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about this issue

Networks and Precision Control

o member of the IEEE Control


Systems Society (CSS) would
doubt the ubiquity and impor
tance of networks. These networks
include communication, information,
transportation, electric power, sensor,
chemical, biological, economic, and
social. Many of these networks are
big, and most are becoming bigger. For
example, consider the Facebook and
Google+ social networks. Facebook
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MCS.2014.2308613
Date of publication: 12 May 2014

went from 1 million users in 2004 to 100


million users in the middle of 2008 to
more than 1 billion users in late 2012 [1].
Approximately 750 million users were
reported to log in daily as of December
31, 2013. Google+, a relative latecomer
to social networking, went from about
zero users in late 2011 to over 500 mil
lion users by the end of 2013 [2].
The importance of control to systems
with interconnected components was
recognized by the CSS with its creation
of IEEE Transactions on Control of Network
Systems. The first feature article of this

issue of IEEE Control Systems Magazine


(CSM) discusses algorithms for mea
suring the importance of individual
nodes in very large networks. More
specifically, in the article The Page
Rank Problem, Multiagent Consensus,
and Web Aggregation, Hideaki Ishii
and Roberto Tempo consider the Page
Rank algorithm used by the Google
Internet search engine to measure the
relative importance of Web pages based
on the hyperlink structure of the Web.
Ideas from PageRank go beyond rank
ing Web pages to rank the importance

Contributors

Hideaki Ishii.

Wen-Hong Zhu at Atigun Pass across the


Brooks Range in Alaska on July 27, 2013.

Roberto Tempo in Aiguilles de


Chamonix, France.

James Primbs climbing inside the dome


at the Duomo in Florence, Italy, while
attending the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control in December 2013.

8 IEEE CONTROL SYSTEMS MAGAZINE JUNE 2014

Warren Dixon with some autonomous


vehicles, including mobile wheeled robots
and a quadrotor.

of other objects, such as journal articles,


authors, professional athletes, and pro
teins in biological systems. The com
putation of Page
Rank is challenging
due to the very large size
of the Web, and the dif
ficulty is gathering and
using global information
about the network struc
ture. The article describes
a randomized decentral
ized approach to allow the
computations to be carried
out in parallel on a large
number of computers. The
article also draws connec
tions to problems studied
by the systems and control community,
such as the ranking of control journals,
consensus in multiagent systems, and
aggregation-based techniques.
The second feature article, FPGA
Logic Devices for Precision Control: An
Application to Large Friction Actua
tors with Payloads by Wen-Hong Zhu,
considers the very physical problem of
precision control in electromechanical
systems. A field-programmable gate
array (FPGA) is an integrated circuit
based around a matrix of configurable
logic blocks connected via programma
ble interconnects that can be configured
by the user after manufacturing, which
is to what the term field programma
ble refers. Modern FPGAs have large
numbers of logic gates (hence the gate
array) and RAM blocks that can be
used to implement reasonably compli
cated digital computations, and these
FPGAs can easily push the 500-MHz
performance barrier. The reprogram
mability of FPGAs enables bugs to be
fixed and functionality to be updated
after the FPGA-containing device is
manufactured, which can reduce time
to market and lower nonrecurring en
gineering costs. The article describes
algorithms for using FPGAs for the
precision control of actuators with large
friction. Approaches for low-cost ve
locity estimation and adaptive friction
compensation are demonstrated experi
mentally for a harmonic drive actuator
with large friction, subject to a variety
of payload conditions.

Although the second feature article


is not on networks per se, FPGAs are re
lated to networks. First, the logic gates
and RAM blocks form a network in the
FPGA. Second, FPGAs
are widely used as part
of the hardware in tele
communications and net
working. Third, FPGAs
are used in smartphones
and mobile Internet de
vices, which contribute to
social networks.
In the Presidents Mes
sage, Jay Farrell discusses
the impact of control tech
nology, its hidden impact
on commercial products, the outreach
fund whose purpose is to bring controls
to the broader community, and other
topics related to the CSS. CSS News
discusses future CSS conferences and
changes in personnel within the CSS.
Member Activities congratulates
the members of the CSS who were
elevated to IEEE Fellow in 2014. In
Technical Activities, Frank Allgwer
describes the 2014 IEEE CSS Video Clip
Contest and encourages submissions
to arrive by the deadline of August 1.
Publication Activities provides brief
biographies for Deputy Editor-in-Chief
Jonathan P. How and Associate Editors
Antonella Ferrara, Yiguang Hong, and
Antonio Lora, who were added to the
CSM Editorial Board in 2014.
People in Control has interviews
with six IEEE Fellows (Peter H. Bauer,
Yoichi Hori, Tetsuya Iwasaki, Fer
nando Paganini, Ioannis (Yannis) Ch.
Paschalidis, and A. Galup Ulsoy) and
Stephen P. Boyds acceptance speech
for the IEEE Control Systems Award
that was delivered at the 2013 IEEE
Conference on Decision and Control.
Focus on Education describes
a large-scale effort in India to write
Scilab programs that provide solu
tions to the examples given in a wide
range of textbooks used to train con
trol engineers. Historical Perspec
tives is the second in a series of
columns that commemorates the 60th
anniversary of the CSS with remi
niscences from past CSS presidents.

This issue includes recollections of


Stephen Kahne, who was president
in 1981.
In Bookshelf, Warren E. Dixon
reviews Optimal Adaptive Control and
Differential Games by Reinforcement
Learning Principles by Draguna Vrabie,
Kyriakos G. Vamvoudakis, and Frank
Lewis, and James A. Primbs reviews
the second edition of Investment Science
by David G. Luenberger. The recipi
ents of the 2013 IEEE Control Systems
Awards are summarized in the column
by that name.
ConferenceReportsprovides
summaries of three different confer
ences held in 2013. Thomas Parisini
and Roberto Tempo report on the 52nd
IEEE Conference on Decision and Con
trol that was held in Florence, Italy;
Changyun Wen and Zhong-Ping Jiang
report on the 25th Chinese Control and
Decision Conference that was held in
Guiyang, China; and Didier Theilliol
and Jozef Korbicz report on the Second
International Conference on Control
and Fault-Tolerant Systems that was
held in Nice, France.
CSS Business contains the min
utes of the IEEE CSS Board of Gover
nors meeting held in Florence, Italy, in
December 2013.
Among the regular columns, 25
YearsAgorevisitsanarticleby
A. Galip Ulsoy and Yoram Koren on
applications of adaptive control to ma
chinetools.ConferenceCalendar
lists upcoming conferences sponsored
or cosponsored by the CSS. Book An
nouncements provides summaries of
books recently published in the control
field. On the Lighter Side considers
the topic of metrology, and Random
Inputs considers the control of control
presentations.

References
[1] G. A. Fowler, Facebook: One billion and
counting, Wall Str. J., Oct. 4, 2012.
[2] M. McGee, Google+ hits 300 million active
monthly in-stream users, 540 million across
Google, MarketingLand, Oct. 29, 2013.

Richard D. Braatz

JUNE 2014 IEEE CONTROL SYSTEMS MAGAZINE 9