Control engineering

Control engineering or Control systems engineering is the engineering discipline that applies control theory to design systems with predictable behaviors. The practice uses sensors to measure the output performance of the device being controlled (often a vehicle) and those measurements can be used to give feedback to the input actuators that can make corrections toward desired performance. When a device is designed to perform without the need of human inputs for correction it is called automatic control (such as cruise control for regulating a car's speed). Multidisciplinary in nature, control systems engineering activities focus on implementation of control systems mainly derived by mathematical modeling of systems of a diverse range.
Contents
Overview
Modern day control engineering (also called control systems engineering) is a relatively new field of study that gained a significant attention during 20th century with the advancement in technology. It can be broadly defined as practical application of control theory. Control engineering has an essential role in a wide range of control systems, from simple household washing machines to highperformance F16 fighter aircraft. It seeks to understand physical systems, using mathematical modeling, in terms of inputs, outputs and various components with different behaviors; use control systems design tools to develop controllers for those systems; and implement controllers in physical systems employing available technology. A system can be mechanical, electrical, fluid, chemical, financial and even biological, and the mathematical modeling, analysis and controller design uses control theory in one or many of the time, frequency and complexs domains, depending on the nature of the design problem.
History
Automatic control Systems were first developed over two thousand years ago. The first feedback control device on record is thought to be the ancient Ktesibios's water clock in Alexandria, Egypt around the third century B.C. It kept time by regulating the water level in a vessel and, therefore, the water flow from that vessel. This certainly was a successful device as water clocks of similar design were still being made in Baghdad when the Mongols captured the city in 1258 A.D. A variety of automatic devices have been used over the centuries to accomplish useful tasks or simply to just entertain. The latter includes the automata, popular in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, featuring dancing figures that would repeat the same task over and over again; these automata are examples of openloop control. Milestones among feedback, or "closedloop" automatic control devices, include the temperature regulator of a furnace attributed to Drebbel, circa 1620, and the centrifugal flyball governor used for regulating the speed of steam engines by James Watt in 1788.
In his 1868 paper "On Governors", J. C. Maxwell (who discovered the Maxwell electromagnetic field equations) was able to explain instabilities exhibited by the flyball governor using differential equations to describe the control system. This demonstrated the importance and usefulness of mathematical models and methods in understanding complex phenomena, and signaled the beginning of mathematical control and systems theory. Elements of control theory had appeared earlier but not as dramatically and convincingly as in Maxwell's analysis.
Control theory made significant strides in the next 100 years. New mathematical techniques made it possible to control, more accurately, significantly more complex dynamical systems than the original flyball governor. These techniques include developments in optimal control in the 1950s and 1960s, followed by progress in stochastic, robust, adaptive and optimal control methods in the 1970s and 1980s. Applications of control methodology have helped make possible space travel and communication satellites, safer and more efficient aircraft, cleaner auto engines, cleaner and more efficient chemical processes, to mention but a few.
Before it emerged as a unique discipline, control engineering was practiced as a part of mechanical engineering and control theory was studied as a part of electrical engineering, since electrical circuits can often be easily described using control theory techniques. In the very first control relationships, a current output was represented with a voltage control input. However, not having proper technology to implement electrical control systems, designers left with the option of less efficient and slow responding mechanical systems. A very effective mechanical controller that is still widely used in some hydro plants is the governor. Later on, previous to modern power electronics, process control systems for industrial applications were devised by mechanical engineers using pneumatic and hydraulic control devices, many of which are still in use today.
Control theory
Main article: Control TheoryThere are two major divisions in control theory, namely, classical and modern, which have direct implications over the control engineering applications. The scope of classical control theory is limited to singleinput and singleoutput (SISO) system design. The system analysis is carried out in time domain using differential equations, in complexs domain with Laplace transform or in frequency domain by transforming from the complexs domain. All systems are assumed to be second order and single variable, and higherorder system responses and multivariable effects are ignored. A controller designed using classical theory usually requires onsite tuning due to design approximations. Yet, due to easier physical implementation of classical controller designs as compared to systems designed using modern control theory, these controllers are preferred in most industrial applications. The most common controllers designed using classical control theory are PID controllers.
In contrast, modern control theory is carried out in the state space, and can deal with multiinput and multioutput (MIMO) systems. This overcomes the limitations of classical control theory in more sophisticated design problems, such as fighter aircraft control. In modern design, a system is represented as a set of first order differential equations defined using state variables. Nonlinear, multivariable, adaptive and robust control theories come under this division. Being fairly new, modern control theory has many areas yet to be explored. Scholars like Rudolf E. Kalman and Aleksandr Lyapunov are wellknown among the people who have shaped modern control theory.
