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Li near Cont r ol of Nonl i near Pr ocesses:
Recent Dev el opment s and Fut ur e Di r ect i ons
Michael Nikolaou and Pratik Misra
Chemical Engineering Dept.
University of Houston
Houston, TX 772044004
nikolaou@uh.edu
http://athens.chee.uh.edu
CEPAC 2001, Guarujá, Sao Paulo, Brazil, http://pqi.ep.usp.br/eventos/cepac2001.htm
Abstract
Virtually all chemical processes are nonlinear, but for several of them linear feedback
control is adequate. Therefore, before nonlinear controller design is attempted, it is
natural to ask “When is linear control adequate for a nonlinear process?” to ensure
favorable cost/benefit ratio. Consequently, methods are needed that quantify the
nonlinearity of a process within the context of assessing whether linear control is
adequate or nonlinear control is warranted. In this work we summarize efforts towards
this end and elaborate on our latest research in this area. Specifically, we present a
rigorous and general theoretical framework as well as an associated, heuristically
refined computational methodology that allow not only analysis but also synthesis of a
linear control system for a nonlinear process. Application to the multivariable case is
presented. Potential future developments within this framework are discussed.
1 I nt r oduct i on
1.1 A basic question: Linear or nonlinear control?
Interest in nonlinear feedback control of chemical processes has been steadily increasing over the
last several years. This is due both to the pronounced nonlinear nature of several chemical
processes (whether in mature or emerging fields) and to the increased sensing and computational
capabilities afforded by modern sensors, computers, algorithms, and software. Such capabilities
have been claimed and at times proven to offer benefits in better operation and control of
chemical processes. However, nonlinear control systems usually pose substantially higher data,
design, implementation, and maintenance demands than linear control systems. Therefore,
before one develops and implements a nonlinear control system, one must carefully examine the
potential advantages of such a system in comparison to a linear one, by resolving the following
basic question, which will be the central theme of this proposal:
Q1: Is linear control adequate or is nonlinear control necessary for a given process?
Rather than a mere Yes/No answer, insight is sought into how the answer to Q1 depends on
2
various problem parameters, such as process model and control structure, experimental or routine
modeling information, process operating range, constraints, disturbances, etc., as discussed in the
sequel.
1.2 All chemical processes are nonlinear, but not all of them require nonlinear control
Linear feedback control of chemical processes has a long history of research and diverse
industrial applications (Qin and Badgwell, 2000; Nikolaou, 1997; Kayihan, 1997; Edgar et al.,
1999). From singleinputsingleoutput proportionalintegralderivative (SISO PID) controllers
to plantwide modelpredictive control (MPC) systems (Qin and Badgwell, 1997), there is an
abundance of feedback control systems which implicitly or explicitly assume that process
dynamics are either inherently linear or almost linear owing to process operation close to a
steady state. However, there are important instances for which the linearity assumption may be
violated. Such instances are not uncommon in chemicals, polymers, natural gas processing,
pharmaceuticals, microelectronics, and pulp and paper plants (Qin and Badgwell, 2000), thus at
times necessitating nonlinear control algorithms (Sidebar 1).
It can be argued that virtually all chemical processes are in principle nonlinear. However,
some are evidently “more nonlinear” than others. Moreover, feedback may drastically reduce
the nonlinearity of a system, a fact recognized as early as during the invention of the feedback
amplifier by Black in the 1920s (Brittain, 1997). Therefore, methods are needed that quantify the
nonlinearity of a process within the context of assessing whether (and what) linear control is
adequate or whether (and what) nonlinear control is warranted (Harris and Seppala, 2001).
1.3 The interplay between nonlinearity and feedback can be quantified
Several and diverse sporadic attempts to quantify the nonlinearity of a dynamic process have
appeared over the last decade, as reviewed in section 3.1.
The PI’s group (Eker and Nikolaou, 2000 and 2001; Nikolaou, 2001a; Misra and
Nikolaou, 2001) recently proposed a rigorous and general theoretical framework as well as an
associated, heuristically refined computational methodology that address the interplay between
nonlinearity and feedback. Within this framework, as explained more concretely in section 3.2,
the need for nonlinear control is assessed in terms of a closedloop nonlinearity measure.
Bounds on the closedloop nonlinearity measure can be relatively simply evaluated in terms of
(a) process nonlinearity and (b) a linear feedback controller. More importantly, this framework
allows not only analysis but also synthesis of a linear control system for a nonlinear process.
This framework will provide the starting point of the proposed research.
1.4 Objectives of proposed research
The objective of the research work proposed in the sequel is to apply and expand the framework
referred to in section 1.3, in order to develop rigorous results and computational methodologies
that answer the following nontrivial questions of both theoretical and practical importance:
Q2: Should constrained MPC employ a linear or nonlinear model of a controlled process?
Q3: Can linear control stabilize an unstable nonlinear process? If so, over what operating
range?
The above questions Q2 and Q3 entail a number of specific research directions that will be
elaborated on in section 5
Si debar 1 – Th e n eed f or con t r ol of n on l i n ear pr ocesses
Over t he lat est few decades, st udies on nonlinear cont r ol have gener at ed a voluminous
3
body of wor k, wit hin bot h chemical engineer ing and ot her disciplines ( Bequet t e, 1991;
Rawlings et al. , 1994; Kumar and Daout idis, 1999 and Chr ist ofides, 2001b – emphasis on
geomet r ic cont r ol of dist r ibut ed par amet er syst ems; Henson and Sebor g, 1997 – collect ion
of various cont ribut ions on nonlinear syst ems; Krst ic et al. , 1995 – emphasis on
backst epping; Khalil, 1992; Slot ine and Li, 1991; Nij meij er and van der Schaft , 1990 and
I sidor i, 1999 – emphasis on geomet r ic cont r ol; Vidyasagar , 1993; de Figueir edo and Chen,
1993; Brocket t , 1996) .
