Atwater Kent Laboratories, 305
John A. McNeill
- Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
- Associate Department Head
My favorite course to teach is ECE3204, Microelectronics II. This course is right on the boundary between analog signals in the physical world and digital processing and storage of information. It's a great course for students who want to know "how things work." I use a digital audio system as the theme for the course, following the audio signal as it travels through the system. We start from an analog source such as a microphone or guitar pickup, through filtering, sampling, and analog-to-digital conversion; then, after storage and processing in the digital domain, conversion back to analog form and power amplification to drive headphones or a speaker.
Before joining WPI, I spent almost 10 years in the electronics industry, so I bring an additional, more applied perspective to my teaching. A student who becomes excited about a "real world" application of a concept and wants to take this energy to the next level might need a better explanation, a new resource, or a different approach. This is when I feel I can really make a difference in the student’s education, when he or she is ready to really take off.
My research and project advising interests are focused on university-industry collaboration through the New England Center for Analog and Mixed Signal Design (NECAMSID) and emphasizes design of cutting-edge mixed (analog + digital) integrated circuits and systems. Both graduate and undergraduate students work in the Center. To me, this is central to WPI's mission of educating excellent engineers who are equipped with the necessary tools to not only do their job on day one, but also advance into leadership and innovation positions in their field.
Finally, when students ask me for advice on what kind of problems to pursue, I advise them to follow what they are passionate about. In my experience, success is a combination of luck, timing, and preparation. You can't do much about the luck, but if you are working in an area that interests you and you're prepared for an opportunity when things break your way, good things happen!
- analog microelectronics
- high-speed imaging and mixed signal circuit characterization
- BA, Dartmouth College, 1983
- MS, University of Rochester, 1991
- PhD, Boston University, 1994
- C. Liu and J. McNeill, "Jitter in Oscillators With 1/f Noise Sources," IEEE 2004 International Symposium on Circuits and Systems (ISCAS2004), Vancouver, Canada, May 2004.
- J. McNeill, "A Model For University-Industry Collaboration: The Center for Analog and Mixed Signal Integrated Circuit Design at WPI," (Invited Paper), 5th European Workshop on Microelectronics Education (EWME2004), Lausanne, Switzerland, April 2004.
- Y. Toh and J. McNeill, "Single-ended to differential converter for multiple-stage single- ended ring oscillators ," IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 141-145, January 2003.
- J. McNeill, "Jitter in ring oscillators," IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, vol. 32, no. 6, pp. 870-879, June 1997.
Labs and Centers
- 1995 Joseph S. Satin Distinguished Fellow in Electrical Engineering.
- 1997 NSF Award for Faculty Early CAREER Development.
- 1998 Eta Kappa Nu Outstanding Electrical Engineering Professor Award.