26h Th, 26h Pr
Number of credits
Language(s) of instruction
Organisation and examination
Teaching in the second semester
Units courses prerequisite and corequisite
Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program
Learning unit contents
The objective of the course is to study the mechanisms of innovation and research in engineering through case studies of major inventions or breakthroughs in the 20th century.
The topic of the course in 2019-2020 will be Neuromorphic engineering.
Neuromorphic engineering is a concept advocated by Carver Mead in the late 1980s as a way to push the boundaries of computing technology.
It is an interdisciplinary subject that takes inspiration from biology, physics, mathematics, computer science, and electronic engineering to design artificial neural systems, such as vision systems, head-eye systems, auditory processors, and autonomous robots, whose physical architecture and design principles are based on those of biological nervous systems.
The concept has remained largely theoretical for two decades but is increasingly impacting all big tech companies.
Learning outcomes of the learning unit
Students will learn how to trace the history and the subsequent impact on innovation of an important scientific paper, as a way to understand the specificity of scientific esearch in engineering.
The outcome of the 2016-2017 edition is available on the following blog .
The outcome of the 2017-2018 edition is available on the following blog .
The outcome of the 2018-2019 edition is available on the following blog .
Prerequisite knowledge and skills
Planned learning activities and teaching methods
The course is divided into four phases.
Phase 1 (week 1-2): Introduction and paper reading. Introduction to the three subthemes and papers by external speakers. Allocation of subthemes to the students.
Phase 2 (week 3-7): Individual research. Each student will choose one of the three papers, and research the history and impact on innovation of that particular paper. An individual written report will be submitted in week 7, supported by two scientific papers, one related to the history, the other one related to the impact, of the selected foundation paper.
Phase 3 (week 8) : all students participate in a week seminar where individual reports are discussed. The objective of the seminar will be to integrate the individual contributions towards the preparation of a collective report.
Phase 4 (week 9-13): students work by groups to organize the seminar material into an integrated blog presentation of the history and impact on innovation of reserach on turbulence.
Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)
Second semester. Only few lectures. Several group meetings and individual or group presentations.
Recommended or required readings
Mead, Carver (1990). "Neuromorphic electronic systems" (PDF). Proceedings of the IEEE. 78 (10): 1629-1636.
The course will explore the history of the concept as well as its impact in recent technology.
Assessment methods and criteria
Each student is evaluated individually on the following criteria:
- Individual research and individual written report.
- Individual contribution on the final blog group report.
- Active participation throughout the different phases of the course.
The course will take the form of a seminar with active participation of the students throughout the semester. There will be only few ex cathedra lectures but students are required to participate in all planned activities as this is part of the evaluation. Week 8 is a particular week as it is hoped that the group can gather for five half-days, to be determined during week 1.