Thompson Consulting, Inc.

Multi-disciplinary engineering research and development


Dr. Marc Thompson is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and teaches several graduate courses at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts.  He also teaches a seminar on analog and power electronics systems and industry short courses.


Analog Circuits and Intuition  (click the link for a syllabus)

The ability to see the simplicity in a complex design problem is a skill that is not usually taught in engineering classes. Some engineers, when faced with design problems, immediately fill up pages and pages of calculations, or do complex circuit simulations or finite-element analyses. One problem with this approach is that if you get an answer, you don't know if it is correct unless you have an intuitive feel for what the answer should be. The application of some simple rules-of-thumb and design techniques is a possible first step to developing intuition into the behavior of complex electrical systems. The course outlines some ways of thinking about analog circuits and systems that hopefully will help to develop intuition. The course is run as a graduate seminar, and discussion and debate is highly encouraged. The lectures are a mixture of instructional sessions covering new background material, and design case studies.


Material covered includes:

  • Use of scaling laws, intuitive approaches and energy methods to simplify system design.
  • Mechanical/electrical/thermal/magnetic circuit analogies. How to use circuit theory to predict behavior of other kinds of systems.
  • Transistor amplifier design and amplifier bandwidth approximation techniques using open-circuit time constants and short-circuit time constants
  • High gain amplifiers
  • Switching transistor analysis using the charge-control model
  • Magnetic and electromechanical circuits
  • Switching power converter design and MOSFET switching speed estimation
  • Design case studies


Samples of powerpoints from Analog Circuits are here and here


Power Electronics (click the link for a syllabus from a past class)

This is a graduate-level power electronics course, covering:

  • Power electronic systems
  • Device physics and characteristics of switching devices such as BJTs, MOSFETs, SCRs, IGBTs, diodes, etc.
  • Rectifiers --- non-controlled (diode) and controlled (SCR) rectifiers and inverters
  • DC/DC switching power converters (such as the buck, boost, buck/boost, flyback, forward, Cuk, SEPIC, etc.)
  • Resonant converters
  • Control issues; modeling, averaged and state-space models; discontinuous mode and current mode control.
  • Motor modeling and control
  • Practical design issues such as snubbers, gate drives, thermal design, and magnetic design.

The focus is on approximate design techniques, real-world case studies, and intuitive methods.  There is judicious use of SPICE and MATLAB circuit simulations.


A sample of powerpoints from Power Electronics.


Seminar on Analog and Power Electronic Systems 

Material covered includes:

  • Basics of analog signal processing
  • Basics of power electronics
  • Use of scaling laws
  • Mechanical/magnetic/thermal circuit analogies


Electromechanics (click the link for a syllabus from a past class)

Material covered includes:

  • Magnetics; electromagnets and permanent magnets
  • Basic motors
  • Advanced motors (DC, synchronous, induction)


Notes from the 3-day seminar on electromechanics:

Day 1: Basics

Day 2: Magnetics

Day 3: Machines



Power Distribution (click the link for a syllabus from a past class)

An intermediate course in analysis and operation of electrical power distribution. Topics include electrical loads characteristics, modeling, metering, customer billing, voltage regulation, voltage levels, and power factor correction. The design and operation of the power distribution system components will be introduced: distribution transformers, distribution substation, distribution networks, and distribution equipment. Emphasis is on the design of electrical systems in accordance with the National Electrical Code (NEC). Supplemental materials on power quality and other projects related to power and power distribution will be supplied by the instructor. Numerous case studies will be done on the blackboard (in closed form) and using electrical and magnetic simulation tools.


Power Quality in Electrical Systems

Notes from the 3-day seminar (jointly taught with Dr. Alexander Kusko)

Power Quality Outline Notes on EMI Day 1 Notes 1 Day 1 Notes 2 Day 2 Notes 1 Day 2 Notes 2 Day 3 Notes 1 Day 3 Notes 2

Textbook ... "Power Quality in Electrical Systems"

Textbook on power quality standards, design issues and mitigating strategies, available in 2007 from McGraw Hill, jointly authored with Dr. Alexander Kusko.

An outline of the book is found here.

A link to the book front and back cover is shown here. link to the book is here



Industry Courses

  • “Seminar on Analog Circuit Design,” Polaroid Corporation, 1999
  • “Analog Circuits and Intuitive Design Methods,” Allegro Microsystems, 2004
  • “Power Electronics,” Allegro Microsystems, 2004
  • “Power Quality in Electronic Systems,” IEEE Boston, 2005 (with Alexander Kusko)
  • Electromechanics,” NSTAR, 2005
  • “Power Distribution,” NSTAR, 2006
  • “Electromechanical Basics,” Naval Air Engineering Station, Lakehurst N.J., June 2006,  September 2006, June 2008
  • “Power Distribution,” Northeast Utilities, 2007
  • “Power Electronics,”  National Grid, 2008
  • “Power Electronics,” Naval Air Engineering Station, Lakehurst N.J., September 2008

Contact Information:

Marc T. Thompson, Ph.D.
President, Thompson Consulting, Inc.
Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
9 Jacob Gates Road, Harvard MA  01451

Business website:

Links to TCI’s other webpages

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Thompson Consulting, Inc. ("TCI") intends for the information contained in this web site to be accurate; however, errors sometimes occur. Therefore, TCI in no event shall be liable for any direct or indirect damages arising out of the use of material on this website. 1998-2008, Thompson Consulting, Inc., all rights reserved.