Automatic Control

Faculty of Engineering, LTH

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Course Program

Real-time systems are characterized by the fact that it is not only the result of the calculation that is of importance but also the time when the result is available. A computer used for controlling a process is a good example of a real-time system. It must operate in a time-scale that is determined by the time scale of the process. At the same time, it should be reactive to external events, often with time constraints on the reaction time. Two classes of computer control systems are generic industrial control systems and embedded control systems found in, e.g., aerospace applications, industrial robots, or autonomous vehicles.



Slides are handed out at the lectures, and available online on the Lectures page.

Lecture Date Time Room Topic Lecturer
L1 2020-01-21 10-12 M:B Introduction Karl-Erik and Martina
LX 2020-01-22 15-17 M:2112B Extra: Introduction to Java Martina
L2 2020-01-23 10-12 M:B Concurrent programming Martina
L3 2020-01-24 08-10 M:B Process Communication #1 Martina
L4 2020-01-28 10-12 M:B Process Communication #2 Martina
L5 2020-01-31 08-10 M:B Interrupts and Time Martina
L6 2020-02-04 10-12 M:B Sampling of Linear Systems Martina
L7 2020-02-06 10-12 M:E Input-Output Models Martina
L8 2020-02-11 10-12 M:B Approximation of Analog Controllers, PID Martina
L9 2020-02-13 10-12 M:E State Feedback and Observers Martina
L10 2020-02-18 10-12 M:B Feedforward Design Martina
L11 2020-02-20 10-12 M:E Implementation Aspects Martina
L12 2020-02-25 10-12 M:B Scheduling Theory Martina
L13 2020-02-27 10-12 M:E Project Specifications Karl-Erik
L14 2020-03-05 10-12 M:E Discrete-Event Control Martina
L15 2020-03-10 10-12 M:E Real-Time Networks Martina
L16 2020-03-26 15-17 M:E CANCELLED: Hot Research Topics Martina
LY 2020-04-02 15-17 M:E Repetition Lecture Martina
L17 2020-05-25 15-17 M:E Project Demos and Oral Presentations Martina


There are two parallel exercise tracks: five computer exercises (C), starting in study week 2, and six problem-solving exercises (P), starting in study week 3. All exercises are held during study period 3 except the two last problem-solving exercises which are held at the beginning of study period 4. In addition, there are two extra exercises: one on basic Java programming and one basic Matlab exercise. Instructions and files for the computer exercises are found on the Exercises page.

For the ordinary computer exercises, there are three exercise groups. Similarly, there are three or two exercise groups for the problem-solving exercises. In order for us to balance the load in the exercise groups, you must pre-register for the exercise groups. The link for doing this will be made available at the course start and announced on the website. All exercises are held in Automatic Control Lab A on the first floor of the M-building.

Computer Exercises Responsibility

  • Nils Vreman: exercise sessions on Tuesdays 15-17.
  • Gautham Nayak Seetanadi: exercise sessions on Wednesdays 10-12.
  • Claudio Mandrioli: exercise sessions on Wednesdays 13-15.

Problem Solving Exercises Responsibility

  • Gautham Nayak Seetanadi: exercise sessions on Wednesdays 08-10.
  • Claudio Mandrioli: exercise sessions on Thursdays 08-10.
  • Nils Vreman: exercise sessions on Fridays 10-12.
Exercise Date Topic
C0 2020-01-27 (13.00-15.00) Extra: Introduction to Java
C1 2020-01-28; 2020-01-29 Threads
C2 2020-02-04; 2020-02-05 Synchronization
C3 2020-02-11; 2019-02-12 Controller Implementation
C4 2020-02-18; 2020-02-19 Graphical User Interface
C5 2020-02-25; 2020-02-26 Preparation for Laboratory #1
Exercise Date Topic
P0 2020-01-29; 2020-01-30; 2020-01-31 Extra: Introduction to Matlab
P1 2020-02-05; 2020-02-06; 2020-02-07 Sampling of Systems
P2 2020-02-12; 2020-02-13; 2020-02-14 Input-Output Models
P3 2020-02-19; 2020-02-20; 2020-02-21 State Feedback and Observers
P4 2020-02-26; 2020-02-27; 2020-02-28 Discrete Approximation, PID
P5 2020-03-24; 2020-03-26 Fixed-Point Implementation
P6 2020-03-31; 2020-04-02 Scheduling Theory

Laboratory Sessions

The course contains three 4-hour laboratory sessions. Lab 1 will take place during weeks 6 and 7 of study period 3. Labs 2 and 3 will take place during weeks 8 of study period 3 and weeks 1 and 2 of study period 4. Electronic sign-up lists will be posted approximately two weeks before each lab starts. Instructions and sign-up lists are found on the Laboratory Sessions page.

Lab Dates Topic Sign-up Responsible
Lab1 March (beginning) Control of Ball-and-Beam Febraury (beginning) Nils Vreman
Lab2 March (mid) Sequence Control of Bead-Sorter Febraury (mid) Gautham Nayak Seetanadi
Lab3 March (end) Embedded Control of Rotating DC Servo Febraury (end) Claudio Mandrioli


The projects are performed as team-work with the size of four persons per team (in special cases it is OK with smaller project teams). Constraints on hardware, processes, and supervisors require synchronization among the projects. If you are following the Predictive Control course it will be possible to do a joint project between the courses.

Important Dates

  • 2020-02-27: Presentation of available projects (L13)
  • 2020-03-05: Deadline for team composition and project selection
  • 2020-03-27: Deadline for the suggested solution document
  • 2020-05-18: Deadline for the project report and demonstration to supervisors
  • 2020-05-25: Project demos and oral presentations (L17, mandatory)


The reading material is sold by KF-Sigma. The 2014 versions of the books are very similar and also possible to use.

  • K.-E. Årzén, "Real-Time Control Systems" (2015 edition)
  • B. Wittenmark, K.J. Åström, K.-E. Årzén, "Computer Control: An Overview", Educational Version 2016
  • Exercises with solutions (2015 Version)


Mandatory parts: Three laboratory sessions, project, written exam (5 hours). Lectures 2–16 and the exercise sessions are not mandatory.

The exam consists of 25 points and gives the grade Fail, 3, 4, or 5.
Accepted aid: The textbooks Real-Time Control Systems and Computer Control: An Overview - Educational Version; standard mathematical tables, authorized "Real-Time Systems Formula Sheet”, authorized "Reglerteknik AK Formelsamling"; pocket calculator. Slides copies are not allowed.

Upcoming exam dates:

  • 2020-04-24, 8-13: Victoriastadion 1A, 1B
    (responsible person: Claudio Mandrioli)
  • 2020-05-30, 8-13: Sparta:B
    (responsible person: Gautham Nayak Seetanadi)
  • 2019-08-27, 8-13: MA 10F
    (responsible person: Nils Vreman)
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