This is an interactive course about the basic concepts of Systems, Control and their impact in all the human activities. First, the basic concepts of systems, dynamics, structure and control are introduced. Looking at many examples in Nature and human made devices, we realize that the dynamic behavior of most systems can be modified by adding a control system. How to evaluate the dynamic behavior of a system and measure its performance will provide the tools to design new controlled systems fulfilling some requirements. By considering which are the benefits of the control and the challenges for the future will open the mind to tackle new applications and develop new scenarios from the micro-systems level to the common systems and the whole universe. An overview of the techniques available for a deeper introduction to the subject will be presented at the end.
What do I need to know?
In this course, maths are avoided as much as possible and most of the concepts are explained by words, but the generic concepts of operators and relationships between variables are used through the course. A basic and general knowledge of physics will help to understand some phenomena but it is not mandatory. The teacher is co-author of an introductory book on the subject, Feedback and control for everyone published by Springer in 2010.
What will I learn ?
Control technology is said to be a hidden technology. We do not notice it under normal operation, but it appears if a failure happens. Looking around in Nature and at human made devices, we realize that their behavior presents analogies and that we can manipulate their temporal evolution. Characterizing the dynamic behavior of systems and the possibility to change it by introducing control devices is the main aim of the course. You will learn to analyze the dynamic properties of a system and the options to change its behavior according to some requirements. You will learn the basic concepts to undertake further studies in control engineering and its use in a variety of disciplines, from human and social sciences to any engineering field.