Teaching Plan and Philosophy


Behrooz Parhami: 2007/06/19  ||  E-mail: parhami@ece.ucsb.edu  ||  Problems: webadmin@ece.ucsb.edu

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On June 19, 2007, Professor Parhami's UCSB ECE website moved to a new location. For an up-to-date version of this page, visit it at the new address: http://www.ece.ucsb.edu/~parhami/teaching_phil.htm

Professor Parhami believes in detailed advance planning for every course that he teaches. A typical course outline that he hands out at the start of an academic term contains lecture schedule (including page numbers in the text or reader), distribution and due dates for all homework assignments, and a full description of course reference material and grading scheme. He also strives for careful preparation before each lecture, providing alternate explanations (e.g., through analogies), emphasizing the big picture, and encouraging discussions/comments in class. Professor Parhami is a demanding, but enthusiastic, teacher who has consistently received high marks from students at all levels. These include graduate and undergraduate students that he normally teaches, as well as a multitude of other learners, from high-school students to professionals in short courses and seminars.

Even though Professor Parhami’s focus in undergraduate teaching has been computer design and architecture, he has also taught courses in computer software, applications, and theory. At the undergraduate level and below, Professor Parhami de-emphasizes pedestrian details (e.g., the instruction set of a given microprocessor or the design details of a particular high-performance computer) in favor of content that will be remembered and will remain useful many years later. To this end, he makes extensive use of analogies, back-of-the-envelope estimation, and class assignments that are both relevant and interesting. He tries to avoid reusing exam or homework problems, not just to make cheating more difficult but because he considers the process of making up interesting problems germane to remaining excited about the topic and in touch with the students.

At the graduate level, Professor Parhami emphasizes unifying concepts and the presentation of a broad and balanced overview of the subject matter. This philosophy is particularly important in the area of parallel processing (ECE 254B, that he teaches regularly) where a multitude of competing architectures must be presented and usefully compared through a fog of misleading or unfair claims by their designers and proponents. He incorporates the latest papers from journals and conference proceedings into the course material. Nothing excites students more than the opportunity to discuss and comment on a paper that was published only a few months ago. He updates the course material (including its reader or text) with every offering. Professor Parhami encourages original thinking to the extent that several term papers written for his graduate courses have been published as journal or conference papers.


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Dr. Behrooz Parhami, Professor

                     Office phone: +1 805 893 3211
E-mail: parhami@ece.ucsb.edu                 Messages: +1 805 893 3716
Dept. Electrical & Computer Eng.                  Dept. fax: +1 805 893 3262
Univ. of California, Santa Barbara                Office: Room 5155 Eng. I
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9560 USA                      Deliveries: Room 4155 Eng. I