Bruce Cockburn

Professor, Faculty of Engineering - Electrical & Computer Engineering Dept

Pronouns: "he, him, his"


Professor, Faculty of Engineering - Electrical & Computer Engineering Dept
(780) 492-3827
11-332 Donadeo Innovation Centre For Engineering
9211 116 St
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H5


Area of Study / Keywords

Computer Engineering Communications Engineering Integrated Circuits and Systems Signal and Image Processing


Bruce F. Cockburn completed a BSc degree in Engineering Physics in 1981 at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. In 1985 and 1990 he completed M Math and PhD degrees, respectively, in Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. His doctoral thesis considered the design and analysis of provably optimal test algorithms for classes of faults in semiconductor memories.

Dr. Cockburn is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alberta. From 1981 to 1983 he worked as a test engineer and software designer at Mitel Corporation, Kanata, Ontario, Canada. His research interests include VLSI design and test, parallel signal processing algorithms and architectures, novel applications of field-programmable gate arrays, iterative decoder architectures, MIMO decoder architectures, fading channel simulators, and applications of heterogeneous parallel computer hardware for accelerating communications system verification, data compression & decompression, and DNA sequence alignment.

Dr. Cockburn is a member of the IEEE Computer Society, the IEEE Communications Society, the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society, the IEEE Signal Processing Society, and the Association for Computing Machinery. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the Province of Alberta, Canada.


Research Interests

My research interests lie in a variety of areas in Computer Engineering, Communications, Signal Processing, and Bioinformatics. A general theme is the efficient hardware implementation and/or acceleration of computationally-intensive algorithms using heterogeneous parallel digital hardware. For example, the signal processing that must be performed within a cellular telephone requires computational resources that used to be considered the domain of supercomputers. It is a challenging problem to efficiently exploit modern semiconductor technology to ensure that all of the required computation is completed within strict time constraints. Ensuring the lowest possible energy consumption is also important since many modern communications devices are battery-powered.

Current Research

My research group is currently investigating the efficient hardware acceleration, using multicore CPUs, FPGAs and GPUs, of computationally demanding problems in a variety of application areas including DNA short read alignment (Bioinformatics), data compression and decompression (Computer Communications), and wireless channel modelling for multiple-antenna systems (Wireless Communications). For example, wireless fading is the phenomenon that causes received wireless signals to vary rapidly in strength due to constructive and destructive interference between the many possible propagation paths between the transmitting antenna(s) and the receiving antenna(s). The conventional practice is to use wireless fading channel models implemented as software programs. Implementing those same channel models in hardware allows system simulation times to be reduced by several orders of magnitude. The resulting faster simulation times are permitting my group to more rapidly and effectively investigate new parallel hardware designs for the decoder circuits that are used to accurately decode the radio signals arriving at the receiver antenna(s).

Recruitment from Underrepresented Groups

Dr. Cockburn actively reaches out to students from underrepresented groups to encourage their involvement in summer research and postgraduate studies. He is a frequent participant as both a mentor and activity participant in the SET and CHOICES conferences for girls organized by Women In Scholarship, Engineering, Science, and Technology (WISEST).


Territorial Acknowledgement

The University of Alberta, its buildings, labs, and research stations are primarily located on the traditional territory of Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, and Ojibway/Saulteaux/Anishinaabe nations; lands that are now known as part of Treaties 6, 7, and 8 and homeland of the Métis. The University of Alberta respects the sovereignty, lands, histories, languages, knowledge systems, and cultures of First Nations, Métis and Inuit nations.