I t is int er est ing t o not e t hat an ear ly academic publicat ion t hat int r oduced what
t oday would be called nonlinear MPC, explicit ly r ecognized and dealt wit h t he issue of
nonlinear it y f or model based cont r ol of a dist illat ion column t hr ough on line opt imizat ion
( Rafal and St evens, 1968) .
Nonlinear it y, by definit ion r efer r ing t o absence of linear it y, can manifest it self in
var ious ways, such as nonlinear dynamics, const r ai nt s ( sat ur at ion nonlinear it y) and
changing modes of oper at ion ( see also Pear son ( 1999) f or an int er est ing classif icat ion of
nonlinear behavior ) . While such nonlinear it ies ar e widespr ead, exper ience indicat es t hat
t hey do not always r equir e nonlinear cont r ol. On t he ot her hand, impor t ant cases ar e also
known ( e. g. , polymer pr oduct ion changeover policies ( Pavilion, 2001; Young, 2001) ) f or
which nonlinear cont r ol pr ovides t angible advant ages.
Discussed below ar e indust r ially impor t ant cases for which nonlinear it y is usually
pr esent and, consequent ly, knowing whet her linear or nonlinear cont r ol is adequat e would
pr ovide obvious benef it s.
 Biochemical pr oduct ion of chemicals. Enzyme kinet ics ( e. g. , Michaelis Ment en) depend
nonlinear ly on susbst r at e concent r at ion. Wit h t he r apidly incr easing impor t ance of
biot echnology, cont r ol of pr ocesses t hat pr oduce and separ at e chemicals wit h t he aid of
r eact ions in living cells will have obvious implicat ions.
 Syst ems oper at i ng near const r ai nt s ( e. g. , pet r oleum r efining, nat ur al gas pr ocessing) .
The sat ur at ion nonlinear it y r ender s const r ained MPC nonlinear , even if t he model
employed is linear . While const r ained MPC wit h linear model has been amply validat ed
in indust r ial pr act ice, t r ansit ion t o const r ained MPC wit h nonlinear model is all but t r ivial
and r equir es car ef ul j ust if icat ion and execut ion.
 Non r out ine oper at ion sit uat ions ( e. g. , st ar t  ups, shut  downs, change over s, f lar es,
r elief valve emissions) . These ar e ext r emely impor t ant as t he main cont r ibut or s t o
saf et y, qualit y, r esour ce use, and envir onment al pr oblems ( Allen and Shonnar d, 2001) .
Because a pr ocess moves far fr om a st eady st at e dur ing non r out ine oper at ion,
nonlinear behavior is usually pr onounced.
 Nonl i near di st r i but ed pr ocess syst ems ( Kumar and Daout idis, 1999; Chr ist ofides,
2001b) such as cont r ol of spat ial pr of iles ( CVD, et ching, cr yst al gr owt h, packed bed
r eact or s) cont r ol of size dist r ibut ions ( aer osol pr oduct ion and par t iculat e pr ocesses ( Chiu
and Chr ist ofides, 1999) , cr yst allizat ion ( Br aat z and Hasebe, 2001) , emulsion
polymer izat ion, cell cult ur es ( Daout idis and Henson, 2001) ) , cont r ol of fluid flows
( mixing, wave suppr ession, dr ag r educt ion, separ at ion delay, cont r ol of mat er ial
micr ost r uct ur e ( t hin f ilm gr owt h, nano st r uct ur ed coat ings pr ocessing) .
 Bat ch pr ocesses, par t icular ly impor t ant f or t he pr oduct ion of f ine chemicals and
phar maceut icals.
2 Mot i v at i ng Ex ampl es
As already suggested, the main thesis of the proposed research is that lack of linearity in the
behavior of a process to be controlled does not necessarily make nonlinear control
indispensable. On the other hand, the nature of process nonlinearity may make linear control
completely inadequate and may require nonlinear control of a kind that may not even be
immediately obvious. The following two examples make the case (for more details and other
4
interesting examples see Eker and Nikolaou, 2001).
2.1 Example 1 – (The right) linear control may be adequate for a nonlinear process
Consider the exothermic reaction A B → in a system of two jacketcooled continuous stirred
tank reactors (CSTR) in series (Henson and Seborg, 1990). The concentration of the reactant at
the exit of the second CSTR, C
A2
, is the controlled
variable, and the coolant flow rate q
c
(common for both
reactors) is the manipulated variable.
Figure 1 – Openloop responses of C
A2
(in
deviation form) to q
c
step change of +9.3, for
(a) the nonlinear system of two CSTRs (dashed
line) and (b) its linearized model around the
nominal steady state
3
5.3 10 × mol/L (solid
line).
The stepresponse simulation in Figure 1 demonstrates
that the openloop system is “fairly nonlinear”.
Figure 2 – Closedloop responses of C
A2
to
pulse setpoint change
3
4.2 10
−
+ × mol/L for (a)
the nonlinear process with linear IMC (filter
time constant 1 λ · ) (dashed line), and (b) the
ideal linear IMC loop (solid line).
However, when linear internal model control (IMC,
Morari and Zafiriou, 1989, p. 65) is used to steer C
A2
to
the same value as in Figure 1, the resulting closed loop
is much less nonlinear or virtually linear (Figure 3).
Figure 3 – Similar to Figure 2 except that the
IMC filter time constant 1 λ · .
But increasing the pulse setpoint change to
3
5.2 10
−
+ ×
mol/L generates an unstable closedloop response far
from the ideal linear response (Figure 4). Similar
behavior is eventually observed if λ is further reduced.
Figure 4 – Similar to Figure 3, except that
pulse setpoint change is
3
5.2 10
−
+ × mol/L.
