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Improve Learning Efficiency With Integrated Math And Circuit Simulation Tools In Electrical And Computer Engineering Courses

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

ECE Poster Session

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.730.1 - 11.730.7



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Paper Authors


Colin Campbell Corp.

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Colin Campbell works with professors in Engineering at the University of Waterloo assisting them integrate mathematical software into their courses for the purpose of design
and simulation.

Colin graduated from Waterloo's "Co-op Applied Math with Engineering Electives" programme in 1982.

Colin is the owner of Corporation which develops on-line video-based training courses, with an engineering leaning, for mathematical software such as MATLAB, Mathcad and Maple.

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Faycal Saffih McMaster University


Khaled Nigim University of Waterloo

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Khaled Nigim is a registered professional engineer in Ontario, Canada, senior member of the IEEE, has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Leicester, England UK and a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Zagazig University of Cairo, Egypt. He is currently the coordinator of the Master of Engineering professional development graduate program offered on-line at the University of Waterloo, E&CE department.

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

Improve Learning Efficiency with Integrated Math and Circuit Simulation Tools in Electrical and Computer Engineering Courses 1. Abstract

This paper presents coupling the use of the TINA circuit simulation software with the Mathcad mathematical software. This coupling permits students to simply (1) enter a circuit in TINA diagramatically, (2) export its symbolic solution y(t), or its transfer function, Y(s), to a Mathcad file, and (3) plot these solutions for multiple values of a parameter (e.g. R) on a 2-D or 3-D graph. The symbolic solutions and plots enhance understanding of both the physical and the mathematical foundations of the studied cases. We envision this coupling being used in classrooms by instructors, and by students. (This coupling only works in the case of linear circuits, so for example it does not work with diodes).

2. Introduction

In our first example, we enter an RLC circuit into TINA with fixed values of R, L and C. Then we find the symbolic solution in terms of unknown R, L and C. Finally we export the symbolic solution to Mathcad where we plot I(t,R) as a surface plot varying t and R. From the plot and the symbolic solution we make observations about the behavior of the solution as R varies - which are valuable educationally and from a design perspective.

In our second example, we enter a low-pass filter into TINA with C in as the parameter of interest. Then we find the transfer function symbolically in terms of Cin. Next we export the transfer function W(s, Cin) to Mathcad where we create Bode plots with various values of Cin all on the same axes for comparison. From the plot we make observations about the behaviour of the filter as Cin varies. Finally we get Mathcad to take the Inverse Laplace Transform of W(s, Cin)/s to get the step response, y(t, C in), which we plot with various Cin values, and make further observations.


TINA is comprehensive circuit simulation software made by DesignSoft, Inc. What sets it apart from other such software, among other things, is its ability to produce symbolic solutions to circuits [1], and to produce symbolic transfer functions, both of which are very useful in educational settings. (

4. Mathcad

Mathcad is comprehensive mathematical software made by MathSoft, Inc. What sets it apart is that mathematics are entered and displayed in familiar math notation [2, 3], unlike a textual programming language. Whenever you change a variable, Mathcad recomputes any variables that depend on it, making it very useful in education and design. (

Campbell, C., & Saffih, F., & Nigim, K. (2006, June), Improve Learning Efficiency With Integrated Math And Circuit Simulation Tools In Electrical And Computer Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1450

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