June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Electrical and Computer
11.409.1 - 11.409.9
Design of Application-Oriented Computer Projects in a Probability and Random Processes Course for Electrical Engineering Majors
A course of Probability and Random Processes is regularly taken by many engineering students, because the study of this topic is fundamental to a wide range of disciplines. Usually students recognize that learning probability and random processes is a struggle. The primary reason is that the course materials are abstract and the concepts are difficult to understand. Currently published textbooks include computer exercises/projects to help students learn the concepts, primarily, the development of an intuition for randomness. But most of these computer exercises/projects are pure theoretical, which do not have a clear link with real applications. In this paper, we will report the effort made to design application-oriented computer projects as a complement to current textbook resources for a graduate-level class. Most of these projects are designed based on the applications of probability and random processes in Digital Image Processing and Digital Speech Processing, two major areas for the application of this knowledge. Image and speech signals have very vivid presentation, which can motivate students to learn; image and speech signals can be easily manipulated in MATLAB, the widely used engineering software, so students are able to do these projects without specific background. Some projects are in Digital Communications, where probability and random processes theories are widely used as well. The preliminary outcome is discussed. The extension of this experience to an undergraduate level course is also presented.
A course of Probability and Random Processes (or courses with similar titles) is regularly taken by many engineering students, because the study of this topic is fundamental to a wide range of disciplines. The goals of such a course are to introduce students the principles of probability and random signals, and to provide tools whereby they can deal with systems involving such signals. In the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), students need to master such tools, in particular, when they want to work in communication and signal processing systems, because they have to deal with signals and systems in a chaotic environment.
Usually students recognize that learning probability and random processes is a struggle. The primary reason is that the course materials are abstract and the concepts are difficult to understand. Motivating students is another challenge in probability courses. Beyond meeting degree requirements, the main motivation of most engineering students is to learn how to solve practical problems. For the majority, the mathematical logic of probability theory is, in itself, of minor interest. What the students want most is an intuitive grasp of the basic concepts and lots of practices working on applications.
The development of an intuition for randomness can be aided by the use of computer exercises. Currently published textbooks include computer projects to help students learn the concepts. For instance, how to generate random samples with a specific probability density function. But most
Du, Q. (2006, June), Design Of Application Oriented Computer Projects In A Probability And Random Processes Course For Electrical Engineering Majors Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--743
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