Note nonlinear loop oscillations that would
have been trivially missed if the pulse had
lasted less than ~70 time units.
Moreover, if measurement delay of 5 time units is
added, the ideal linear closed loop changes little in
comparison to absence of delay, while the nonlinear
closed loop shows drastic deterioration (Figure 5).
0 100 200
time
300 400 500
1
0
1
2
3
4
5
C
A
2
3
10 ×
0 100 200
time
300 400 500
1
0
1
2
3
4
5
C
A
2
3
10 ×
0 100
200
time
300 400 500
2
4
6
8
C
A
2
×10
3
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
3
10 ×
time
C
A
2
5
0 1 2 3 4 5
time
6 7 8 9 10
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
×10
3
C
A
2
This example suggests that
(a) Open and closedloop nonlinearities can be very different;
(b) Process nonlinearity and controller design interact tightly and not monotonically;
(c) Process operating range profoundly affects nonlinearity and control;
(d) Similarly to (if not more importantly than for) linear processes, modeling uncertainty must be
carefully taken into account when controlling
nonlinear processes.
Figure 5 – Closedloop responses to setpoint
step change
3
4.5 10
−
+ × for (a) the nonlinear
closed loop with linear IMC, 0.1 λ · (dashed
line), and (b) the ideal linear closed loop with
the same IMC (solid line).
The many different facets of behavior of this
system can be very well predicted by the theory
mentioned in section 1.3 and briefly discussed in
section 3.2.
2.2 Example 2 – There are nonlinear processes that cannot be globally stabilized by any
continuous feedback law, linear or nonlinear
Meadows et al. (1995) showed that it is impossible to find any continuous static state feedback
law ( , )
k k k
u F x y · that can globally asymptotically stabilize the system
3
1 1
,
k k k k k k
x x u y y u
+ +
· + · + (1)
around (0,0), while the constrained nonlinear MPC
( )
2
2 2 2
0
min
i i i
i
x y u
+ + +
·
+ +
∑ l l l
(2)
subject to
( , ) given x y
l l
;
1 i i i
x x u
+ + + +
· +
l l l
,
3
1 i i i
y y u
+ + + +
· +
l l l
, 0,1,2 i · ;
3 3
0 x y
+ +
· ·
l l
(3)
can globally asymptotically stabilize the above system around (0,0).
This example suggests that seemingly innocent (e.g., polynomial) nonlinearities may
create great control challenges.
3 Rel at ed Back gr ound and Pr i or Resul t s
Si debar 2 – Non l i n ear oper at or an al y si s basi cs an d n ot at i on
Basics of t he input  out put syst em fr amewor k can be found in Willems ( 1971) , Desoer and
Vidyasagar ( 1975) , and Zeidler ( 1990) , among ot her s. Wit hin t his fr amewor k t he dynamic
behavior of a nonlinear syst em is descr ibed by an unbiased nonlinear oper at or ( mapping)
: : : 0 (0) 0 N U Y u y Nu N → · · a a ( 4)
which maps input signals u i n t he space U t o out put signals y i n t he space Y. Not e t hat
t here is no unanimit y in lit erat ure regarding uniqueness of y given u. We will not assume
uniqueness in t his wor k. The oper at or N is commonly r ealized t hr ough a set of or dinar y or
par t ial dif f er ent ial equat ions and algebr aic equat ions, such as
( ) ( ( ), ( )), ( ) ( ( ), ( )) dx t dt f x t u t y t h x t u t · · ( 5)
Not e t hat par t ial differ ent ial equat ions may be appr oximat ed by or dinar y differ ent ial
equat ions such as ( 5) af t er spat ial discr et izat ion using f init e dif f er ences, f init e element s,
6
Kar hunen Loeve decomposit ion, spect r al decomposit ion, et c. The nor m ( gain) and
incr ement al nor m ( incr ement al gain or local Lipschit z const ant ( Willems, 1971, p. 93) ) of
: N U Y → over t he set V U ⊆ ar e defined ( Nikolaou and Manousiout hakis, 1989) as
, 0
sup
V
u V u
N Nu u
∈ ≠
· ( 6)
and
1 2 1 2
1 2 1 2
, ,
sup
V
u u V u u
N Nu Nu u u
∆
∈ ≠
· − − ( 7)
r espect ively, wher e t he nor m funct ions on t he r ight  hand sides of eqns. ( 6) and ( 7) are
def ined on t he spaces U and Y. The set V ident ifies t hese input signals t hat are physically
impor t ant f or t he oper at or N, e. g. , mole fract ions in t he int erval [0,1] . An oper at or
: N U Y → is bounded ( st able) over t he set V when
V
N
∆
< ∞. ( 8)
Not e t hat t he above definit ion of st abilit y in eqn. ( 8) super cedes t he st andar d st abi l i t y
definit ion
V
N < ∞, because
V V
N N
∆
≤ . Not e also t hat even f or ver y simple nonlinear
oper at or s it is possible t o have
1
V
N
∆
· ∞ and
2
V
N
∆
< ∞ ( or
1
V
N · ∞ and
2
V
N < ∞ ) f or
t wo dif f er ent set s V
1
and V
2
( Nikolaou and Manousiout hakis, 1989) . The linear izat ion of an
operat or : N U Y → ar ound t he input t r aj ect or y u
0
is defined as t he linear operat or
0
:
u
L U Y → sat isfying t he equat ion
0
0 0
0
lim ( ) 0
u
u
N u u Nu L u u
→
+ − − · . For N defined via
eqn. ( 5) ,
0
u
L is a linear t ime var ying oper at or , defined by t he equat ions
( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ), ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
d x
t A t x t B t u t y t C t x t D t u t
dt
∆
· ∆ + · ∆ + ( 9)
where
( ) ( )
0
0
( )
( )
( ), ( ), ( ), ( ) , , , ˆ
f f
h h
x t x u x u
u t
A t B t C t D t
∂ ∂
∂ ∂
∂ ∂ ∂ ∂
· ;
0
( ) x t ,
0
( ) u t sat isf y eqn. ( 5) ; and (0) 0 x ∆ · .
