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Sharing technical and real-life examples of how students can use MATLAB and Simulink in their everyday projects #studentsuccess

MATLAB and Simulink Design Projects for Students Everywhere

For today’s post Roberto Valenti would like to introduce you to MathWorks’ new Excellence in Innovation Program. 

OK so you are in your final years of school and you get a chance to pick your own project to work on! How cool, but where can you find an excellent idea or get some inspiration? We have a new program that can help you.   


The MathWorks Excellence in Innovation program provides a GitHub list of inspiring projects based on industry trends for your capstone, senior design project, or final year assignment. These projects help you learn about technology trends while becoming an important and valued contributor to the advancement of technical computing and Model-Based Design with MATLAB and Simulink. Even more, you can gain official recognition for your problem-solving skills from technology leaders at MathWorks. 


Every year, instructors from college and universities all around the world need to produce numerous project ideas with industry relevance for their senior design class students. This is arduous yet important work as the choice of a project impacts the future of each student’s professional career.  

The MathWorks Excellence in Innovation program not only provides a source of industry relevant projects that are based on engineering megatrends but incentivizes students by offering rewards for submitting satisfying solutions. Moreover, the discussion board serves as a forum to collaborate virtually among students working on the same project, even if in different areas of the world, and interact with MathWorks engineers to ask questions and request clarifications. 

Pilot project with the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering 

We have recently finished a pilot project initiated in October 2020 with Professor Shayne McConomy (Figure 1) from the Mechanical Engineering Department of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University – Florida State University (FAMU-FSU) College of Engineering. Professor McConomy welcomed the idea of using projects from our list and his enthusiastic feedback about the importance and usefulness of this program, particularly mentioning the contribution to experiential learning in conjunction with capstone/senior design classes, has been a very encouraging and a motivating stimulus to advance and scale up the program. Below Professor McConomy’s quote on the program  

Figure 1: Professor Shayne McConomy

“The MathWorks Excellence in Innovation program gives students a grand challenge to address, and the GitHub repository affords the students a foundation to explore solutions to the grand challenge. It has been shown that learning improves when students are able to work on grand challenges with experiential learning. In addition, the idea of providing foundational code is an example of Wicken’s cognitive training technique Part-task learning” 

Figure 2: The team – from left to right: Austin LaFever, Patrick H. Marlatt, Frederick Peterson, Jonathan Wozny

A team of students from Professor McConomy’s senior design class selected a MathWorks project from the GitHub list. Here is how it worked and what they were able to achieve. The team, composed of four senior students: Austin LaFever, Patrick H. Marlatt, Frederick Peterson, and Jonathan Wozny, (pictures of the students in Figure 2) worked on an automotive project, named MIMO Engine Airpath Control, with the objective to design and implement a torque control that improves a car’s engine performance using a Multi Input Multi Output (MIMO) approach.  

The challenging project gave the students the opportunity to gain knowledge of a car’s powertrain system, modeling and simulation, system identification, and an advanced control approach such as the increasingly popular model predictive control. Moreover, throughout the project they had the chance to apply industry relevant tools for real world applications building the foundation of their career in the automotive industry!  

A quote from the students: 

“We were intrigued to expand our knowledge of MathWorks tools and learn practical applications of coding software. Our team is very interested in cars and how to optimize their engine performance, specifically as it relates to emissions and this project was very much aligned with our interests and our studies. ​This project had a large learning curve but was a very fun and a super useful learning experience!”

Read the blog – Improve a Car’s Engine Performance, to learn about the details of the solution implemented by these students. 

So, what do you think?  Does this list inspire you?  Are you looking for different types of projects?  Tell us what you think in the comments below. We would love to hear from you. 

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