||This book is a reaction to a trauma in our discipline. We have all been aware for some time that "electrical engineering" has lost touch with the "electrical." Electricity provides the impetus, the pressure, the potential, but not the body. How else could microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) become so important in ЕЕ? Is this not a mechanical engineering discipline? Or signal processing. Is this not mathematics? Or digital networking. Is this not computer science? How is it that control system are applied equally comfortably to aeronautical systems, structural mechanics, electrical systems, and options pricing?
Like so many engineering schools, Berkeley used to have an introductory course entitled "Introduction to Electrical Engineering" that was about analog circuits. This quaint artifact spoke more about the origins of the discipline that its contemporary reality. Like engineering topics in schools of mining (which Berkeley's engineering school once was), ours has evolved more rapidly than the institutional structure around it.
Abelson and Sussman, in Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (MIT Press), a book that revolutionized computer science education, faced a similar transition in their discipline.
"Underlying our approach to this subject is our conviction that 'computer science' is not a science and that its significance has little to do with computers."
Circuits used to be the heart of electrical engineering. It is arguable that today it is the analytical techniques that emerged from circuit theory that are the heart of the discipline. The circuits themselves have become an area of specialization. It is an important area of specialization, to be sure, with high demand for students, who command high salaries. But it is a specialization nonetheless.
Before Abelson and Sussman, computer programming was about getting computers to do your bidding. In the preface to Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, they say
"First, we want to establish the idea that a computer language is not just a way of getting a computer to perform operations but rather that it is a novel formal medium for expressing ideas about methodology. Thus, programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute."