Christopher Schmitz

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Christopher Schmitz
Senior Lecturer
  • Research Staff
  • Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring
3066 ECE Building
306 North Wright Street
Urbana Illinois 61801
Chief Advisor
  • Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring
2098 ECE Building
306 North Wright Street
Urbana Illinois 61801

Primary Research Area

  • Signal Processing - Signal Processing for Communications



  • Ph.D. in ECE at the University of Illinois, 2002.


Dr. Schmitz was born December 30, 1969 in Pana, Illinois.  He is the seventh of 12 sons born to Leland and Doris Schmitz.  He graduated valedictorian of Pana High School in 1988 and was a Bronze Tablet recipient upon receiving his BS in ECE at the University of Illinois in 1993.  He also received his MS and Ph.D. in ECE at the University of Illinois in 1996 and 2002, in the areas of fault-tolerant adaptive filtering and interference cancellation in multi-user communications, respectively.  From September 1995 through January 1997, Schmitz worked at TRW Space and Electronics Group in Hermosa Beach, California, in the areas of adaptive nulling and satellite communication.  Upon completion of his Ph.D. in 2002, he worked as an academic professional at Beckman Institute of the University of Illinois to develop and test signal processing and wireless communication algorithms for advanced hearing device designs.  Since 2005, Schmitz has also been active in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department performing course development work and teaching in the areas of digital signal processing and digital communications.  He has a special interest in the use of technology in the classroom to enhance the learning environment and alleviate the traditional dry lecture setting. His website can be found at

Teaching Statement

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- restatement of Einstein

Teaching is vital to the success of the University of Illinois.  We must always look towards finding simple and engaging ways to demonstrate complex ideas to our students.  Available technology provides access to demonstrative components missing from the classic "chalkboard lecture" while breaking the monotony of a 50-plus minute lecture. Students need to be engaged in the classroom through regular interactive activities.

Research Statement

As a Researcher, I investigate potential signal processing techniques for various applications. For example, a co-located microphone array (fabricated with MEMS devices designed to imitate the functionality of a particular species of fly) can offer high directivity in an nontraditional small package. The co-located philosophy has been applied to EM signals resulting in an electrically-small antenna array with big potential for accurate direction-of-arrival estimation. I also pursue interests in digital communications, particularly in software-defined radio.

As a Senior Lecturer in ECE, I currently serve as course director for ECE110: Intro to Electronics. I enjoy working with the rest of the ECE110 staff to improve the course's goals within the undergraduate curriculum. I have taught ECE 459 Communications I as well as teaching/developing course material for both the Digital Communications Laboratory (ECE 463) and Exploring Digital Information Technology (ECE 101). The development work for ECE 101 has provided interactive demonstrations for the techno-savy course. The development work for ECE 463 has increased the versatility of the course by adding a cutting-edge Software-Defined Radio (SDR) solution which is the enabling technology for Cognitive Radio. The course provides the basis for students wishing to continue their education though projects in Senior Project (ECE445) Senior Thesis (ECE 497/499), Individual Study in ECE (597) or a Master's Thesis. Past projects included basic designs in SDR, GPS, the FM-based Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS), HDTV, FPGA-based PLLs, ADS-B airplane transponders and Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM).

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Juniors and seniors interested in signal processing or communication theory are encouraged to discuss potential projects with me.  Several projects in the areas of signal processing and communications can be discussed. I also will entertain ideas for projects at the freshmen/sophomore levels focused more on circuits.

Research Interests

  • Acoustic Signal Processing for Hearing-Aid Applications
  • Multiuser Detection
  • Adaptive Signal Processing and Beamforming
  • Wireless Communication
  • Improving Education in STEM Disciplines

Research Areas

  • Adaptive signal processing
  • Signal detection and estimation
  • Speech processing
  • Wireless communication systems

Courses Taught

  • ECE 101 - Exploring Digital Info Technol
  • ECE 110 - Intro Elec & Computer Engrg
  • ECE 110 - Introduction to Electronics
  • ECE 199 - ECE 110 Merit Section
  • ECE 199 - Undergraduate Open Seminar