Academic Use at University of Strathclyde

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Strathclyde students
Strathclyde students at VisSim workstations

More than 600 control and dynamic modeling students have benefited from the adoption of VisSim simulation and embedded system development software at Strathclyde University. VisSim has been used for over eight years at Strathclyde for control and dynamic modeling courses as well as areas such as demonstrating a multi-compartment model for microbial growth kinetics.

Used in introductory and advanced courses

Introductory courses use VisSim for basic modelling and control, then go on to more complicated aspects such as cascade control and integral wind-up. In advanced courses the software helps students to understand and use aliasing, feedforward, MPC and IMC control. The software license is distributed to students, up to 140 at any one time, to ensure that simulations and notes can be shared effectively by everyone.

Very easy to use

Dr Bruce Postlethwaite was impressed from the start by VisSim after replacing another simulation software package. “The response of the students to VisSim has been very good since day one; I’ve never heard anyone complain about the program being difficult to use, which is very unusual!” He goes on, “Students also regularly use VisSim without being specifically told to; they find it an easy way to check ideas and test their understanding of particular dynamic behaviours.” Dr Postlethwaite creates coursework problems in VisSim and students use the software for assignments.

Handles advanced multi-variable model predictive control

One example of Strathclyde's advanced use of VisSim was the implementation of a generalised, unconstrained, multivariable model predictive controller. The controller is constructed in VisSim and the controller design is carried out in Mathcad. “This was the first time I had used the matrix blocks in VisSim and I was surprised at how well they worked – despite its complexity the controller runs very quickly,” enthuses Dr Postlethwaite.

Happy he switched to VisSim

Since switching to VisSim Dr Postlethwaite has been delighted with VisSim and the support he has received. “The flexible licensing for VisSim was a big help for us and, since making the swap, I’ve been delighted with the technical aspects of VisSim too and would never move back to a competitive product.” Dr Postlethwaite has developed an on-line hypertext self paced curriculum for an introductory course in process control techniques. The web pages cover theory, have quizzes and include VisSim diagrams illustrating concepts.
See the Strathclyde pages here
Contact us to obtain these pages for use at your school.