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Control Engineering for Environment and Sustainability


Dr. Abubakr Muhammad, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering

Email: abubakr [at] lums.edu.pk

Course Description

In Spring 2015, we underwent an interesting and unusual experiment in our EE curriculum, where in an introductory control engineering course (EE-361) we exposed our undergraduate students to issues of environment and sustainability. Designed as a series of 50 min recitations, we exposed students to contextual and societal issues in water, agriculture, disease etc., even while the content has strong example-based connections to the main text. Large parts of the lectures are accessible to engineering students at the Junior / Sophomore level and to general science & engineering faculty.


EE361 Sec 1. Monday 11:30am. Venue. A4 EE361 Sec 2. Thurs. 9:30am. Venue. 10-301.

General Objectives

  • Introduce environmental issues and concepts of sustainability.
  • How to connect technology to the real-world and solve societal grand challenges.
  • An accessible introduction to cutting-edge research.
  • Underline the importance of paying attention to the 'Right Problems!'
  • Demonstrate how student involvement helps develop high impact research.
  • Introduce students to the general issues of water and agriculture in Pakistan.
  • Identify future areas of research and study.

Specific Objectives

  • Introduce students to applications of control & robotics in everyday life.
  • Demonstrate how to model complex systems like water and select appropriate abstraction and detail.
  • Connect textbook knowledge of signals and systems to real-life control engineering.
  • Present examples of single-input single-output linear control design in complex scenarios.


Courses EE-310. Signals and Systems EE-361. Feedback Control Systems

Topics Laplace transform, differential equations, basic signals & systems


Week 1. January 24 Jan 25. Classes begin. Lecture 1. Introduction to concepts of control, feedback, feedforward, uncertainty and robustness; Franklin Ch1; Astrom Ch.1;
Week 2. January 31 Feb 1. Add/drop with full refund; Feb 5. Kashmir Day. Lecture 2. advantages of feedback control; process, plant, sensor, actuator, control and disturbance; cruise control example;

Lecture 3. Dynamical models; cruise control example revisited; introduction to On-Off and PID controllers

Lecture 4. Review of Laplace transforms; impulse response; convolution;

Lab 1. Introduction to SIMULINK environment and real-time data acquisition.

Franklin Ch 2, Appendix A; Astrom Ch 1;
Week 3. February 7 Feb 10. Second payment deadline Lecture 5. Block diagrams; modeling examples; electromechanical systems;

Lecture 6. Uses of feedback; robustness against parameter variation; creating inversion via feedback;

Lab 2. Modeling systems and control in SIMULINK. Cruise control and water tank systems.

Franklin Ch 2; Oppenheim Sec 11.2;
Week 4. February 14 Feb 16. Eid Milad-un-Nabi Lecture 7. Second order models of electrical and mechanical systems; rational transfer functions; poles and zeros;

Lecture 8. Dynamic response. Unit impulse, step and ramp responses of first order systems; impulse and unit responses of second order system; damping ratio, natural frequency, Q-factor of 2nd order systems; effects of pole positions in the complex plane;

Lecture 9. Modeling examples; Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM); voltage clamp in neuroscience; internet congestion control (TCP).

Franklin Ch 3; Astrom Ch 2,3;

Extras. Hodgkin Huxley Model; Slides on AFM.

Week 5. February 21

Lecture 10. Control specifications via rise time, overshoots, settling time; Meeting control specifications via a second order response;

Lecture 11. Internal stability and BIBO stability; stability of LTI systems; Effects of Zeros on response; Pole-Zero cancellation.

Lab 3. Position control of a DC motor.

Franklin Ch 3;
Week 6. February 28 March 1. Drop with penalty

Lecture 12. Routh's criterion for stability; examples on computing Routh's array. Examples on using Routh's criterion;

Lecture 13. Errors in open loop and closed loop control; Robustness against disturbances; Bode's sensitivity function; Watt's problem of disturbance rejection.

Lab 3 (contd.) Position control of a DC motor.

Franklin Ch3, 4;

Extras. Proof of Routh-Hurtwitz

Week 7. March 7 Lecture 14. Bode's sensitivity function; Black's feedback amplifier design problem; comparing open loop and feedback topologies;

Lecture 15 compensating steady state errors; systems types.

Lab 4. Digital control of an HVAC-like thermal system.

Franklin Ch4.
Week 8. March 14 Midterm exams

Lecture 16. Dynamic errors; PID control; Limitations of P, PI, PD controllers; Introduction to root locus design;

Lecture 17. Motivational examples; MATLAB commands for drawing root-locus; general properties of root loci;

Midterm Exam.

Franklin Ch4, 5; Astrom 10.1;
Week 9. March 21 Mid semester break
Week 10. March 28 Lecture 18. Examples of design using root locus; effects of additional poles and zeros;

Lecture 19. introduction to dynamic compensation;

Lab 5. Anti windup in controller design.

Franklin Ch 5;
Week 11. April 4 Lecture 20. Examples of root-locus design;

Lecture 21. Lead, lag and notch compensators using root locus.

Lab 6. Digital speed control of DC motor.

Franklin Ch 5;
Week 12. April 11 Lecture 22. Frequency domain design methods; Frequency response of a control system; bandwidth; Overshoots

Lecture 23. Frequency response (contd.); Second order systems; Bode plots; Neutral stability

Lab 7. Discrete-time controller implementation.

Franklin Ch 6;
Week 13. April 18 Lecture 24. Cauchy's residue theorem; Encirclement property

Lecture 25. Argument principle; Nyquist plots; Examples

Lab 8. Practical system identification.

Franklin Ch 6;
Week 14. April 25 Lecture 26. Gain and Phase Margins; Frequency based control design basics

Lecture 27. Minimum phase systems; Bode's gain-phase relationship; PD control re-interpreted;

Lab 9. Inverted pendulum stabilization using state space methods.

Franklin Ch 6;
Week 15. May 2 Lecture 28. PD control by lead compensation; design examples

Lecture 29. PI control; lag compensation; lag-lead compensation; PID control

Lab 10. Case Study on Control System Design.

Franklin Ch 6;
Week 16. May 9 May 9. Last day of classes; May 10-11. Reading and Reviewing period; May 12-18. Final Exams.
Week 17. May 16 May 14-21. Final Exams
Week 18. May 23 May 19-27. Semester break; May 31. Final grades submission
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