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The Application Of Matlab To Teaching Communication Systems

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Innovations in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology Programs

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1178.1 - 14.1178.6



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Paper Authors

author page

Yuhong Zhang Texas Southern University

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

Application of Matlab on the Teaching of Communication Systems

Abstract Matlab has become a widely used tool for teaching and learning in various Engineering programs. In author’s electronics technology program, many students do not have a strong calculus background, which is the basic requirement for the communication systems course. Therefore, it is helpful to have a tool like Matlab to help them understand the concepts of signal, Fourier theorem, random noise and modulation / demodulation. In this paper, we present the experiences of teaching communication systems with the help of Matlab.


“Communication systems” is offered as a senior level course for Electrical Engineering majors in most universities. Its primary objective is to introduce the basic techniques used in modern communication systems and to provide fundamental tools and methodologies used in the analysis and design of these systems. It requires the students have the background in calculus, linear algebra, basic electronics circuits, linear system theory, and probability and random variables. The author works in the Department of Engineering Technologies and the course of communication systems is open for junior year students. However, the problem is that our students do not have the necessary mathematical background, which means it is not easy for them to understand Fourier Transform, modulation theory, nor filter design theory. Throughout my teaching, I have found Matlab to be an useful tool in helping students understand the concept and theory of the communication systems.

Introduce some concepts of communication system with Matlab

The most important concept in communication system includes the time and frequency domain analysis, modulation/demodulation techniques, noise in the modulation system, and filters design. During my teaching, I have found Matlab to be a useful tool for students to understand these basic topics. One possible question faced by students is “Why is the frequency domain needed?” In response, Matlab plots of cosinusoidal signals in time domain and frequency domain are shown to them respectively. Afterwards, they find the plot in frequency domain to be very simple. In addition, they also learn to write their own Matlab code to plot different signals.

Before an information-bearing signal is transmitted through a communication channel, some type of modulation process is typically utilized to produce a signal that can easily be accommodated by the channel. We discuss various types of modulation techniques in our communication system class. The modulation process translates an information- bearing signal, usually referred to as the message signal m(t ) , to a new spectral location depending on the intended frequency for transmission. The two basic types of analog modulation are continuous-wave modulation and pulse modulation. In continues-wave

Zhang, Y. (2009, June), The Application Of Matlab To Teaching Communication Systems Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5661

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