You are here : Control System Design - Index | Book Contents | Chapter 1 | Section 1.5

1. The Excitement of Control Engineering

1.5.8 Algorithms

Finally, we come to the real heart of control engineering--the algorithms that connect the sensors to the actuators. It is all to easy to underestimate this final aspect of the problem.

As a simple example from the reader's everyday experience, consider the problem of playing tennis at top international level. One can readily accept that one needs good eyesight (sensors) and strong muscles (actuators) to play tennis at this level, but these attributes are not sufficient. Indeed, eye--hand coordination (i.e., control) is also crucial to success.

Thus beyond sensors and actuators, the control engineer has to be concerned with the science of dynamics and feedback control. These topics will actually be the central theme of the remainder of this book. As one of our colleagues put it: Sensors provide the eyes and actuators the muscle, but control science provides the finesse.