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Control Engineering - The Hidden Technology

Karl Johan Åström

The field of automatic control is about 60 years old. It has developed very rapidly and control is now ubiquitous. This paper presents some reflections on the dynamic development of the field. It starts with a brief history and a discussion of engineering science and natural science. Automatic control being the first systems field was a paradigm shift because it fitted poorly in organizations based on mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering. Key ideas in the development of Control are presented. The interplay of theory and applications are discussed as are relations to specific engineering disciplines, mathematics, physics, computer science and biology. An attempt is made to assess the current status of the field and the lecture ends with some speculations about future development. Questions dealing with research, education and applications will be covered.

Last modified: 9 June 2004, 14:46 UTC
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