3.1 Efforts to quantify nonlinearity have spawned a plethora of creative approaches
As stated in section 1.2, nonlinearity quantification is needed in order to assess whether linear
control is adequate for a nonlinear process. Let us stress that nonlinearity quantification goes
beyond mere detection of lack of linearity, a topic that has been amply studied (e.g., see Haber
and Unbehauen (1990), Pearson (1999) and references therein).
Efforts have appeared in literature to quantify the nonlinearity of a nonlinear operator N
(eqn. (4)) by computing its distance from a suitably defined linear operator. The basis of this
idea has been that a “fairly” nonlinear operator would require nonlinear control.
Desoer and Wang (1980) defined the nonlinearity measure of an operator N as
inf ˆ
L
v N L
∈Λ
· − (10)
where the above minimization in eqn. (10) must be performed over all linear operators L in the
set Λ, and the norm function can be any suitable norm. Computation of v in eqn. (10) can be
extremely complicated, e.g., if the norm in eqn. (10) is an induced norm (eqn. (6)).
To address the computational issue, Nikolaou (1993) constructed an innerproduct and
corresponding 2norm theory for a class of nonlinear operators. Based on that theory, the
quantity v in eqn. (10), corresponding to the average discrepancy between outputs of N and L for
inputs within an explicitly specified set, can be trivially computed via Monte Carlo simulations.
In addition, explicit formulas for the optimal L in eqn. (10) can be derived. Using this theory,
7
Nikolaou and Hanagandi (1998) quantified the nonlinearity of several open and closedloop
chemical process systems, and showed how different tunings of a linear IMC controller used to
control a nonlinear process may result in closed loops of significantly different nonlinearity
magnitudes. While making computations easy, the 2norm is not an induced norm, therefore it
does not satisfy the submultiplicativity property (
1 2 1 2
N N N N ≤ ), thus limiting its use in
direct feedback controller synthesis.
Allgöwer (1996) tackled the computational problems of using an induced norm in eqn.
(10), by parametrizing the input signal u in eqn. (6) and the linear operator L in eqn. (10) though
finitedimensional approximations, and by directly performing the optimization in eqn. (10), i.e.
, 0
inf sup ˆ
L
u V u
v Nu Lu u
∈Λ
∈ ≠
· − (11)
corresponding to the worst possible discrepancy between outputs of N and L. For a number of
examples, he found that the value of v is insensitive to the particular parametrization of u.
Helbig et al. (2000) defined a nonlinearity measure as
,0 , 0
,0 , 0
, 0 , 0 ,0
,
inf sup inf [ , ] [ , ] [ , ] [0,1] ˆ
L L
N N
N L N
L x X
u U x X
N u x L u x N u x
∈Λ ∈
∈ ∈
· − ∈ φ (12)
corresponding to the worst discrepancy between outputs of N and L as a function of both initial
conditions and inputs. Exact computation of φ is practically infeasible. However, Helbig et al.
(2000) have shown how to efficiently calculate good approximations or bounds of φ by finite
dimensional parametrization of u and convex optimization.
To avoid having to directly optimize with respect to L in nonlinearity measures such as in
eqns. (10) and (12), Sun and Kosanovich (1998) proposed to quantify nonlinearity as
{ ¦
max sup ,sup
upper lower
u U u U
Nu L u Nu L u
∈ ∈
− − (13)
where L
upper
and L
lower
are linear operators such that they provide the smallest bounding envelop
on the output of N as ( ) ( ) ( )
( ) ( ) ( )
lower upper
L u t Nu t L u t ≤ ≤ for u U ∈ . This approach has many
similarities to identification for robust control (Helmicki et al., 1991, 1992).
To better assess the need for nonlinear control, as opposed to just assessing the distance
of a nonlinear plant from a linear one, Stack and Doyle (1997) proposed to focus on the
nonlinearity magnitude of an optimal nonlinear controller designed for a nonlinear process.
Quantification of the nonlinearity of that controller, using any method, was proposed as a
measure of the need for nonlinear control, the assumption being that a highly nonlinear controller
would result in a highly nonlinear closed loop, hence rendering linear control inadequate and
necessitating nonlinear control. For static state feedback laws, these authors proposed to use
coherence analysis as the nonlinearity measure. (A related approach for static systems appeared
in Yana et al. (1994) and for time series in Nielsen and Madsen (2001)). Stack and Doyle (1999)
also applied coherence analysis to assess the closedloop nonlinearity of a nonlinear system
controlled by linear IMC. Emphasis was placed on observing the effect of different IMC tunings
on closedloop nonlinearity. An advantage of coherence analysis is that it entails trivial
computational load, and the analysis may be conducted using experimental data, without detailed
knowledge of a process model.
Departing from the notion of nonlinearity measures based on the distance (norm of
difference) between a nonlinear operator from a suitable linear operator, a number of
investigators took different pathways towards quantifying nonlinearity.
Guay et al. (1995) proposed to quantify the static nonlinearity of a system described by
8
eqn. (5) in terms of the local geometry of the steadystate locus, i.e., by considering the first and
second derivatives of the steadystate map 0 ( , )
s s
f x u · with respect to u
s
. Guay (1996)
extended these results to quantification of dynamic nonlinearity.
Harris et al. (2000) proposed to quantify the nonlinearity of system as in eqn. (5) first by
approximating nonlinearities in the time domain by polynomials, and then by expressing the
solution as a functional infinite series in the LaplaceBorel domain. Their approach relies on
repeated application of the shuffle product (convolution). The nonlinearity of a system is large if
“many” and “large” higherorder terms are needed. Bounds of an accordingly defined
nonlinearity measure can be easily computed and used in controller design.
