In ECE 123 (Electronic Circuits), Professor Haller always talks about creating models for any kind of circuits. He stresses in every lectures that engineering is not about being exact; its about making a simpler model that is close enough to the actual that the difference is not noticeable. Most of electrical engineering can be simplified by using a model. Most problems that we do deal with ideal op-amps or ideal diodes although they do not exist. The real parts are close enough to the ideal that the ideal model is good enough. The circuit problems that we do often have both AC and DC models which vary pretty significantly. Models are easier to work with because the equations are much easier. Also models can often be improved to be more precise or easier to work with. In other classes I have seen and used models, but they were not emphasized as much as they are in ECE 123. Professor Haller always models a problem before he begins doing any calculations.
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