Rufus Oldenburger

  • Optimal and Self-Optimizing Control

    Rufus Oldenburger

    Although the area of optimal and self-optimizing control is relatively new (the fundamental papers collected in this volume were all published after 1950), this domain of control now dominates the whole field. Most of the work has been done in the Soviet Union and the United States, and the volume of papers pertaining to it has grown at a rapidly increasing rate; yet until now there has been no single source to which the researcher could go to learn about these major developments. Each researcher was required to seek out and select from the literature before proceeding with his own work. In order to give a more stabilized direction to the movement of research, Professor Oldenburger made a careful study of over 300 articles, from which he selected 38 of the most significant for this volume—thus providing an “instant library” from which the scientist or engineer may obtain an over-all picture of early and recent aspects of this area of automatic control. It is hoped that this collection will help swing the balance toward a healthier equilibrium between theory and application, since, at present, theoretical contributions are being submitted much more rapidly than they can be utilized in practice.

    Prior to the advent of optimal and adaptive control, the field of automatic control was largely restricted to qualitative design considerations. Because optimum performance can generally be obtained only by using nonlinear devices, whose mathematical descriptions until recent years were partial or unwieldy, the automatic controller was forced to limit his investigations of optimality to systems that approximated nonlinear behavior through the combination of linear models. Recent work in optimal control may be said to have been inspired by two developments of the 1940s: in theory, by Norbert Wiener's solution of the problem of the optimum filtering of noise; and in practice, by Professor Oldenburger's discovery of the optimum control transients for aircraft engine-propeller systems, by which engine speed can be held constant in the face of disturbances. Since that time, research has proliferated in so many directions that for the purposes of this volume an arrangement by category rather than by chronology seemed more appropriate.

    Part I is devoted to optimum control with unbounded inputs. Work was initiated on this problem long before systems with bounded inputs were studied. Part II is concerned with the optimal control of systems with bounded inputs where the aim is to keep the error in a controlled variable at a minimum. Part III concerns systems with bounded inputs for which a functional is minimized. Examples of such a functional are time, fuel, and terminal error. The work cited here was largely inspired by the maximum principle, the introduction of which by L. S. Pontryagin in 1957 stimulated much fundamental research. Part IV is devoted to papers in which statistical methods are employed. Part V concerns self-optimization control and belongs in the area of adaptive control where the controller must seek the maximum or the minimum of a function.

    Optimal and Self-Optimizing Control includes a few papers of historical as well as scientific interest, to give the reader a feeling for the logical motivation of the field, and contains articles on both theory and application. Since these papers cover the entire range from introductory to advanced mathematical treatment of the subject, they will serve as a comprehensive reference for elementary studies and as a broadly conceived text for graduate courses.

    • Hardcover $25.00
    • Paperback $8.50