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A Role For Simulink In A Continuous Time Signals And Systems Course

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Computers in Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.98.1 - 9.98.6

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Paper Authors

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Paul Coyne

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1520

A Role for Simulink™ in a Continuous-Time Signals and Systems Course

Paul J. Coyne, Jr. Loyola College in Maryland Department of Engineering Science


Simulink™, which runs on the MATLAB™ engine, can be introduced in a course on Continuous-Time Signals and Systems. Graphical concepts similar to textbook block diagram examples can easily be illustrated without referring to any underlying of the computational concepts.

Early on in a course on Continuous-Time Signals and Systems, students see causal linear time-invariant systems described by differential equations, including block diagram realizations using integrators1. This usually reinforces the exposure to differential equations seen in a circuit analysis course, where a differential equation represents a circuit with a forcing function. In the context of a continuous-time course, systems are treated as block diagrams and a system described by a differential equation can be easily built using Simulink™ as illustrated in a textbook.

This paper suggests a two-part exercise involving a second order system, initially given fixed coefficients, with a one-volt step function input. In the first part, the students are given a Simulink™ file containing an implementation of the system as a cascade of a feed forward section with a feedback section; this construction is usually referred to as the Direct Form I realization of the differential equation. Using the principle discussed in the course the students reverse the cascade and observe no change in the output. The student should then observe the redundancy of integrators and construct the Direct Form II or Canonic Form for this system. The output of the model, with the pre-selected coefficients, is a decaying sinusoid with a steady state response of zero volts. Using the first part as a reference or starting point; the second part asks the students to modify the coefficients to generate a step function response which oscillates with a period which is increased by a factor of two, a time constant which is reduced by a factor of two and a steady state response of two volts. The suggested first step is the correlation of the response from the first part with the differential equation coefficients via a pole-zero plot.

“Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering”

Coyne, P. (2004, June), A Role For Simulink In A Continuous Time Signals And Systems Course Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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