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Computing Resources For Filter Design: Selecting A Properly Tuned Toolkit For The Classroom

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.117.1 - 1.117.5



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Jerry Hamann

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

I --- . Session 1220

Computing Resources for Filter Design: Selecting a Properly Tuned Toolkit for the Classroom

Jerry C. Hamann University of Wyoming


A wide variety of software tools are available for use in the instruction of analog electronic filter design. In this paper, the selection of appropriate tools for both introductory and advanced filter design courses is examined. The main thesis of the paper is that “less may actually be more)’ in the interest of our students.

1 Introduction A wealth of software is available for various aspects of the electronic filter design task (refer to the concise overviews in [1]–[4] ). Examples run the gamut from simple spreadsheets for completing fundamental design calculations to complex GUI-based systems [5] which integrate the steps of specification, response form selection, circuit design, and ultimately design simulation. Selecting the appropriate tools for use in the classroom can be a daunting task due to the large number of choices available. However, choosing the biggest, most comprehensive, and best integrated software suite may not be the best choice. The focus of this paper is a proposed “well-tuned” selection of software tools for the classroom. The driving theme in the discussion is the goal to provide tools which complement a novice yet advancing level of filter synthesis maturity, That is, we contend that the student is best served by tools which do not “automate” the design process but rather “enable” it via reduction of mundane calculations. To support this thesis, an inventory of filter design “tasks” faced by the student is provided. The algorithmic nature of the design process quite naturally lends itself to software automation, however by providing too much automated guidance, the software may actually usurp most if not all intellectual responsibility for the design. In this scenario, the students’ facility with filter design is an artificial one, critically depending upon access to a particular, familiar design automation tool. Examples of representative software tools for classical analog filter design, both “homebrewed” and com- mercial, are discussed from the pedagogical viewpoint of “enabling” versus “automating.” A cohesive set of well-tuned tools is then demonstrated for a typical filter design. The author’s experiences with applying these tools in the classroom setting are summarized as appropriate to indicate the varying levels of student maturity and computational requirement.

2 The Design Setting The focus of the filter design setting examined in this paper can be summarized as “high-order active filter synthesis for audio frequency bandwidths.” The classical approach to this task, as undertaken in texts such as Van Valkenburg [6], involves the following tasks:

Hamann, J. (1996, June), Computing Resources For Filter Design: Selecting A Properly Tuned Toolkit For The Classroom Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5932

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