Asee peer logo

Development Of An Undergraduate Intelligent Systems Laboratory And Class

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Software and E-learning in the ME Curriculum

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.529.1 - 12.529.11



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


John-David Yoder Ohio Northern University

visit author page

JOHN-DAVID YODER is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at ONU. His Doctorate is from the University of Notre Dame. Research interests include education, controls, robotics, and information processing. Prior to teaching, he ran a small consulting and R&D company and served as proposal engineering supervisor for GROB Systems, Inc.

visit author page


Mihir Sen University of Notre Dame

visit author page

MIHIR SEN received his Doctorate from MIT, and is currently a Professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. His research interests include heat transfer, fluid mechanics, controls, intelligent systems, and applications of thermal engineering.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Development of an Undergraduate Intelligent Systems Laboratory and Class Introduction:

Ohio Northern University (ONU), a small, private, undergraduate university has received NSF funding to adapt and implement an Intelligent Systems Course currently in-place at the University of Notre Dame. The original course enrolls both undergraduate and graduate students. However, at this school, the course was implemented last year as a senior-level elective, enrolling students from both Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. Adaptation of the course focused on changes to accommodate the fact that students were only undergraduates from a variety of majors, and to accommodate a quarter-based academic calendar rather than semesters.

Students attended a weekly laboratory session which involved using hardware and/or software to implement, and discover the limitations of, the various algorithms discussed in class. One such laboratory required students to work with students at the other institution in order to complete the project. Students were assigned to teams including students from both universities. Each team was required to create an algorithm which would control the temperature of a system at the remote site. To further add to the complexity of this task, the hardware was different at each site.

The course topics included non-linear systems, chaotic systems, expert systems, fuzzy logic, neural networks, and genetic algorithms. All laboratory exercises were computer- based, group exercises. Students had to implement intelligent algorithms to control a variety of systems, including a fluid-mixing temperature control system, and a 3-DOF helicopter system from Quanser.

The course was taught with a focus on active learning techniques and student involvement, rather than the more traditional lecture-only method. Student and instructor reactions to this are included in the paper.

Detailed descriptions of the course, laboratory, and the remote laboratory exercise will be included. Also included will be pre- and post- surveys of students’ confidence in their ability to control systems, as well as direct assessment of student capabilities.


Engineers are increasingly required to have the ability to work with complex, integrated systems, which often include mechanical, thermal, and electrical components, as well as microprocessor control. As is the case in many undergraduate engineering programs, students at ONU previously had very limited exposure to such systems. The development of the new Intelligent Systems course and laboratory was focused on such systems. The course was intended to be open to both Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering students. Because the cost of developing such a laboratory could be prohibitive, it was decided to propose to the National Science Foundation Course,

Yoder, J., & Sen, M. (2007, June), Development Of An Undergraduate Intelligent Systems Laboratory And Class Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2372

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015