Hahn and Edgar (2001) compared the controllability and observability covariance
matrices of a system that is linearized at its steady state operating point to covariance matrices
that are computed from data collected within an operating region of the nonlinear process. This
comparison results in two measures for the nonlinearity of the inputoutput behavior of a
process: inputtostate (controllability) and statetooutput (observability). In addition to
identifying when a model is severely nonlinear, this approach can identify a model as being
Wienerlike, Hammersteinlike, or both.
Choudhury (2001) used higherorder statistics on feedback error to detect closedloop
nonlinearities based on operating data. The approach is based on detecting nonlinearities in
timeseries, a topic with rich past (Kantz and Schreiber, 1997; Tong, 1990).
Rajput (2001) used nonlinearity measures for process monitoring and fault diagnosis.
The premise of the majority of the above approaches is that if a nonlinear process (or the
optimal nonlinear controller) is “close” to a linear one, then a linear controller will be sufficient.
While that may frequently be true, proximity of a nonlinear process to a linear one is neither
necessary nor sufficient for good closedloop performance. For example, Nikolaou and
Hanagandi (1998) have shown that a highly nonlinear process controlled by linear IMC may
result in an almost linear closed loop, if IMC is suitably designed. Conversely, Schrama (1992)
has shown that, even for a linear process, a controller design based on a linear model with close
proximity to a process may result even in closedloop instability. The discussion in section 2
corroborates the preceding point. Nevertheless, one would intuitively expect that there must be
process and controllerdependent connections between open and closedloop nonlinearity.
That intuition is indeed correct, as shown next.
3.2 Closedloop nonlinearity depends on both the controlled process and the controller
Figure 6 – Block diagram of IMC for a Nonlinear Process N.
Consider the IMC loop structure of Figure 6. The operator N corresponding to the stableover
set controlled plant is nonlinear, the (linear or nonlinear) operator L corresponds to the plant
Q
setpoint, r ε input, u
disturbance, d
output, y
noise, w


Controller
N
L
9
model, and the (linear or nonlinear) operator Q is the Youla parameter of the controller. Note
that Q may have a closed form or may be defined implicitly, e.g., via online optimization, as is
the case for MPC (see section 5.1). Note also that this structure allows the development of
smallgain type of theorems (e.g., eqns. (17) and (18); Zheng and Zafiriou, 1999; Koung and
MacGregor, 1992; Kothare and Morari, 1999) that are much less conservative than similar
theorems for classical feedback structures (Willems, 1971, p. 108; deFigueiredo and Chen, 1993,
p. 96; van der Schaft, 2000, p. 11). Indeed, smallgain theorems on classical feedback structures
fail to capture important classes of stabilizing controllers, such as controllers with integral action.
If the model L and Youla parameter Q are linear, i.e. the classical feedback controller
1
( ) C Q I LQ
−
· − is linear, then one can compare the resulting closed loop to the ideal linear
closed loop that would result if the controlled plant were linear and equal to the model L. The
difference between the actual nonlinear and the ideal linear closed loop can be quantified by the
magnitude of the operator
( )
1
ˆ N NQ I NQ LQ LQ
−
∆ · + − − . (14)
Eker and Nikolaou (2001) have proposed to use the incremental norm over a set (local Lipschitz
constant) to quantify W N ∆ (where W is a weighting filter) and have shown that if
( ) 1 ˆ
E
N L Q
∆
γ · − < (15)
then the closedloop nonlinearity measure
Z
W N
∆
∆ is bounded as
( )( ) ( )( )
1 ( ) ( )
( )( ) ( )
( )
1 ( ) 1 ( )
Closedloop
nonlinearity
1
E E
E E
E E
Z
E E
W I LQ N L Q W I LQ N L Q
N L Q I N L Q
W I LQ N L Q N L Q
W N W I LQ
N L Q N L Q
∆ ∆
∆ ∆
∆ ∆
∆
∆ ∆
− − − −
≤
+ − + −
− − −
≤ ∆ ≤ ≤ −
− − − −
−
1442443 14243
1442443
α
γ
γ
(16)
where the set E contains the signals ε (Figure 6) and the set [ ( ) ]( ) Z I N L Q E · + − .
Note that the bounds of the closedloop nonlinearity depend on both the process
nonlinearity, N L − , and the controller elements Q and L. Note also that if Q can be designed in
a way that makes 1 γ<< , then
1
1
γ
−γ
<< , and the closed loop is virtually linear (e.g., Figure 3).
The inequality of eqn. (16), predicts the results of Example 1 in a nonconservative way.
For a thorough justification of the use of incremental norms in the above results as well as for
discussion on the significance, graphical interpretation, and implication for controller design of
the above inequality (16) see Eker and Nikolaou (2001).
3.3 Two crucial elements for assessment of closedloop nonlinearity
There are two crucial elements associated with the above results of section 3.2:
(a) Eqn. (16) is based on the following general result (Eker and Nikolaou, 2001): If
1
U
R
∆
< (17)
then the inverse
1
( ) : I R Y U
−
+ → of the nonlinear operator : I R U Y + → exists on
[ ]( ) Y I R U · + , and is bounded as
10
1
1
( )
1
Y
U
I R
R
−
∆
∆
+ ≤
−
(18)
(b) Incremental norms can be computed using the approximation (Eker and Nikolaou, 2000)
( )
0 0
0 0
0
'
constant
sup sup
u u
V
u V u V
u
M L L
∆
∈ ∈
· ≈ (19)
where the operator
0
'
u
L appearing in the righthand side of eqn. (19) is the linearization of the
nonlinear operator M (eqn. (9)) around steady states (i.e. constant) u
0
in the set V.
