CDS110 2016

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This is the course homepage for Caltech's CDS 101/110, Fall 2016.

Course Staff, Hours, Location

The course meets MWF 2-3 pm. All lectures will take place in Annenberg 105, except for 3 days (Oct. 7, Nov. 11, Nov. 18) during which lectures will take place in 102 Steele.

Position Name Office Office Hours (changing weekly) Email Phone
Instructor Joel Burdick 245 Gates-Thomas send mail for an appointment jwb at robotics dot caltech dot edu 626-395-4139
Teach Asst. Richard Cheng 205 Gates-Thomas Thurs 7-9pm (Annenberg 107) rcheng at caltech dot edu 626-395-????
Teach Asst. Yoke Peng Leong 230 Annenberg Wed 5-6pm, Thurs - 7-8pm (Annenberg 107) ypleong at caltech dot edu 626-395-????
Administrative Sonya Lincoln 250 Gates-Thomas 7:30am-noon; 1:00pm-4:30pm lincolns at caltech dot edu 626-395-3385


  • Dec. 5, 2016: The Final Exam is due Dec. 9 at 5:00. The instructions are on the first page

of the exam.

  • Nov. 18, 2016: Class will be held in Annenberg 105 (the normal class room), and NOT in Steele 102
  • NO CLASS: on Monday, November 14.
  • NOTE: On October 7, November 11, the course lectures will take place in 102 STEELE building.
  • OFFICE HOUR: On October 6, the office hour will be held at Annenberg 106. Office hour will be held at Annenberg 107 for the rest of the term.
  • MIDTERM WEEK: No office hour on Nov 2 and 3. Midterm review session is on Nov 2, 7pm at ANN 107.
  • HOMEWORK 5: There is a typo in first and second problems. The same problems are assigned on both. This homework will have one less problem, and you may treat the two same problems as one problem.
  • THANKSGIVING WEEK: Homework 7 is due on November 29. There will be no office hour on November 23 and 24. Office hour will be held in the evening of November 27 and 28 at 8.30pm - 10.00pm in Annenberg 107.
  • HOMEWORK 7: Homework 7 is now due on November 30. Problem 4 is 11.7 instead of 10.7.
  • LAST OFFICE HOUR: The last office hour of this term will be on Saturday (December 3) and Sunday (December 4) from 8pm-9pm. Location: ANN 107.

Lecture Schedule

The following is a tentative schedule for the class, based on previous years' experience.

Date Topic Reading Homework
Week 1

26 Sept
28 Sept
30 Sept.

Introduction and Review
  • Introduction to feedback and control
  • Review of differential equation and linear algebra
  • Feedback principles and examples
FBS-2e, Sections 1.1-1.5
Optional: FBS-2e, Sections 1.6-1.9;
FBS-2e 2.1-2.4
HomeWork 1
Due: 7 Oct, 5 pm

HW1 Solutions

Week 2

3 Oct
5 Oct
7 Oct

Modeling and Stability
  • Feedback principles (cont.), Modeling
  • Phase portraits and stability
  • Linearization around an equilibrium point
FBS-2e 2.1-2.4, 3.1
FBS-2e 3.1-3.2, 4.1, 5.1-5.3
HomeWork 2
Due: 14 Oct, 5 pm

HW2 Solutions

Week 3

10 Oct
12 Oct
14 Oct

Linear Systems
  • Input/output response of LTI systems
  • Matrix exponential, convolution equation
  • Introduction to MATLAB
FBS-2e 6.1-6.3 HomeWork 3
Due: Oct. 21, 5 pm

HW3 Solutions

Week 4

17 Oct
19 Oct
21 Oct

State Feedback
  • Reachability
  • State feedback and eigenvalue placement
FBS-2e 7.1-7.4 HomeWork 4
Due: Oct. 28, 5 pm
HW4 Solutions
Week 5

24 Oct
26 Oct
28 Oct

State space control design
  • Trajectory generation, feedforward
  • Integral feedback
  • State estimation (if time)
  • Midterm review
FBS-1e 7.1-7.3
FBS-2e 8.1-8.3
No Homework Handed out

Week 6

31 Oct
2 Nov
4 Nov

Observability wrap up
Transfer Functions
  • Frequency domain modeling
  • Block diagram algebra
  • Bode plots
FBS-1e 8.1-8.4
FBS-2e 9.1-9.4
Midterm exam; Due: 4 Nov, 5 pm
HomeWork 5
Due: 11 Nov, 5 pm
HW5 Solutions
Week 7

