Control Freaks

September 01, 2007

Saving energy can be as simple as turning off the lights when you leave a room and as elaborate as the network of little machines in a modern control system. The typical automobile is controlled for fuel efficiency at several crucial points, including the fuel injection system, the exhaust, air intake, engine cooling, air conditioning and transmission. Among other things, sensors and computers control the mix of fuel and air, choose the most efficient gear and regulate the flow of engine coolant. Much more elaborate systems control jetliners and spacecraft, for stability and safety as well as efficiency. And the future promises much more of this technology, at higher levels of precision, interaction and complexity.

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara’s Center for Control, Dynamical Systems and Computation (CCDC) have long been working at the frontiers of control engineering. This field draws on the disciplines of mathematics, computer science and several branches of engineering – computer, chemical, electrical and mechanical. 

See full article at Convergence Online, the magazine of engineering and the sciences at UC Santa Barbara.