Control systems
Control engineering is the engineering discipline that focuses on the modeling of a diverse range of dynamic systems (e.g. mechanical systems) and the design of controllers that will cause these systems to behave in the desired manner. Although such controllers need not be electrical many are and hence control engineering is often viewed as a subfield of electrical engineering. However, the falling price of microprocessors is making the actual implementation of a control system essentially trivial^{[citation needed]}. As a result, focus is shifting back to the mechanical engineering discipline, as intimate knowledge of the physical system being controlled is often desired.
Electrical circuits, digital signal processors and microcontrollers can all be used to implement Control systems. Control engineering has a wide range of applications from the flight and propulsion systems of commercial airliners to the cruise control present in many modern automobiles.
In most of the cases, control engineers utilize feedback when designing control systems. This is often accomplished using a PID controller system. For example, in an automobile with cruise control the vehicle's speed is continuously monitored and fed back to the system, which adjusts the motor's torque accordingly. Where there is regular feedback, control theory can be used to determine how the system responds to such feedback. In practically all such systems stability is important and control theory can help ensure stability is achieved.
Although feedback is an important aspect of control engineering, control engineers may also work on the control of systems without feedback. This is known as open loop control. A classic example of open loop control is a washing machine that runs through a predetermined cycle without the use of sensors.
Control engineering education
At many universities, control engineering courses are taught in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechatronics Engineering, Mechanical engineering, and Aerospace engineering; in others it is connected to computer science, as most control techniques today are implemented through computers, often as Embedded systems (as in the automotive field). The field of control within chemical engineering is often known as process control. It deals primarily with the control of variables in a chemical process in a plant. It is taught as part of the undergraduate curriculum of any chemical engineering program, and employs many of the same principles in control engineering. Other engineering disciplines also overlap with control engineering, as it can be applied to any system for which a suitable model can be derived.
Control engineering has diversified applications that include science, finance management, and even human behavior. Students of control engineering may start with a linear control system course dealing with the time and complexs domain, which requires a thorough background in elementary mathematics and Laplace transform (called classical control theory). In linear control, the student does frequency and time domain analysis. Digital control and nonlinear control courses require z transformation and algebra respectively, and could be said to complete a basic control education. From here onwards there are several sub branches.
Recent advancement
Originally, control engineering was all about continuous systems. Development of computer control tools posed a requirement of discrete control system engineering because the communications between the computerbased digital controller and the physical system are governed by a computer clock. The equivalent to Laplace transform in the discrete domain is the ztransform. Today many of the control systems are computer controlled and they consist of both digital and analog components.
Therefore, at the design stage either digital components are mapped into the continuous domain and the design is carried out in the continuous domain, or analog components are mapped in to discrete domain and design is carried out there. The first of these two methods is more commonly encountered in practice because many industrial systems have many continuous systems components, including mechanical, fluid, biological and analog electrical components, with a few digital controllers.
Similarly, the design technique has progressed from paperandruler based manual design to computeraided design, and now to computerautomated design (CAutoD), which has been made possible by evolutionary computation. CAutoD can be applied not just to tuning a predefined control scheme, but also to controller structure optimisation, system identification and invention of novel control systems, based purely upon a performance requirement, independent of any specific control scheme.^{[1]}^{[2]}
See also
 Adaptive control
 Building Automation
 Coefficient diagram method
 Computerautomated design (CAutoD, CAutoCSD)
 Control reconfiguration
 Control theory
 Feedback
 H infinity
 Intelligent control
 Laplace transform
 List of control engineering topics
 Model predictive control
 Nonlinear control
 Optimal control
 PID controller
 Power grid optimization and complex systems
 Process control
 Quantitative feedback theory
 Robotic unicycle
 Robust control
 Servomechanism
 State space
 Testing controller
 VisSim
 Control Engineering (magazine)
 EICASLAB
Literature
 Christopher Kilian (2005). Modern Control Technology. Thompson Delmar Learning. ISBN 1401858066.
 Arnold Zankl (2006). Milestones in Automation: From the Transistor to the Digital Factory. WileyVCH. ISBN 3895782599.
References
 ^ Tan, K.C. and Li, Y. (2001) Performancebased control system design automation via evolutionary computing. Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence, 14 (4). pp. 473486. ISSN 09521976, http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/3807/
 ^ Li, Y., et al. (2004). CAutoCSD  Evolutionary search and optimisation enabled computer automated control system design. International Journal of Automation and Computing, 1(1). pp.7688. ISSN 17518520, http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/3818/
External links
Categories: Electrical engineering
 Control engineering
 Systems engineering
 Engineering disciplines
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