Contemporary electrical engineering is a broad discipline that encompasses a wide range of activities. A common theme is the use of electricity and electromagnetism for the generation, transmission, processing, storage, conversion, and control of information and energy. An equally important aspect is the human interface and the role of individuals as the sources and recipients of information. The rates at which information is transmitted today range from megabits per second to gigabits per second and, in some cases, as high as terabits per second. The range of frequencies over which these processes are studied extends from direct current (i.e., zero frequency), to microwave and optical frequencies.
The need for increasingly faster and more sophisticated methods of handling information poses a major challenge to the electrical engineer. New materials, devices, circuits, systems, and networks are needed to build the advanced communications and information-handling systems of the future. Previous innovations in electrical engineering have had a dramatic impact on the way in which we work and live: the transistor, integrated circuits, computers, radio and television, satellite transmission systems, lasers, fiber optic transmission systems, and medical electronics.