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EE Professional Master's Program

A Look into EE 547: Linear Systems Theory Course


During the winter quarter 2014, UW EE’s Professional Masters Program (PMP) offered a challenging course in Linear Systems Theory taught by Research Associate Professor Linda Bushnell. “The unique aspect of this course was introducing a hands-on hardware platform in the lab for a traditionally very theoretical course,” says Bushnell. The course curriculum was largely made possible through an $11,000 upgrade to the labs, which was used to purchase mini-segway robots made by as well as sensors.

The overall objective of the course was to develop the math needed for modeling, analyzing and solving linear time-variant systems, and then apply it to control, observe, and stabilize these systems. Once the systems were controllable, the class developed state-variable feedback controllers to control the system to a desired reference point. After the systems were observable, they developed state observers (or estimators). The last topic of the course combined the estimators and feedback controllers by using the estimated state variables in the feedback loop of the controller.

The lab portion of the course consisted of a demo run through of a problem using Matlab and Simulink based on the topic covered for that week; students then worked on individual problems similar to the demo. The instructor would also demonstrate something on the minseg by applying some of the lab assignments provided by Mathworks. Students in turn would try to replicate these steps on their minsegs. Homework assignments included theoretical problems modeled on the demo from the labs and individual problems using Matlab and Simulink, as well as work on the minsegs to learn the hardware.

The final project for the course required the students to present their projects with a PowerPoint presentation and robot demo. The objective of the demo was to have the robot balance. The minseg robot had an Arduino Mega 2560 microprocessor board with LEGO motors and components, and was made to balance using Simulink code that was downloaded to the Arduino board. Students wrote the code to get the robots to balance.

Project video by Nathan Bialke

Minseg Mega platform using Simulink-based LQR control. Simulink model drives the x axis trajectory towards left side of screen if no object is detected with sonar sensor and towards right side of screen if an object is detected with sonar sensor.

Project video by Brian Howard

The Minseg robot coming to rest and returning to vertical from 8 degrees.

Interested in taking this course?
Enroll in our Professional Masters Program (PMP). This PMP course will be offered again Winter 2015, under the course number, EE 547: Linear Systems Theory.

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