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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Essentials of Control Techniques and Theory
Article Type: Bookreview From: Sensor Review, Volume 30, Issue 4
John BillingsleyCRC PressBoca Raton, FLNovember 10, 2009339 pagesISBN: 9781420091236$89.95www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/
Likely the most entertaining technical book on control systems to appear in the past decade, Billingsley’s book takes the reader on an enjoyable journey that touches on virtually all aspects of control theory. Aimed at the practicing control engineer as well as the control scientist who aspires to apply the power of feedback control to real situations, he describes in this CRC Press book an amazing array of “need to know” and “ought to know” topics with 22 chapters in 150 sections and 325 pages. His rapid-fire style moves quickly from topic to topic, leaving the reader with key nuggets of advice for feedback applications and little time to ponder what might be coming next along the pathway from introductory classical control to a brief description of optimal control in the final chapter.
The author deserves extremely high marks based on several criteria:
his background in academia and as a practicing engineer, impressive with a wide variety of control applications from grading broccoli heads to counting macadamia nuts;
his philosophy on the power of simulation as a platform to support and verify controller development;
his modeling of control systems as continuous-time and discrete-time processes;
his use of robust control design to satisfy system sensitivity requirements; and
his recognition of both deterministic and stochastic control implications in realistic applications.
A main concern is how much of the book should properly be devoted to the computing platform and which of those details should be replaced with more detailed descriptions of other control topics. The present balance is arguably appropriate, especially since the reader should not expect to become an expert from this one-time reading meant to be a carefully crafted journey through key control topics. Primarily, the book should appeal as a motivation to both beginning and experienced control engineers, to students who have only recently completed control courses, and to those in academia seeking a comprehensive overview of the control field. While supporting the design of useful controllers, the book alone does not give enough information for readers to be able to develop a substantial expertise and for them subsequently to convince clients or employers that they indeed are experts as control engineers. To develop credentials that qualify one to be designated an expert requires a much deeper understanding of controller design and associated experience with implementations than can possibly be provided in a brief motivational book.
This book deserves a place on every engineer’s bookshelf as a highly motivational work that describes the philosophy and overview of feedback control as an essential tool in the design of engineering systems.
James R. RowlandEECS Department, University of Kansas, Kansas, MO, USA