Control Systems

Control theory is concerned with forcing the measured outputs of a system to follow a desired reference command, through the manipulation of certain input variables to the system. Ideally this tracking should be accomplished in the face of uncertain knowledge of the system and external disturbances. A powerful concept in this field is the notion of feedback - whereby the outputs of the system are compared in real-time with the reference, and the errors are processed to compute updates of the manipulated system inputs.

Control systems are often a 'hidden technology' and exist all around us, and are often a key aspect of many of the devices and products that we rely upon. For example, control systems are a vital 'component' in hard disk drives, aircraft, communications devices, robots, chemical plants, space exploration, motors and drives, and land vehicles.