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'Control, Control, You Must Learn Control'

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William K.
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But you must start at the beginning, not the end
William K.   5/26/2014 9:25:00 PM
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I find the assertion that engineers are not being taught the math and physics basics to be interesting since each of the three engineering schools that I attended had both as requirements and prerequisites for the engineering classes. It would be possible to develop an understanding of circuit theory and practice without much knowledge of physics, and I have met such folks, graduates who are experts in a very narrow field. But really, to be a good engineer one does need a good grasp of both physics and thermodynamics, although not all of the math assocoiated with thermo. And for any part of engineering dealing with moving objects an understanding of kinematics is very handy.

The diagram with all of it's matrix terms, and few functional descriptions, does not show any equation. It shows a bunch of terms that could be used to possibly build an equation. Probably some simplification would happen in order to produce a manageable equation, though. One simplification that has worked fairly well for me is that most systems are fairly linear over some small range, and if a system is unstable over a small range then it will usually be unstable over a larger range. Because stability is important, that does allow checking for stability of a set of parameters with a bit less work. And it does not promise that a system that is stable over all of it's small sections will be stable over the whole range. This same simplification can include the non-linear sections as well, if enough data is available. Of course it can be a tedious approach, but it can provide ealy information about what will not work. Knowing what won't work is quite handy.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: need more control education
Cabe Atwell   4/30/2014 6:45:39 PM
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Yeah but Yoda dies in the episode IV, that being said, I agree with alanpatrick61. Without understanding the fundamentals then the newer tools become almost pointless. 

naperlou
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Re: need more control education
naperlou   4/22/2014 11:49:41 AM
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alanpatrick61, yes, I meant to.  I was trying to contrast what was done in the past, in terms of specialization, with what the article was advocating.  Thanks for picking that up.

alanpatrick61
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Iron
Re: need more control education
alanpatrick61   4/22/2014 9:17:20 AM
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I think you inadvertantly make the Professor's point.  I work at a firm where use of the latest computer tools can lag a bit, but is encouraged.  Even so failure to understand what the model is telling you and evaluate it based on a thorough knowledge of the basics continues to generate re-work and re-adjustment especially when you have to integrate computer based applications w/ more traditional controls operating higher static and dynamic loads.

naperlou
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need more control education
naperlou   4/18/2014 1:34:44 PM
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Kevin, in my experience in the aerospace industry, we had a whole separate group of controls engineers.  Then, the software engineers took the equations and algorithms and turned them into very compact code.  The later was necessary because the processors were not very powerful.  I got into it just as digital control systems were coming into their own.  The previous systems were analog.  Fast, but hard to program and tune.

Now, we can get processors, inquantity, that cost $50 to $1.  Many have built in FFT instrustions.  They also have built in A/D and D/A.  It is a brave new world.

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