# Connexions

You are here: Home » Content » Freshman Engineering Problem Solving with MATLAB » Problem Solving Using M-file Environments

### Recently Viewed

This feature requires Javascript to be enabled.

Inside Collection (Course):

Course by: Darryl Morrell. E-mail the author

# Problem Solving Using M-file Environments

Module by: Darryl Morrell. E-mail the author

Summary: This module describes a problem solving process that can be used when solving engineering problems using m-file environments.

The purpose of this module is to introduce the engineering problem solving process in the context of using m-file environments to solve problems. Many variations of this process exist and no single variation is best for solving all problems. In this module we describe a variation of the engineering problem solving process that applies to m-file environments problem solving. Other variations are described in the reference at the end of this module.

The following problem solving process is fairly involved and may be an excessive amount of work for simple problems. For problems where the solution is straight forward, simply solve the problem; for more complex problems, the solution will usually not be obvious and this process will aid in development of an appropriate solution.

This specific process is divided into a set of seven steps. Each step includes questions that help move you successfully through the problem solving process.

1. Define the Problem
• What problem are you trying to solve?
• "What would success look like?"
• What should the program output? Computed values? A plot or series of plots?
2. Identify given information.
• What constants or data are supplied?
• What theory, principles, models and equations have you been given?
3. Identify other available information.
• What theory, principles, models and equations can you find in other sources (text books, lecture notes, etc.)?
4. Identify further needed information.
• What other information do you need?
• Where will you find it?
5. Design and implement your solution to the problem.
• How can you break the larger problem into smaller problems?
• Look at the problem from the top down or bottom up?
• What programming techniques might you use to convert input to output?
• What variables do you need? Vectors? Arrays?
• What principles and equations apply to convert input to output?
• How do you know your solution is correct?
• What worked?
• What didn't?

When solving simple problems you may be able to follow these steps in order. For more complex problems, you may be working on step 5 and realize you need more information. You might then go back to steps 3 or 4 to re-evaluate and find missing information.

Reference: H. Scott Fogler, Steven E. LeBlanc. Strategies for Creative Problem Solving, Prentice Hall, 1995.

## Content actions

PDF | EPUB (?)

### What is an EPUB file?

EPUB is an electronic book format that can be read on a variety of mobile devices.

PDF | EPUB (?)

### What is an EPUB file?

EPUB is an electronic book format that can be read on a variety of mobile devices.

#### Collection to:

My Favorites (?)

'My Favorites' is a special kind of lens which you can use to bookmark modules and collections. 'My Favorites' can only be seen by you, and collections saved in 'My Favorites' can remember the last module you were on. You need an account to use 'My Favorites'.

| A lens I own (?)

#### Definition of a lens

##### Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

##### What is in a lens?

Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

##### Who can create a lens?

Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

##### What are tags?

Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

| External bookmarks

#### Module to:

My Favorites (?)

'My Favorites' is a special kind of lens which you can use to bookmark modules and collections. 'My Favorites' can only be seen by you, and collections saved in 'My Favorites' can remember the last module you were on. You need an account to use 'My Favorites'.

| A lens I own (?)

#### Definition of a lens

##### Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

##### What is in a lens?

Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

##### Who can create a lens?

Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

##### What are tags?

Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

| External bookmarks

### Reuse / Edit:

Reuse or edit collection (?)

#### Check out and edit

If you have permission to edit this content, using the "Reuse / Edit" action will allow you to check the content out into your Personal Workspace or a shared Workgroup and then make your edits.

#### Derive a copy

If you don't have permission to edit the content, you can still use "Reuse / Edit" to adapt the content by creating a derived copy of it and then editing and publishing the copy.

| Reuse or edit module (?)

#### Check out and edit

If you have permission to edit this content, using the "Reuse / Edit" action will allow you to check the content out into your Personal Workspace or a shared Workgroup and then make your edits.

#### Derive a copy

If you don't have permission to edit the content, you can still use "Reuse / Edit" to adapt the content by creating a derived copy of it and then editing and publishing the copy.