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Courses Identify This Engineering Course

  1. Dec 27, 2011 #1
    I was looking at my degree plan the other day, and I noticed that I didn't have the foggiest idea what the frikkity-frak this particular course was. All I know is that it's an electrical engineering course (I'm an aerospace engineering major). I'll likely be taking it next fall, so I was just curious if anyone could enlighten me as to what I should expect from this course, at least as far as material goes.

    Anyway, here's the course description: Linear System Analysis. Fundamentals of signals and systems; convolution; Laplace transforms; response of linear, time-invariant systems to standard inputs; frequency response methods; time-domain analysis; introduction to control systems. Frankly, all that sounds like gobbledegook except for Laplace Transforms, which are just a way of solving differential equations attempting to model discrete phenomena.

    Here's the book if it'll help: https://www.amazon.com/Systems-Sign...8334/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325047257&sr=8-1
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 28, 2011 #2
    Its a control theory course, the applications are controlling electrical/mechanical/any other type of systems via modeling & analyzing the system (e.g. its stability) [this is why you need the math topics mentioned above], and finally using the proper feedback mechanism.

  4. Dec 28, 2011 #3
    Sounds like a class my college called "Introduction to Signals and Systems". A combination of the fundamentals of signal processing with the fundametals of "systems" (control systems/control theory).
  5. Dec 28, 2011 #4
    It actually sounds more like a signals and systems course, which is usually a prerequisite for control theory/communications/signal processing courses.

    The 'systems' part basically gives you the mathematical tools to analyze electric circuits, mechanical systems and whatnot from a 'systems' point of view, where a system is basically just something that has inputs and produces outputs. You learn to characterize these systems in a number of ways and find their responses to arbitrary inputs without having to explicitly solve a differential equation everytime. This is where convolution comes into play, and you gain a lot of insight into it from a systems POV.

    While it doesn't mention it in your course outline, signals and systems courses usually also introduce Fourier transforms as a means for analyzing the frequency contents of a signal. This is the 'signals' part. From there, you get to prove interesting things, such as the sampling theorem and why ideal (analog) filters are impossible to implement.

    You may have already encountered some of this stuff if you did a circuits course that used Laplace transforms and Fourier transforms, but a signals/systems course generalizes these methods to any linear, time-invariant system.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011
  6. Dec 28, 2011 #5

    Sounds cool. I always wondered how the 'hardware' in electronics worked :D
  7. Dec 28, 2011 #6

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    One thing left unsaid in the answers so far: Why an electrical engineering course?

    The answer is that control theory is control theory. Other than annoying differences in nomenclature, the basic concepts of control theory are one and the same whether the practitioner is an aerospace engineer, chemical engineer, electrical engineer, or mechanical engineer. That your school is apparently trying to consolidate these concepts (at least amongst aerospace and electrical engineering) is a good thing.

    You are about to find that there is a whole lot more to Laplace transforms (and Fourier transforms, and Z transforms) than "just a way of solving differential equations."
  8. Dec 28, 2011 #7
    Exciting :D Maybe I'll finally get to learn what 's' is in Laplace transforms, eh?
  9. Dec 28, 2011 #8
    Im taking that class (with that exact book) this coming semester. My school calls it Signals and Systems, looks pretty interesting.
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