Philip Asare

Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering

My passion is ... 
helping and working with people.

For me, engineering is a humanist enterprise: it is people who do engineering and it is people who benefit from it. I find that to effectively work with people I must both respect and transcend disciplinary boundaries. Norbert Wiener remarked in his book on Cybernetics in 1948 (yes, almost 70 years ago) that "the most fruitful areas for growth in the sciences were those which had been neglected as a noman's land between the various established fields." I would go a step further to say that this applies beyond sciences to the pursuit of knowledge and insights in general. My journey in engineering continues to be a wonderful one of transcending boundaries and the joys and rewards of such pursuits are what I hope to share with the Bucknell community.

I'll mention two (out of many) things that fascinate me about engineering. The first is the (often overlooked) importance of contexts and constraints in addressing engineering problems and how these shape the technical approaches. Herbert Simon, in his book "The Sciences of the Artificial" puts this aptly: "Whether a clock will in fact tell time depends on its internal construction and where it is placed... Thus, if a clock is immune to buffeting, it will serve as a ship's chronometer. (And conversely, if it isn't, we may salvage it by mounting it on the mantle at home)." This interplay between the engineered solution and its environmental (physical, social, economic, or cultural) is a perspective I hope to help engineers consider more deeply especially as technologies continue to pervade our lives.

The second is the divide-and-conquer approach in engineering. Any engineering 'product' is developed by teams of people from different disciplines and I find it interesting that each discipline uses different abstractions and methods to describe and think about the same 'product'. I'd like to find a way to increase communication between these different disciplines so that they maintain a consistent view of the 'product' throughout the whole engineering process.

I have been exploring these themes mostly in the medical world partly by choice and partly by circumstance, but I do work in other areas as well and would be happy to explore other areas with anyone who is interested. In that vein, I would like to contribute to ensuring that engineering as a career or intellectual pursuit is available to anyone who would like pursue it. The more diverse perspectives we have, the better.

Favorite Out of Class Activities/Interests

  • Spending time with family and friends (in person and on the phone, Google Hangouts, Whatsapp, and Skype)
  • Good food and good conversation
  • Performing Arts
  • Sports (soccer and basketball mainly)

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Computer Engineering, University of Virginia, 2015
  • Certificate in College and University Teaching, University of Pennsylvania, 2011
  • M.S.E., Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 2011
  • B.S.E., Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 2011

Teaching Experience

  • Bucknell University, 2015 - present
  • University of Virginia, 2014

Topics of Interest

  • Engineering and society
  • Engineering design
  • Embedded and cyber-physical systems
  • Model-based design
  • Medical technologies

Awards/Honors (selected list)

  • Multicultural Student Services Faculty Fellowship, Bucknell University (fall 2015)
  • Swanson Faculty Fellowship in the Sciences and Engineering, Bucknell University (2015-18)
  • Louis T. Rader Graduate Research Award, University of Virginia (2015)
  • Best Paper Award, International Conference on Body Area Networks (2014)
  • Best Student Paper Award, International Conference on Body Area Networks (2013)
  • Selected Participant, 1st Heidelberg Laureate Forum (2013)
  • Google Lime Connect Scholarship (2013-14)
  • NSF/FDA Scholar-in-Residence Fellowship (2012-13)

Industry Experience

  • Scholar-in-Residence, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2012-13