Technical Report

Computer Control: An Overview

Björn Wittenmark, Karl Johan Åström, Karl-Erik Årzén


Computer control is entering all facets of life from home electronics to production of different products and material. Many of the computers are embedded and thus ``hidden´´ for the user. In many situations it is not necessary to know anything about computer control or real-time systems to implement a simple controller. There are, however, many situations where the result will be much better when the sampled-data aspects of the system are taken into consideration when the controller is designed. Also, it is very important that the real-time aspects are regarded. The real-time system influences the timing in the computer and can thus minimize latency and delays in the feedback controller.

The paper introduces different aspects of computer-controlled systems from simple approximation of continuous time controllers to design aspects of optimal sampled-data controllers. We also point out some of the pitfalls of computer control and discusses the practical aspects as well as the implementation issues of computer control.

Published as a Professional Briefs by IFAC.

Technical Report IFAC Professional Brief, January 2002.

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