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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 a 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 SSE students at the Junior / Sophomore level and to general SSE 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.



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


Laplace transform, differential equations, programming in MATLAB and C.


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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