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Controller




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In control theory, a controller is a device which monitors and affects the operational conditions of a given dynamical system. The operational conditions are typically referred to as output variables of the system which can be affected by adjusting certain input variables. For example, the heating system of a house can be equipped with a thermostat (controller) for sensing air temperature (output variable) which can turn on or off a furnace or heater when the air temperature becomes too low or too high.

In this example, the thermostat is the controller and directs the activities of the heater. The heater is the processor that warms the air inside the house to the desired temperature (setpoint). The air temperature reading inside the house is the feedback. And finally, the house is the environment in which the heating system operates.

The notion of controllers can be extended to more complex systems. In the natural world, individual organisms also appear to be equipped with controllers that assure the homeostasis necessary for survival of each individual. Both human-made and natural systems exhibit collective behaviors among individuals in which the controllers seek some form of equilibrium.

 







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