CDS Lecture Series Friday, November 30, 2001, 2:00 p.m.

P. S. Krishnaprasad
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Institute for Systems Research
University of Maryland at College Park

Temporal Patterns in Control

In this informal talk we revisit some recurrent themes in control theory. In systems with few controls and many state variables, one common mechanism for steering it to set up temporal patterns in the control signals. Nonlinear control theory "explains" this in the language of Lie brackets, averaging, geometric phases and such. Apparently, in biological locomotion, the relevant principles have come to life over many millions of years with remarkable consistency. However, our understanding of the subtle interplay of mechanics and control for efficient exploitation of temporal patterns is more recent. We suggest that both the lamprey and the roller racer have much to teach us in this regard.

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