A number of software packages are now available to simulate the operation of nearly any power electronic circuit. Component characteristics are included, and the programs are set up so that representation of a circuit is relatively easy.

All are described on the Internet in some detail, and most have student versions, limited-capability versions, limited-time versions, or introductory packages. The comments that follow must be taken at a point in time, since the software evolves rapidly.

MATLAB—An interactive program for numerical computation and data visualization that is used by control engineers for analysis and design. Numerous “toolboxes” such as SIMULINK, a differential equation solver, are available for simulation of dynamic systems.

It provides an interactive graphical environment and a customizable set of block libraries that allow for the design, simulation, and implementation of control, signal processing, communications, and other time-varying systems.

MATHCAD—An equation-based program that allows one to document, perform, and share calculation and design work. It can integrate mathematical notation, text, and graphics in a single worksheet. It allows capture of the critical methods and values of engineering projects.

Spice—One of the early simulation programs, Spice allows a circuit to be built directly on the display screen in schematic form. Libraries are available for the various circuit elements. Both steady-state and transient behavior can be analyzed.

Many related programs are also available—PSpice, Saber, and Micro-Cap to name just a few. Some are directly compatible with Spice.

ElectroMagnetic Transients Program (EMTP)—Devoted primarily to the solution of transient effects in electric power systems, variants are available for circuit work. It is developed and maintained by a consortium of international power companies and associated organizations.

The core program is in the public domain. The above is only a sampling of the more popular software available for circuit analysis. Most packages can be purchased on the Internet and some have student versions that can be downloaded at no cost.

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