# EE Course: Signals and Systems

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Ryuk, Jun 5, 2013.

1. ### Ryuk Thread Starter New Member

Oct 9, 2012
18
0
Hi all, I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I have an opportunity to take Signals and Systems over the summer. However, I have not taken Differential Equations yet. A course on Electric Circuits is a prerequisite for this class and I ended up taking that last semester without any DE knowledge LOL! Luckily the first order and second order DEs we used in transient analysis weren't too ugly so I managed to get by with that.

I've heard Signals and Systems goes a lot more in depth with differential equations however. Would it be a bad idea to take this class without taking DE first?

I also have an internship over the summer. We deal with power electronics/inverter drives/electric machines. Would the material you learn in Signals and Systems be very helpful for my internship? Or is this class very mathematical instead of practical? I've heard some students state the class feels like a math class instead of an EE class.

2. ### Georacer Moderator

Nov 25, 2009
5,151
1,266
It really depends on how the course is taught. It can be from trivial to all-inclusive and over the top. Then knowing differential equations will be the least of your worries.

As for the internship, I can't see a very direct way to link it to the lesson. Notions apply, of course, but power electronics is not the main drive behind S&S.

3. ### Brownout Well-Known Member

Jan 10, 2012
2,375
998
It would be a bad idea.

4. ### count_volta Active Member

Feb 4, 2009
435
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Very very bad idea. If you are not familiar with laplace transform (which is taught in differential equations), you will not be able to understand 75% the material in Signals and Systems, and 60% of the material in Circuits 2.

Laplace transform and Fourier Transform (a variation of Laplace transform), is the foundation of real electrical engineering. I mean the stuff beyond ohm's law. Differential Equations is one of the most important courses for an EE to take. It took me a while to realize this. Try hard to understand the material in that course.

Also, I don't know what exactly you will be doing with power electronics, but I just started my new power electronics job a few weeks ago. Guess what I'm doing? Digital signal processing on a DSP processor. All the code I'm going to write is supposed to talk to a power inverter.

When I took Signals and Systems I felt just like you. I came up to my professor and asked him. How is all this math useful for building circuits? He did not give me a very satisfactory explanation. I continued on with my undergraduate career. Then I took digital signal processing and also filter design and introduction to linear control systems. Soon I realized that filters and signal processing is the basis for all electrical engineering.

Say you are trying to make an amplifier for your guitar and you want to introduce some cool effects. All those effects are nothing but signal processing. You are filtering the signal. You are using the Fourier Transform like crazy.

Say you want to implement a digital IIR or FIR filter in software for your guitar amp. How does such an implementation look?

FIR filter = y(n) = a1*x(n) + a2*x(n-1) + a3*x(n-2)+......... This equation is a difference equation which is the digital version of a differential equation. Its not really that hard to understand. Differential equations are not that hard to understand either.

My advice is, take differential equations as soon as possible. In my school, we took it during first semester sophomore while taking circuits 1.

Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
5. ### bountyhunter Well-Known Member

Sep 7, 2009
2,498
507
Check your course catalog to see what the prerequisites are. It never pays to take a course without the math pre reqs.

6. ### Ryuk Thread Starter New Member

Oct 9, 2012
18
0
^Word. I decided to take Diff EQ instead of Signals and I'm glad I did. There is so much to learn in Diff EQ. We only had 3 lectures so far and I'm flabbergasted at the amount of things we've covered.

7. ### Brownout Well-Known Member

Jan 10, 2012
2,375
998
That's a tough summer course. Call all your friends and tell them you'll be seeing them when your course is over.