The central theme of this book is continuous-time control; however we also treat digital control in detail, because most modern control systems will usually be implemented on some form of computer hardware. This approach inevitably led to a book of larger volume than originally intended, but one with the advantage of providing a comprehensive treatment within an integrated framework. Naturally, there remain specialized topics that are not covered in the book; however, we trust that we provide a sufficiently strong foundation so that the reader can comfortably turn to the study of appropriate complementary literature.
Design is a complex process, one that requires judgment and iteration. The design problem normally is incompletely specified, sometimes is ill-defined, and many times is without solution. A key element in design is an understanding of those factors that limit the achievable performance. This naturally leads to a viewpoint of control design that takes account of these fundamental limitations. This viewpoint is a recurring theme throughout the book.
Our objective is not to explore the full depth of mathematical completeness but instead to give enough detail so that a reader can begin applying the ideas as soon as possible. This approach is connected to our assumption that readers will have ready access to modern computational facilities, including the software package MATLAB-SIMULINK. This assumption allows us to put the emphasis on fundamental ideas rather than on the tools. Every chapter includes worked examples and problems for the reader.