Professors bring a lifetime of experience and fresh approach to new textbook
Two ECE professors have used their vast knowledge and long-time experience to provide a unique approach to an introductory course textbook on signal processing.
Associate Professor Emeritus Sharad Laxpati and Lecturer Vladimir “Wally” Goncharoff recently released “Practical Signal Processing and Its Applications,” which is volume 17 in the Advanced Series in Electrical and Computer Engineering book series.
“The target audience for our textbook are university students who are taking their first course on signal processing,” said Goncharoff. “Because many useful tables, examples of practical applications and computer code are included, this textbook is also useful as a reference book for engineering students in other departments and for practicing engineers.”
The purpose of the series is to publish work of high quality by authors who are experts in their respective areas of electrical and computer engineering. Each volume contains the state-of-the-art coverage of a particular area, with emphasis throughout on practical applications. Sufficient introductory materials will ensure that a graduate and a professional engineer with some basic knowledge can benefit from it.
Long-time faculty members Laxpati and Goncharoff join a long list of ECE professors who have written books, and, much like other authors, the pair know how to best present the material. Apart from their knowledge, Goncharoff is a highly awarded faculty member. He was the first recipient of the UIC COE Harold Simon Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1985, and was awarded the UIC Silver Circle Award for Excellence in Teaching five times. The award is especially meaningful as its selection committee is made up of the graduating seniors.
The authors met when Laxpati taught Goncharoff in an electromagnetics course when he was a student working on his bachelor’s degree in ECE at UIC. The pair became colleagues when Goncharoff was hired as assistant professor in the same department in 1983.
The pair became friends and often discussed how to best teach an introductory signal processing course, which they taught over the years. In 2013, when both were already retired but were still teaching part-time at UIC, Professor Laxpati approached Goncharoff with the idea to write and publish a textbook together on the topic of signal processing.
“Working with Wally as a coauthor was a delight and rewarding,” said Laxpati. “His skills as a Silver Circle Award winning teacher were of utmost importance in rewriting/editing our drafts. Without his hard work and dedication, this project would not have come to a fruitful conclusion. I am very grateful to him for that.”
“I was honored to be asked to be co-author, and agreed to the task with the assumption that the writing project would take one year to complete,” said Goncharoff. “We finished writing the first half of the textbook and self-published later that year. Writing the second half took another year. The self-published versions were well-received by students, so we decided to submit our work to major publishers for world-wide marketing and distribution.”
While there are many exceptional books on the topic, they decided to present analog and digital signal processing concepts in parallel to make the difficult material easier for students to understand and to make it possible to cover all the required material.
“This book is based on class notes that we prepared for the students where the discrete and continuous topics in signal processing appeared in parallel and on opposite pages, which was well received by the students,” said Laxpati. “Although in this textbook the opposite page parallelism could not be incorporated, we have the discrete and continuous topics covered in alternate chapters retaining the section by section parallel coverage. There are two other features in this book that do not appear in other textbook on this topics: we have a large number of solved homework problems in an appendix; there are numerous Matlab codes throughout the book that allow student/readers to implement and experiment. Another aspect of this text book that should be highlighted is that we start from very basic material and lead the reader through some very advanced topics. In addition, we discuss some relationships of transform techniques in signal processing that lead to better understanding of material in ancillary areas.”
World Scientific Publishing Co. published their book. However, it took an additional two years of work to rewrite the chapters to the publisher’s specifications, and the final product was released in January 2018.
“What I thought would be a one-year effort took us four years, which included full-time work during the summers and part-time work while teaching courses – both as retired, part-time instructors – in ECE at UIC,” said Goncharoff. “The WSP version is much improved not only in formatting and appearance, but also in content as we decided to add new material to make the textbook more useful for students.”
Each author has published various journal and conference papers, laboratory manuals, compilations of course notes, and handbooks during their long teaching careers.