June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Computing & Information Technology
COMPUTING in CIRCUITS and SYSTEMS
Many engineering and computing programs offer an introductory course on electric circuits analysis. Typically this is a three (3) credit hours lectures course, in some schools accompanied by a 1 credit laboratory section. In author’s school the first circuit course is offered without a laboratory section. It is therefore helpful for student learning to incorporate into the course practical examples where students can use computer software packages like MATLAB, MATHCAD or PSpice to solve circuit problems. Several textbooks are available that include examples introducing students to use of these computing and information technology tools.
Authors have taught introductory circuits classes as well as signals & systems, sensors, digital signal processing courses where the use of these tools have helped students, especially when dealing with abstract concepts such as circuit analysis techniques, first-order, second-order circuits, filters, frequency response, impedance matching, transfer function, transforms, and signal to noise ratio. With widespread use of these computing tools it becomes important for engineering educators to consider using these powerful packages at the right place, right time. Circuits are usually taken by engineering majors or some computer science students as their first engineering class after calculus. In authors’ schools software packages are available in computer laboratories so students can access them to help them with problem solutions, graphing and analyzing more complex circuits/systems where they may be solving systems of equations with several circuit unknowns and variables.
Some students have introductory familiarity with these computing tools, for example they have seen MATLAB examples before, also the text has brief tutorial and examples of using software tool (mostly MATLAB). In class we briefly introduce also the MATHCAD where it is easier, for example, to enter mathematical expressions, functions and obtain graphs and easily manipulate/format them on the worksheet. MATHCAD is a symbolic programming language where mathematical expressions are entered as they are written naturally on paper. It is a valuable problem-solving tool for students of mathematics, science, engineering and computing. Of course other software systems are also available as computer-aided analysis/design tools, they include MAMPLE, MATHEMATICA (in our universities all students, faculty and staff can access the system), as well as WFilter. WFilter is used in design of analog and digital filters and also includes specifications of the PSpice circuit elements to implement these filter in real-time; it is more useful in upper-division design classes and in elective courses. In an introductory course it is good to use one or maybe two such software systems. In this paper emphasis will be on using MATHCAD and MATLAB examples for student learning of difficult engineering concepts and abstractions.
Xu, C., & Mousavinezhad, S. H. (2017, June), Computing in Circuits and Systems Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28065
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