ENGM 541 & ENGM 670-X5
Modeling and Simulation of Engineering Systems

January 2012 - April 2012

Lectures: Wednesdays from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, in ETLE 2-001

Labs: Thursdays from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, in ETLE 2-005


This Course Home Page is located at:


And was last updated on October 16, 2011

Lecture Schedule and Links   FAQ  Examples Course Outline General Course Information

Sample Midterm (with solutions)  Sample Final (with solutions)



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Lecture #



Course Text Chapter


Jan. 11, 2012

Intro to Modeling and Simulation & Equilibrium Lumped Parameter Systems


Previous Lecture:







Assigned Date

Due Date

(in class)


 To be posted

 Jan. 11, 2012

Jan 25, 2012





October 20, 2011: Formal announcements made to the class during lectures may be subsequently posted on the course website.

Approximate Lecture Schedule

(Revised October 20, 2010 & Subject to Change):

(links will be made to files in pdf format for lectures and m4a format for audio files)





Text Chapter


Jan. 11, 2012

Lecture #1 – Intro Equilibrium Systems


Jan. 18, 2012

Lecture #2 – Equilibrium Solution Methods


Jan. 25, 2012

Lecture #3 – Eqlm Methods, Linearization, Propagation Systems


Feb. 1, 2012

Lecture #4 – Propagation Systems


Feb. 8, 2012

Lecture #5 - Propagation System Solution Methods



Feb.15, 2012

Lecture #6 – Modeling Mixed Dynamics Systems (On-Line Lecture only, not presented in class)


Feb. 22, 2012

Reading Week (no lecture or lab)


Feb 29, 2012

Midterm Exam (in class)


Mar 7, 2012

Lecture #7 -  Eigenvalue Systems & Solution Methods


Mar 14, 2012

Lecture #8 – Discrete-Event Systems


Mar 21, 2012

Lecture #9 – Scheduling, Inventory, Systems Thinking


Mar 28, 2012

Lecture #10 – Uncertainty & Sensitivity Analysis


Apr 4, 2012

Lecture #11 – Model Validation, Other Modeling Methods & Packages


Apr 11, 2012

Final Exam (in class)



Week One

January 11, 2012: Lecture #1Intro to Modeling and Simulation & Equilibrium Lumped Parameter Systems

What is modeling

Model types

What is simulation

Modeling approaches for engineering systems for analysis and design

Direct formulation of lumped-parameter equilibrium systems

Loop and node variables

Constitutive relationships


January 12, 2012: Lab #1 - Introduction to Matlab


Week Two

January 18, 2012: Lecture #2 - General Lumped-Parameter Equilibrium Problems

Extremum functions

Energy and Co-energy

Formulating the General Equilibrium Problem

Matrix manipulation to solve systems of equations

Intro to iterative solution techniques


January 19, 2012: Lab #2 - MATLAB Functions & Data Visualisation


Week Three

January 25, 2012: Lecture #3 - Solving Systems of Equations, Linearisation, Intro to Propagation Problems

Iterative techniques to solve systems of equations


Introduction to propagation problems

Constitutive relationships for elements with time-varying variables


January 26, 2012: Lab #3 - Solving Systems of Simultaneous Equations & Linearisation


Week Four

February 1, 2012: Lecture #4 - Lumped-Parameter Propagation Problems

Recasting 2nd-order ordinary differential equations into first-order form

Nondimensionalising governing equations

Solution methods for lumped-parameter propagation problems

Picard’s Method and Taylor Series for small time intervals

Trial solutions by undetermined parameters (collocation, subdomain, least squares, Galerkin)


February 2, 2012: Lab #4 - Picard & Taylor Methods; symbolic differentiation and integration with Matlab; Intro to Simulink


Week Five

February 8, 2012: Lecture #5 - Solving Lumped-Parameter Propagation Problems

Finite difference methods

Errors introduced by discrete methods

Step Size Extrapolation

Recurrence formulae with higher-order truncation errors (Runge-Kutta)


February 9, 2012: Lab #5 - Numerical integration techniques in Matlab, Simulating Propagation Models in Simulink, System Linearisation


Week Six

February 15, 2012: Lecture #6: - Modeling of Mixed Dynamical Systems  (This lecture will be posted online only, as the instructor will be at research meetings in Germany)

Mixed Systems


Multi-port elements

Mixed system formulations

Modeling damage accumulation as a mixed system


February 16, 2012: Lab #6Modeling Mixed Systems and Analysing Linear Systems in MATLAB Impact Dynamics; Informal Midterm Preview; Project discussions

Project proposals are due by 5 p.m. February 16, 2012


February 22 & 23, 2012: No lecture or lab (Winter Term Reading Week)


Week Seven

February 29, 2012: MIDTERM EXAMINATION (2 hours) 5 pm - 7 pm in ETLE 2-001

March 8, 2012: Lab   project work session


Week Eight

March 7, 2012: Lecture #7: Eigenvalue Systems & Solution Methods

Solution Methods: Classic approaches & Diagonalisation using Jacobi Rotation

Singular Value Decomposition

March 8, 2012: Lab #7Eigenvalue Systems in MATLAB


Week Nine

March 14, 2012: Lecture #8: Modeling Discrete-Event Systems & Manufacturing Processes

Introduction to discrete-event systems

Modeling states

Modeling conditions

State transitions

Forming system models from elements

Synchronous and asynchronous models

Model verification



March 15, 2012: Lab #8 - Modeling Discrete-Event Systems in SimEvents and Excel; Project Work Session


Week  Ten

March 21, 2012: Lecture #9 Scheduling, Financial Analysis & Systems in Organisations

Methods for Discrete-Event Simulation

Modeling movement and transformation of material, energy, and information in engineering systems

