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Using Matlab In Graduate Electrical Engineering Courses

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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

1.512.1 - 1.512.7

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Paper Authors

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Christopher Stook

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Asad Azemi

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


.— Session 1532 . . .

Using MATLAB in Graduate Electrical Engineering Courses

Asad Azemi, Christopher Stook Department of Electrical Engineering Penn State University Great Valley Campus Malvern, PA 19355

Abstract. Control system design packages like MATLAB, MATRIXX, Control C, SIMNON, etc. have become essential ingredients of both undergraduate and graduate courses in the systems and controls area. This work describes our experience, at the Great Valley Campus of the Pennsylvania State University, with the use of one of these packages, namely MATLAB with its Control Systems, Signal Processing, and Symbolic Math Toolboxes in Optimal Control and Linear Control Systems courses. This paper will also present the MATLA13 features that are found most useful in these two courses in enhancing students’ understanding of the material. The emphasis will be on presenting some of the features of the MATLAB which can be used to produce interactive simulations, using user interface controls, and analytical solutions. Examples illustrating these features will be included and the actual code will be posted at a site on the World Wide Web. The address of the site will be given during the conference. A discussion of how MATLAB helps in reducing the amount of time spent in performing computational homework assignments will follow. Finally, the general student reaction to incorporating this software package into these courses will be reported.


Penn State Great Valley Campus, one of the eighteen campuses of the Penn State University, is a graduate center designed to address the educational need of the working engineers in Philadelphia area. Almost all of our students are working engineers, with a wide variety of backgrounds using simulation packages. The Electrical Engineering Department at the Pennsylvania State University-Great Valley Campus is incorporating computer aided engineering (CAE) packages into its curriculum. The intent of augmenting the curriculum with these packages is to enhance the students’ theoretical understanding of the material with hands on analysis and design experience. The benefits of CAE packages in the classroom have been realized by the authors and their co-workers before [1-5]. The benefits of using these packages in a university setting is also confirmed by the number of new undergraduate textbooks, and revisions of previously printed textbooks incorporating new exercises and problems based on these packages, such as [6-13]. This trend can also be seen in recent graduate textbooks [14-15]. A summary of the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating these packages into our graduate curriculum are presented below.

General Advantages

One of the main advantages of using these tools is the reinforcement of student understanding of theoretical principles by means of enhanced graphical aids and interactive simulations. The simple graphical nature of the simulation outputs tend to help students understand the behavior of mathematically complex systems. This feature of the simulation packages could be used in preparing courseware products. . ?@xii; 1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings ‘..,yyMIL..$ .

Stook, C., & Azemi, A. (1996, June), Using Matlab In Graduate Electrical Engineering Courses Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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