The complexity of real-life power system problems requires the use of modern, multiple and advanced computing tools and packages. Moreover, the use of software application tools in day-to-day power system operation and management began several decades ago and has gained momentum. Since then power system engineers developed a wide range of sophisticated software applications for power system analysis, operation, modeling and management. These tools and software applications are now playing an indispensable role in planning, operation, and control of power systems. As power systems have become increasingly complex there is a critical need to make available improved tools for training students and/or professional already working in these industries. Over the years, computer simulation programs have played an important role in providing students with a better understanding of power system or electric machines operation, analysis, characteristics or modeling. An attractive way of teaching topics in power engineering is the use of symbolic software packages, such Mathematica, Maple, Mathcad, etc. These are interactive environments for computation, visualization, and modeling that can be used to analyze a wide variety of dynamic systems, including linear, non-linear, discrete-time, continuous-time, or hybrid systems. Symbolic computational tools are widely used in a variety of engineering and sciences’ fields, among others in physics, mechanics, electromagnetics, circuit analysis, electric machines, power electronics, or power engineering. These packages are designed to obtain explicit symbolic solutions to engineering and scientific problems. In addition, a variety of numeric computational algorithms and techniques have also been integrated into these tools to help with both the solution and visualization of these problems. Numeric computational tools designed to numerically solve and visualize a variety of mathematical problems, such as MATLAB now also include symbolic capabilities, transforming these programs into symbolic-assisted numeric computational tools. There were several pioneering works performed to develop, apply and use symbolic computational tools in the areas of the power engineering, electric machines and energy conversion. This paper is focused on a discussion of the software packages are used, and how they can be used to improve power engineering education. The advantages and disadvantages of the use of symbolic computations in teaching and learning of power engineering course are discussed in details in this paper. The use of symbolic computation in power systems, from the tools used for power system analysis, to its application in the classroom to facilitate the explanation and understanding of complex models and concepts such as device modeling and simulation is presented. Lessons learned are also included and feedback and suggestions from other educators are welcomed. Examples regarding symbolic computation in power related courses are provided and discussed.
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