Teaching DEs with ScicosLab
Scicos. Te French research institute, Institut National de Recherche en Inormatique et en
Automatique (INRIA), where Scilab and Scicos were originally developed, has continued
the development o a package called ScicosLab. ScicosLab is the particular package we shall
ScicosLab is a ree sofware package. Its icon is the pun . Te gtk reers to thecompiler used. ScicosLab includes both Scilab and Scicos. It has capabilities equivalent toMatlab and Simulink and most o the toolboxes in Matlab. It has additional capabilities asdiscussed in Section . .Te ocial ScicosLab website is
Links are there to obtaining downloadable versions or a wide variety o dierent machines
and operating systems. Te sofware has ull online documentation in both English and
French. In addition there is an introduction to the latest version o ScicosLab [
]. Scilab hascommands or drawing phase portraits.
draws a two dimensional phase portrait,
draws a three dimensional phase portrait, and
draws a two dimensional
phase portrait with observer. Here we shall ocus just on showing how to quickly let students
use Scicos to study dierential equations.
Scilab has numerical integrators and graphing capabilities and syntax much like Matlab.
However, using this syntax is not always easy or beginning students. We will talk here aboutusing Scicos where the manipulations are perormed in a more graphical and visual manner.ogettoScicos,onelaunchesScicosLabandthentypes
onthecommandline. UsingScicos does two things at the same time. For one it simplies the simulation o a dierential
equation. Secondly, it encourages the student to think o the dierential equation not asan equation but as an input-output relationship which is very important in many areas o
applications.Suppose that we wish to work with a linear system o dierential equations
are matrices and
are vector unctions. Equation
is called the process or the plant. Equation
is the output equation.
In Scicos one graphically assembles blocks. A user can dene their own blocks andcreate blocks made up o other blocks. However, Scicos has a large number o predenedblocks arranged in “palettes." A list o all palettes is ound under
the menus at the top o the Scicos window.
We click and drag a block or the system
palette which looks likeFigure. Te block we want is the rst one in the second row and is called the
block. Note that dierence equations are in the lower right and that
there are Laplace transorm blocks also.
Tere are places to make connections on both ends o this block. Tese are or inputsand outputs with the arrow head showing the direction. On the lef we need to provide a
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