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Published October 2004 | Published
Journal Article Open

A new approach to teaching feedback


The Control and Dynamical Systems (CDS) Department at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has revised its entry-level curriculum in dynamics, feedback, and control with the goals of updating the subject matter to include modern tools and making control tools accessible to a nontraditional audience. One of the approaches made was to divide the introductory control theory class into two tracks, with a conceptual track geared toward students who need only a conceptual overview of control tools and an analytical track providing a more detailed mathematical treatment of feedback. The conceptual track, CDS 101, which is mainly discussed in the paper, is intended for advanced students in science and engineering who can benefit from an overview of control techniques but who might not have the need for the mathematical depth underlying the material. Special attention is paid to ensuring that the course is accessible to students from biological, physical, and information sciences, using examples from these domains to illustrate concepts. The goal of the course is to enable students to use the principles and tools of feedback in their research activities.

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© 2004 IEEE. Reprinted with permission. Posted online: 2004-10-04

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