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Syllabus - ECE 483 / ME 431

Learning Outcomes

The objective of ECE 483 / ME 431 is to help you develop the following technical skills:

  1. The ability to develop (nonlinear) mathematical models of complex dynamic systems.
  2. The ability to simplify those models into linear transfer function and state space representations.
  3. The ability to develop design specifications for physical systems with sensing and actuation limits.
  4. The ability to design PID controllers for systems described by linear time-invariant models.
  5. The ability to use loopshaping techniques to design frequency domain controllers for systems described by linear time-invariant models.
  6. The ability to design observer-based controllers for systems described by linear time-invariant models.

Organization of Class

The class will be organized according to the following matrix, where each learning outcome is first taught and then applied to several case studies. “L1”, “HW1”, “Whirlybird”, and “F” refer to specific case studies that we will use throughout the semester. The lecture case studies will be presented in class, the homework case studies will be assigned as homework problems, and the final case study will be worked during the final exam.

Case Studies
Outcomes Lecture Homework Lab Final
Physical Models L1 L2 L3 HW1 HW2 HW3 Whirlybird F
Design Models L1 L2 L3 HW1 HW2 HW3 Whirlybird F
Design Specs L1 L2 L3 HW1 HW2 HW3 Whirlybird F
PID L1 L2 L3 HW1 HW2 HW3 Whirlybird F
Loopshaping L1 L2 L3 HW1 HW2 HW3 Whirlybird F
Observer-based L1 L2 L3 HW1 HW2 HW3 Whirlybird F


Franklin, Powell, Emami-Naeini, Feedback Control of Dynamic Systems, Prentice Hall, editions 4, 5, or 6.

Additional Resources


ECEn 380 or MeEn 335


The grade for this class will be determined based on the following distribution:

Homework 20%
Labs 20%
Midterm 1 20%
Midterm 2 20%
Final 20%

I will use the following scale to compute the grades:
A = 94% and above
A- = 90% and above
B+ = 87% and above
B = 83% and above
B- = 80% and above
C+ = 77% and above
C = 73% and above
C- = 70% and above
D+ = 67% and above
D = 63% and above
D- = 60% and above
E = anything lower
On occasion, I will lower the cutoffs in a way that helps you, the student. This is done to compensate for exams that are harder than I intended.


Homework will be assigned weekly and is due in class on the day indicated on the schedule. Late homework will not be accepted. The solutions to the homework will be placed on the class wiki after it is due.


There will be nine labs associated with the whirlybird hardware. You must complete all of the labs to pass the course. The labs must be passed off to the TA by the day indicated on the the schedule. Late labs will be accepted but the grade will be reduced by 10 points (out of 100) each week that the lab is late. All labs must be completed by the last day of class (December 12).

Midterm Exam

There will be two midterm exams given in the testing center on October 17-23 and December 5-11.

Final Exam

The scheduled date for the final exam is Monday, December 16, 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. For the final exam you will be given a picture of a simple physical system and you will be asked to:

  • Develop a (nonlinear) mathematical model and implement in Simulink,
  • Develop transfer function and state space representations of the system,
  • Develop reasonable design specifications based on the physical constraints,
  • Design and implement in Simulink a PID controller to meet the specifications,
  • Design and implement in Simulink a loopshaping controller to meet the specifications,
  • Design and implement in Simulink an observer based controller to meet the specifications.

A practice exam based on one of the homework case studies will be handed out several weeks before the final. The exam will be closed book, closed notes, closed internet, and time limited (three hours). You will be given a computer with Matlab/Simulink and MS Word loaded.

Teacher Evaluations

At the end of the semester I will send out information about on-line teacher evaluations. Teacher evaluations are an important part of faculty evaluation and development. The success of the program depends upon student participation. To encourage participation, I will give 5 extra credit points on the final exam to those who fill out the form. To let me know that you have filled out the form, check the box that allows your name to be released on the evaluation form (note that names will not be correlated with evaluations).


Office Hours

Please respect my office hours. If they are not accommodating, make an appointment with me via email. If I am in my office but the door is closed, then I am not available for tutoring or consultation.

Honor Code Standards

In keeping with the principles of the BYU Honor Code, students are expected to be honest in all of their academic work. Academic honesty means, most fundamentally, that any work you present as your own must in fact be your own work and not that of another. Violations of this principle may result in a failing grade in the course and additional disciplinary action by the university.

Students are also expected to adhere to the Dress and Grooming Standards. Adherence demonstrates respect for yourself and others and supports an effective learning and working environment. It is the university’s expectation, and my own expectation in class, that each student will abide by all Honor Code standards. Please contact the Honor Code Office (4440 WSC, 422-2847, if you have questions about those standards.

Preventing Sexual Discrimination or Harassment

Sexual discrimination or harassment (including student-to-student harassment) is prohibited both by the law and by Brigham Young University policy. If you feel you are being subjected to sexual discrimination or harassment, please bring your concerns to the professor. Alternatively, you may lodge a complaint with the Equal Employment Office (D-240C ASB, 422-5895, or with the Honor Code Office (4440 WSC, 422-2847,

Students with Disabilities

If you have a disability that may affect your performance in this course, you should get in touch with the office of University Accessibility Center (1520 WSC, 422-2767, This office can evaluate your disability and assist the professor in arranging for reasonable accommodations.