has also worked as a game designer with a Canadian start-up company, Reverie World Studios.

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