The importance of element (a) is that the existence and boundedness of the inverse of a
nonlinear operator are guaranteed over a set without explicit computation of that inverse. No
Banach space setting is needed either (Willems, 1971, p. 29). Note also the importance of the
sets U and V that are associated with ranges of input signals.
The importance of element (b) is that the associated computations, albeit approximate, do
not require a nonlinear dynamic process model but rather its linearization around a number of
steady states, a fact that significantly eases modeling efforts.
The work proposed in the following section 5 will rely heavily on the above two elements.
4 The Mul t i var i abl e Case
An important feature of the framework captured by eqns. (17), (18), and (19) is that it can be
easily applied to multivariable systems. Shown next are three examples that demonstrate that the
predictions of the theoretical framework for the multivariable case can range from conservative
to tight.
4.1 Example 3 – Two nonisothermal CSTRs in series
Consider again the system of two
CSTRs studied in Example 1, with
coolant flow rate and feed flow rate
to reactor 1 as process inputs, and
concentration and temperature of
the second reactor as process
outputs.
Figure 7 – Setpoint step
change responses of (a)
nonlinear closed loop with
linear IMC controller (solid
lines) and (b) ideal linear
closed loop (dashed lines).
Solid and dashed lines are
virtually indistinguishable.
Linear IMC, for certain setpoint
changes and for certain tuning, may
produce a closed loop that is virtually linear, as Figure 7 indicates. However, for different
setpoint changes, the same linear controller generates instabilities, as Figure 8 shows. Figure 7
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
6
4
2
0
x 10
5
c
o
n
c
e
n
t
r
a
t
i
o
n
time
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
5
0
5
10
15
20
x 10
3
t
e
m
p
e
r
a
t
u
r
e
time
11
and Figure 8 correspond to setpoint
changes for which eqn. (15) is or is
not satisfied, respectively.
Figure 8 – Similar to
Figure 7 for different
setpoint changes. Notice
the discrepancies between
solid and dashed lines.
Figure 9 shows the values of γ
computed for various setpoint
changes in temperature and
concentration. The stability
domain indicated by Figure 9 is
conservative; setpoint changes of
much higher magnitude than
indicated by Figure 9 had to be
effected for instabilities to be noticeable. Note that
deviation variables are used throughout.
Figure 9 – Contour plot of the value of γ,
eqn. (15), as a function of temperature and
concentration setpoint changes.
It is also possible to work in the frequency domain
in order to gain qualitative insight into the behavior
of the closed loop, although the results will be
quantitatively conservative for the multivariable
case. Nevertheless, the following analysis may be
helpful in understanding the effect of controller design and operating range on closedloop
stability and performance. Similar analysis may be performed for the subsequent Example 4 and
Example 5, but is omitted for brevity.
Eqn. (15) is satisfied over an operating range E if
1
1
( )
i
L L L
F
−
− <
ε
for all
i
E ε ∈ (20)
where the IMC filter F is designed as
2
2
1
0
( 1)
1
0
( 1)
s
F
s
λ
λ
]
]
+
]
·
]
]
+
]
(21)
While eqn. (20) is conservative, it has a nice graphical interpretation: The magnitude Bode plot
of the the the reciprocal of the maximum singular value of ( ) F jω should be above the
maximum singular value of
( )
1
( ) ( ) ( )
i
L j L j L j
−
−
ε
ω ω ω at all frequencies and for all
i
ε in the set
E. Figure 10 shows how inequality (20) may or may not be satisfied. Figure 10 is reminiscent of
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200
5
0
5
10
15
x 10
3
c
o
n
c
e
n
t
r
a
t
i
o
n
time
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200
20
15
10
5
0
t
e
m
p
e
r
a
t
u
r
e
time
12
similar plots that have been developed in linear control
theory (Morari and Zafiriou, 1989) and provides a link
for linear controller design for nonlinear systems.
Figure 10 –
1
( )
i
L L L
ε
−
− (dashed lines for
different operating points) and
1
F
(solid lines
for different values of the filter time constant λ,
eqn. (21)) as a function of frequency.
4.2 Example 4 – A fictitious problem
Consider the system described by the differential equations
2
1 1 1 2 1
2
2 1 2 2 2
2 4
4 2
x x x x u
x x x x u
· − − +
· − − +
&
&
(22)
where u
1
, u
2
are the inputs and y
1
, y
2
are
the outputs. Figure 11 shows closed
loop responses for setpoint step
changes around the equilibrium point
(0,0). Note that the closed loop is only
mildly nonlinear, if at all.
Figure 11 – Setpoint step
change responses of (a)
nonlinear closed loop with
linear IMC controller (solid
lines) and (b) ideal linear
closed loop (dashed lines).
Solid and dashed lines are fairly
close.
However, for different setpoint
changes, the instabilities of Figure 12
emerge.
Figure 12 – Similar to Figure
11 for different setpoint
changes. Notice the
discrepancies between solid and
dashed lines.
Such instabilities can be fairly well
predicted by the contour plot of Figure
13, which depicts the value of log γ as
a function of setpoint changes on x
1
and
x
2
. Note the difference between Figure
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
x
1
time
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800
0
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
x
2
time
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800
0
0.5
1
1.5
x
1
time
0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800
0
0.5
1
1.5
x
2
time
10
4
10
2
10
0
10
2
10
4
10
10
10
5
10
0
10
5
10
10
λ=10 λ=10
λ=5
λ=1
13
13 and Figure 11 regarding the regions of setpoint
changes for which the closedloop stability
condition, eqn. (15), is satisfied: In Figure 13 that
region appears to be open, while it is closed in
Figure 11. Note also that the stability region
predicted by Figure 13 is much less conservative
than that predicted by Figure 11.
Figure 13 – Contour plot of the value of
logγ, eqn. (15), as a function of x
1
and x
2
setpoint changes.
