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Automatic control into perspective

“Closed-loop is an old idea, but closed-loop control is a recent domain” It was with this sentence that began an impressive overview published for the 50th anniversary of ‘Automatica’ journal, a reference in the sector.

 

Written by K. J. Åström and P. R. Kumar, the article titled “Control: a perspective” synthesizes automation history, providing readers with an outlook of closed-loop control. To describe the changes in this domain, they chose the years 1940, 1960 and 2000 as pivotal years to separate and cover four periods. Authors underline the interactions between industry, applications, technologies, theory and research starting with the centrifugal governor and ending with the growing impact of automatic control in fields like biology or medicine.

Automatic control is a key element in a wide range of applications, involved in every device in the modern world. Control theory is also a very deep field, linked to a large variety of mathematics, and sometimes contributing to the development of new mathematical disciplines: complex analysis, differential equations, optimization or graph theory. It is the reason why automatic control is currently one of the most ‘mathematized’ fields of engineering.

The curious reader can find out about the thrilling history of this domain, called by some “the hidden technology”, at the following link: http://dso.sjtu.edu.cn/fileupload/LIBRARYINFO/pdf/140924212621.pdf

 

Petru-Daniel Moroşan, April 2015