Controls in an age of complexity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


While talk of complexity is rife, it is in the area of control and automation that a practice of complexity is urgently needed. It is one matter to analyze the increasing complexity of systems or phenomena of interest; it is another matter entirely to 'close the loop' on such systems. Indeed, the complexity of control solutions can increase disproportionately to the complexity of the target system. I will first discuss in general the changed nature of control and automation today. Next, some of the sources of complexity are identified, including nonlinearities, couplings, the large scale nature of the problems of interest, the desire for autonomy in control systems, fast time to market demands, streamlined organizations, safety and environmental considerations, etc. Several approaches are being suggested for 'complexity management', ranging from formal methods to computer aided design and analysis to biologically inspired algorithms to chaos theory. At this stage of our understanding, asking the right questions is as important as suggesting answers, multidisciplinary syntheses are critically needed, and technologies and their applications must be seen as inextricably linked.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIEEE Conference on Control Applications - Proceedings
Number of pages1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998
EventProceedings of the 1998 IEEE International Conference on Control Applocations. Part 1 (of 2) - Trieste, Italy
Duration: Sep 1 1998Sep 4 1998


OtherProceedings of the 1998 IEEE International Conference on Control Applocations. Part 1 (of 2)
CityTrieste, Italy


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