4.3 Example 5 – Nonisothermal CSTR
Consider the CSTR studied in Nikolaou and Hanagandi (1988), with feed flow rate and heat
removal rate as inputs and concentration and
temperature as process outputs. Figure 14 and
Figure 15 are the counterparts of Figure 11
and Figure 12.
Figure 14 – Setpoint stepchange
responses of (a) nonlinear closed loop
with linear IMC controller (solid lines)
and (b) ideal linear closed loop
(dashed lines). Solid and dashed lines
are virtually indistinguishable.
Figure 15 – Similar to Figure 14 for
different setpoint changes (200
mol/m
3
, 30° K). Notice the
discrepancies between solid and
dashed lines.
The behavior of observed in Figure 14 and
Figure 15 can be explained by the contour plot
of Figure 16. Note that predictions of the
stability region are less conservative in this
Example than in Example 3.
0 50 100 150
150
100
50
0
c
o
n
c
e
n
t
r
a
t
i
o
n
time
0 50 100 150
5
4
3
2
1
0
t
e
m
p
e
r
a
t
u
r
e
time
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
2000
0
2000
4000
6000
c
o
n
c
e
n
t
r
a
t
i
o
n
time
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
200
0
200
400
600
t
e
m
p
e
r
a
t
u
r
e
time
14
Figure 16 – Contour plot of the value
of logγ, eqn. (15), as a function of x
1
and x
2
setpoint changes.
5 Fut ur e Di r ect i ons
The value of the approach discussed in the
preceding sections is that it is valid for general
classes of nonlinear operators, and relies on
only two crucial elements, presented in section
3.3. The results discussed above can be
further refined along a number of promising
directions. We discuss below two such directions addressing two interrelated classes of systems,
namely constrained MPC and control of unstable nonlinear processes. Issues particular to each
of these classes as well as issues common to both classes will be indicated.
5.1 Constrained MPC: Linear or nonlinear model?
5.1.1 Problem formulation
MPC is currently enjoying enormous popularity in both academia and industry, as the workhorse
of advanced process control (Nikolaou, 2001b). While static nonlinear elements (e.g., nonlinear
valves, inferential sensors, etc.) are included in several industrial MPC implementations, the vast
majority of them employ a linear dynamic model of the controlled process. Academic research
has produced a substantial amount of work on MPC with nonlinear model (Allgöwer and Zheng,
2000). Despite their obvious advantages in accuracy, nonlinear models have the disadvantages
of (a) necessitating online nonlinear optimization that is frequently nonconvex, and (b)
seriously complicating model development. Would there be any advantages in using a (partly or
totally) nonlinear model in MPC for a given process or would a linear model be sufficient?
We propose to use the framework discussed in section 3 to address the above question.
We demonstrate next that this framework can serve as basis for constrained nonlinear MPC
analysis and synthesis.
5.1.2 Preliminary analysis
The starting point of the research proposed in this section is the realization that an MPC system
can be cast in the form of Figure 6. To see that, consider the prototypical MPC online
optimization
( )
1
2
2
(  ),..., ( 1 )
1 0
min (  ) (  )
p m
u k k u k m k
i i
r y k i k R u k i k
−
+ −
· ·
¹ ¹
− + + ∆ +
' '
¹ ¹
∑ ∑
(23)
subject to
min max
(  ) y y k i k y ≤ + ≤ (24)
min max
(  ) u u k i k u ≤ + ≤ ,
min max
(  ) u u k i k u ∆ ≤ ∆ + ≤ ∆ (25)
where a linear finiteimpulseresponse (FIR) model is used to predict future outputs as
15
model
1 1
( )
( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
y
n n
j j
j j
d k k
y k i k h u k i j k y k h u k j
· ·
+ · + − + − −
∑ ∑
6447448
144424443
(26)
After substitution of eqn. (26) into eqns. (23) and (24), the above constrained MPC algorithm
corresponds to the IMC structure of Figure 6, with the operator : Q u ε a realized by
2
1
2
(  ),..., ( 1 )
1 1 0
min ( ) ( ) (  )
p n m
j
u k k u k m k
i j i
k h u k i j k R u k i k
−
+ −
· · ·
¹ ¹
 `
¹ ¹
ε + + − + ∆ +
' '
. , ¹ ¹
¹ ¹
∑ ∑ ∑
(27)
subject to eqn. (25) and
min max
1
( ) ( )
n
j
j
r y k h u k i j k r y
·
− ≥ ε + + − ≥ −
∑
(28)
where (Figure 17)
model
[ ( ) ( )] ˆ r y k y k ε · − − , and the operator
model
: L u y a realized by
model
1
( ) ( )
n
j
j
y k h u k j
·
· −
∑
(29)
Figure 17 – Closedloop MPC block diagram in IMC form, for a nonlinear process N.
The corresponding closedloop process output is
1
( ) ( )
LinearModel L L L
y d NQ I NQ LQ r d
−
· + + − − (30)
Now, if MPC employs a nonlinear model to predict future process outputs as
( )
model
( )
( ) ( 1 ),..., ( ) ( ) ( ( 1),..., ( ))
y
d k k
y k i k f u k i k u k i n k y k f u k u k n + · + − + − + − − −
64444744448
1444442444443
(31)
then a structure analogous to that of Figure 17 is trivially obtained, and the closedloop process
output, assuming no process/model mismatch, is
( )
NonlinearModel N
y d NQ r d · + − (32)
Therefore, eqns. (32) and (30) yield
[ ]
1
[ ( ) ] [ ( ) ] ( )
( ) ˆ
LinearModel NonlinearModel L N L L
MPC
y y NQ NQ I N L Q I N L Q r d
N r d
−
− · − + − + − − ·
· ∆ −
(33)
To compare MPC with linear model and MPC with nonlinear model, we can use an
approach similar to that in section 3.2 and the two crucial elements of section 3.3 to show and
perform computations on the counterpart of eqn. (16), i.e.
r
ε
u
d
y


Controller
N Q
L
L
Eqns. (27), (28), (25)
Eqn. (29)
y
model
16
[ ( ) ] [ ( ) ]
( ) 1 ( )
L N L L N L
E E
MPC
Z
L L
E E
NQ NQ I N L Q NQ NQ I N L Q
N
I N L Q N L Q
∆ ∆
∆
∆ ∆
− + − − + −
≤ ∆ ≤
+ − − −
(34)
provided that ( ) 1
L
E
N L Q
∆
− < . If a satisfactory controller Q
L
can be designed that makes the
bounds in eqn. (34) “small enough”, then MPC with nonlinear model is not necessary.
