Keynote Speaker 1
Ahmed Rubaai, Fellow IEEE
Professor and Chair
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department
Washington, DC, USA
HANDS-ON LABORATORIES: REAL-TIME EXPERIMENTATION FOR ENGINEERING EDUCATION
Abstract- Throughout schools and universities within the United States and all over the world, there has been growing interest in the use of practical control concepts in and beyond the classroom. This has been accomplished to a large extent using laboratory developments, with incorporation of technology tools that enable students to work on different real-world control configurations. This adjustment to incorporate the more practical format into the classroom has taken different forms throughout the academic world.
Laboratory experiments using real-time systems are necessary in control engineering education. Experiments help the students understand the theoretical concepts and provide important motivation. It is therefore essential for the students to have a thorough understanding of hands-on experimentation and real-time systems. Three fundamental educational objectives are:
1. To apply state-of-the-art knowledge to help students understand what they have learned.
2. To train a new cadre of graduates who value experimentation as an essential and natural part of solving engineering problems.
3. To develop good experimental skills. Hence, the undergraduate engineering education becomes more attractive and meaningful to the students.
A key aspect of the laboratory development is the close integration of engineering tools that include both software (MATLAB Simulink/MATLAB Real-Time Workshop (RTW)) and an off-the-shelf hardware (dSPACE DSP board). In the hardware portion of the laboratory experiments, MATLAB Simulink paradigms are created using the dSPACE ControlDesk toolbars. The paradigms are built in real-time using the MATLAB RTW that automatically generates optimized C-code for real-time applications.
The laboratory environment presented in this plenary session has many educational advantages as compared to multi-environment settings. The main features of this environment are: 1) controller code can be generated automatically for hardware implementation; 2) different languages can be used to describe different parts of the system. Simulink block diagrams can be used to define the control structure, tune the controller parameters and reference signals online, while the experiments are in progress without having to rebuild and download a new Simulink paradigm to the dSPACE DSP board; and 3) ease of operation especially by means of a simple graphical user interface.
This presentation highlights the implementation of the laboratory exercises, students' sense of accomplishments, challenges and lesson learned in teaching team-taught experimentation and laboratory-oriented studies.
AHMED RUBAAI received the M.S.E.E degree from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, and the Dr. Eng. degree from Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH, in 1983 and 1988, respectively. In 1988, he joined Howard University, Washington, DC, as a faculty member, where he is presently a Professor and Chairperson of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. Dr. Rubaai has been named an IEEE Fellow in 2015. As an Educator, Dr. Rubaai has been an acknowledged educator and leader of curriculum development at Howard University for more than two decades. He is the Founder and Lead Developer of Motion Control and Drives Laboratory (http://www.controllab.howard.edu) that provides engineering students with valuable hands-on and "real-world" experiences." In recognition of his scholarly work and dedication to the improvement of engineering education, his work is recognized by the larger community of engineering educators, as verified by his receipt of the 2011 ASEE Robert G. Quinn Award and the Distinguished Educator Award of the Middle-Atlantic Section of the American Society for Engineering Education. This recognition is a clear demonstration and confirmation of his peers' high regard for his contributions to engineering education.
As a researcher, Dr. Rubaai has made significant contributions to the development and control of electric motor drives for industrial system applications in a variety of roles including: scientist, research engineer, university professor, and as IEEE volunteer and leader. Most of these contributions are heavily oriented towards industrial applications that IEEE serves. Of importance is his development of control technologies by way of intelligence; laying the technological foundations for the production versions of high-performance drives used in an expansive array of industrial, commercial, and transportation applications today. His work covers a broad range of manufacturing and product applications and exemplifies his ability to bridge between academic research and the application to industrial applications. The bridges that Dr. Rubaai has built between industry and academia represent a uniquely valuable contribution that can be matched by very few others in the academic world today.