Scheduling & inventory as discrete-event systems

Financial analysis of engineering systems: transactions as discrete-events

Systems in organisations: Systems Thinking


March 22, 2012: Lab #9 Modeling DES (2); Project work session

Project updates are due by 5 p.m. March 22, 2011 (5 pages max)


Week Eleven

March 28, 2012: Lecture #10 Uncertainty, Sensitivity, and Monte Carlo Simulation

Uncertainty and sensitivity analysis

Bayes Risk

Probability distribution functions, estimating probabilities and loss functions

Probabilistic simulations: an introduction to Monte Carlo methods for equilibrium lumped-parameter and discrete-event systems


March 29, 2012: Lab #10 Monte Carlo simulation


Week Twelve

April 4, 2012: Lecture #11 Model Validation & Applications

Model validation & parameter estimation

Other Modeling Methods: Hybrid systems models, physical systems models, analogues, multi-physics modeling

Commercial simulation packages

Course review of methods for modeling, analysis, and simulation


April 5, 2011: Lab - Review of MATLAB methods and wrap-up Q&A; project work.

PROJECT DUE April 5, 2012 by 5 pm (submitted to instructor or handed in at MEC E office)


Week Thirteen

April 11, 2012:

FINAL EXAMINATION (2.5 hours, in class) 5 pm – 7:30 pm in ETLE 2-001


(To be announced. Links are to files in pdf format)


Assigned Date

Due Date

(in class)

Assignment #1;

January 11, 2012

January 25, 2012

Assignment #2;

January 25, 2012

February 8, 2012

Assignment #3

February 8, 2012

February 22, 2012

Assignment #4

March 7, 2012

March 21, 2012

Assignment #5

March 21, 2012

April 4, 2012

There is a marking box in the hallway near the MECE Main office (4th floor).

Marked assignments will be handed back in class and then can be picked outside the instructor’s office at MEC E 5-8J.

Projects (to be done individually):


Project Assignment


Due Date

Update Due Date


Due Date


Proposal to be approved by instructor

Feb 16, 2012*

Mar 22, 2012*

April 5, 2012

by 5 pm

* Project proposals can be discussed with the instructor at any time. A project on modeling and analysis of a system designed for another course (e.g. MEC E 460) is eligible, provided the instructor for the other course approves of the topic (so that there is no double-credit given for the same work). The written proposal for the project is due on February 11, 2010 by 5 p.m. The template includes project expectations and types of topics. Late proposals will be subject to penalty. A project update report (5 pages maximum length) is due on March 18, 2010 by 5 pm. Late reports may be subject to penalty.

** The final project report will only be accepted late in the case of a documented medical or personal emergency. There is a schedule for mark losses described in the course outline.

General Course Information:

Lecture Room: ETLE 2-001 (ETLC); Laboratory: ETLE 2-005

Instructor: MG Lipsett, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Management Group

Email:  Michael [dot] Lipsett [at] ualberta [dot] ca

Office: 5-8J Mechanical Engineering Building (5th Floor West)

Office Hours: Wednesday 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, or by appointment (and whenever my door is open, but I may ask you to come back later).

TA: Masoud Mashkournia

Email: masoudm [at] ualberta [dot] ca

Course Text:

Kulakowski, B.T., Gardner, J.F., Shearer, J.L. Dynamic Modeling and Control of Engineering Systems. Third Ed. Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Marking Scheme:

Assignments: 25% of course mark (lab exercises and analysis problem sets - extra questions for grad students taking MECE 758). No late assignments will be accepted once solutions are posted.

Project: 20% of course mark (chosen midway through course). A range of topics can be selected; see the template for more information (an RTF version which can be used for your proposal is posted here). The final project report is due on April 7, 2010 before 5 p.m. No late projects accepted, except in the case of a valid documented medical or personal emergency.

Midterm Exam: 25% of course mark. The midterm will be held during the regular classroom session on Wednesday March 3, 2010, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm in ETLE 2-001. The midterm will be two hours in duration, open book, open notes. Programmable calculators allowed.

Final Exam: 30% of course mark. The final exam will be held during the classroom session on Wednesday April 7, 2010, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm in ETLE 2-001. The final exam will be two-and-a-half hours in duration, open book, open notes. Programmable calculators allowed.     

Course Overview & Format:
The lectures cover theory and methods for developing governing equations for different types of engineering systems (equilibrium, eigenvalue, and propagation), and how to solve them numerically.

The laboratory part of the course uses MATLAB® and SIMULINK® to analyze different systems, understand the limitations of different methods, and interpret the modeling and simulation results. Lab assignments follow naturally from lectures, with worked examples. There is a minimum of numerical method coding; the lab work focuses on how to model systems, apply appropriate numerical procedures, and interpret results in context. (MECE 758 students are responsible for the lab material, but do not have to attend the lab sessions.)

Emphasis is on lumped-parameter formulations as opposed to continuous systems, and primarily for physical systems. Model representations of information flow and finance are also discussed for decision making. Issues of numerical stability and model validation are also discussed.

This course will be lecture based, primarily using slides in pdf format that will be made available in advance from the course web-site. These lecture slides are supplemented with notes for selected discussions, and with in-class computer-based problem-solving examples. Resources are contained in the text-book and the course web-site (this site). Formal announcements made to the class may be subsequently posted on the course website.

All overheads and notes for the course are subject to copyright. Reproduction for distribution other than for your personal use is prohibited unless explicit specific permission is granted. Recording of lectures is prohibited unless part of an approved accommodation, or unless there is prior written approval from the course instructor.


Other Sources of Course Material:

Course Outline:
Link to course outline for ENGM 541.

Link to course outline for MECE 758-X5.

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