7 Nov
9 Nov
11 Nov

Loop Analysis
  • Loop transfer function, Nyquist Plot, and Nyquist criterion
  • Stability margins
FBS-2e 10.1-10.4 HomeWork 6
Due: 18 Nov, 5 pm
HW6 Solutions

Week 8

14 Nov
16 Nov
18 Nov

PID Control
  • Simple controllers for complex systems
  • Integral action and anti-windup
FBS-2e 11.1-11.4 HomeWork 7
Due: 30 Nov, 5 pm
HW7 Solutions
Week 9

21 Nov
23 Nov
Thanksgiving Holiday

Loop Shaping, I
  • Sensitivity functions
  • Feedback design via loop shaping
FBS-1e 12.1
FBS-2e 12.3-12.4
HomeWork 8
Due: 5 Dec, 5 pm
HW8 Solutions
Week 10

28 Nov
30 Nov.
2 Dec

Loop Shaping II
  • Fundamental limitations
  • Loop Shaping Examples
  • Final Exam Review
FBS-2e 12.6-12.7 Final exam
Due 5 pm on last day of Final Exam Period

Course Syllabus, Mechanics, and Grading

CDS 101/110 provides an introduction to feedback and control in physical, biological, engineering, and information sciences. The course will introduce students to the basic principles of feedback and its use as a tool for altering the dynamics of systems, meeting systems specifications, and managing system uncertainty. Key themes include: linear system theory input/output response, closed loop behavior, linear versus nonlinear models, and local versus global behavior.

CDS 101 is a 6 unit (2-0-4) class intended for science and engineering students who are interested in the principles and tools of feedback control, but not necessarily the engineering and analytical techniques for design and synthesis of control systems. CDS 110 is a 12 unit class (3-0-9) that provides a traditional first course in control for engineers and applied scientists. It assumes a working knowledge of linear algebra and ODEs as a prerequisite (e.g., as found in ACM 95). Familiarity with complex variables (Laplace transforms, residue theory) is helpful but not required. The basics of these topics will be reviewed during the course.

Course Text and References

The primary course text is

This book is available via the Caltech online bookstore or via download from the companion web site. Note that we will be using the second edition of this book, which is in a best-test preparation for publication. The reading assignments and problem numbers are based on this version of the book.

The following additional references may also be useful:

  • A. D. Lewis, A Mathematical Approach to Classical Control, 2003. Online access.
  • J. Distefano III, A. R. Stubberud and Ivan J. Williams (Author), Schaum's Outline of Feedback and Control Systems, 2nd Edition, 2013.
  • B. Friedland, Control System Design: An Introduction to State-Space Methods, McGraw-Hill, 1986.
  • G. F. Franklin, J. D. Powell, and A. Emami-Naeni, Feedback Control of Dynamic Systems, Addison-Wesley, 2002.


The final grade will be based on homework sets, a midterm exam, and a final exam:

  • Homework (60%): Homework sets will be handed out on an approximately weekly schedule. Problem sets are due at 5:00 pm. They can be handed in during class period, or in a box outside the office of Sonya Lincoln (250 Gates-Thomas). Each student is allowed up to automatic two extensions of 2 day each over the course of the term. MATLAB/Python code and SIMULINK/Modelica diagrams are considered part of your solution and should be printed and turned in with the problem set.
  • Midterm exam (10%): A midterm exam will be handed out at the beginning of midterms period (26 Oct) and due at the end of the midterm examination period (1 Nov). The midterm exam will be open book and computers will be allowed (though not necessarily required).
  • Final exam (30%): The final exam will be available at the beginning of the finals period, and due at the end of finals week. It will be an open book exam and computers will be allowed.

Collaboration Policy

Collaboration on homework assignments is encouraged. You may consult outside reference materials, other students, the TA, or the instructor, but you cannot consult homework solutions from prior years and you must cite any use of material from outside references. All solutions that are handed in should be written up individually and should reflect your own understanding of the subject matter at the time of writing. MATLAB/Python scripts and plots are considered part of your writeup and should be done individually (you can share ideas, but not code).

No collaboration is allowed on the midterm or final exams.