5.1.3 MPC stability revisited
For the analysis presented in the preceding section 5.1.2 to be valid, closedloop stability must be
ensured. For that, it is necessary and sufficient that both :
L
Q u ε a and :
N
Q u ε a be input
output stable over corresponding sets, i.e. there exists a constant 0 K > such that
u K ≤ ε . (35)
Constrained MPC stability has been amply studied in literature (Nikolaou, 2001b) after
the seminal paper of Rawlings and Muske (1993). Virtually all analyses take a Lyapunov
stability approach. The main result of this approach can be summarized as “feasibility of the on
line optimization guarantees closedloop stability” (Mayne et al., 2000). While the Lyapunov
stability approach is an extremely important advancement in our understanding of MPC
behavior, an inputoutput stability approach (Willems, 1971, p. 101) could also provide
fundamental insight, by determining sets of signals (e.g., disturbances, setpoint changes, etc.)
over which stability is maintained.
5.1.4 Issues to address and potential paths of development
 Establishing input/output stability over set for Q
L
and Q
N
, is not trivial, because no closed
form expressions exist for either Q
L
or Q
N
. Any computational approach attempting explicit
enumeration of all controllers resulting from corresponding sets of constraints being active
would be hopeless for problems of industrial size. A more promising approach could be to
use the KarushKuhnTucker optimality conditions and attempt to find (preferably the
smallest) K that satisfies eqn. (35) using parametric programming ideas (a concept
successfully used by Bemporad et al. (2000) for small problems). The inputtostate stability
(ISS) concept (Sontag, 2000) may also be used to blend input/output and Lyapunov stability
over sets of inputs ε.
 Computation of incremental norms through eqn. (19) must account for the fact that Q
L
and
Q
N
, realized through online optimization, are almost everywhere linearizable, i.e. points
corresponding to changes in the set of active constraints have onesided derivatives.
 Given that MPC is a multivariable control scheme, it is natural to ask what parts of the model
employed by MPC need to be nonlinear and what parts can be handled as linear. Blending of
physical process understanding (e.g., sparsity, monotonicity) with algorithms might prove
promising in addressing the computational complexity of the problem.
 Simulation tests on multivariable test problems should reveal the limits of the approach.
5.2 Unstable nonlinear processes: Over what range can they be stabilized by linear control?
5.2.1 Problem formulation
Quantification of nonlinearity and determination of whether linear control is adequate for an
unstable system is complicated by the fact that unstable systems produce unbounded signals and,
consequently, distances between unstable operators cannot be measured in terms of standard
17
norms, but require different metrics. For example, eqn. (10) yields an unbounded quantity. The
gap metric, introduced by Zames and ElSakkary (1980) is a suitable metric that relies on
fractional representation of operators (Vidyasager, 1985) and quantifies distances of operators in
terms of distances of fraction components. We demonstrate next that the fractional
representation approach fits naturally within the framework of section 3, and can be used to
assess when linear control is adequate for an unstable nonlinear process.
5.2.2 Preliminary analysis
To stabilize a nonlinear process by a linear controller C, one can start with the standard Youla
parametrization of all linear stabilizing controllers for a linear plant L and examine whether this
controller stabilizes the actual nonlinear plant. In addition, the operating domain over which
stabilization is possible should also be examined.
To see how the basic results of section 3 can be used in this analysis, parametrize all
linear controllers C that stabilize L as
1 1
( ) ( ) ( )( )
r l r l l r l r
C Y QA X QB X B Q Y A Q
− −
· − + · + − . The
Youla parameter Q must be a proper and stable operator and the proper stable linear operators A
r
,
A
l
, B
r
, B
l
, X
r
, A
l
, Y
r
, Y
l
, for which construction formulas are well known (Vidyasagar, 1985) ,
constitute a doubly coprime factorization of L as
1 1
r r l l
L A B B A
− −
· · .
Figure 18 – Block diagram of linear
control for a nonlinear process N.
Because N is unstable, input disturbances
v must be explicitly considered to ensure
closedloop stability.
When the above controller C is used with the plant N as in Figure 18, the closedloop operators
from the external signals r and v to the signals u and y (needed to assess closedloop stability and
performance) can be explicitly expressed as
1
( ) ( ) u I CN v Cr
−
· + + ,
1
( ) ( ) y N I CN v Cr
−
· + + (36)
Note that because N is nonlinear, the effects of r and v on u and y in the righthand side of eqn.
(36) cannot be separated.
To proceed with the analysis, an obvious first step is to cons ider the cases 0 v · and
0 r · separately, and establish closedloop stability and performance on the basis of nonsingular
perturbation arguments. Thus, on the basis of linearity of the controller C, it can be shown after
a series of manipulations that,
1
0 ( )
N
r r l
v y A D X QB r
−
· ⇒ · + and
1
( )
N
r r l
u B D X QB r
−
· + (37)
1
0 ( )
N
r r l
r y A D Y QA v
−
· ⇒ · − and
1
( )
N
r r l
u B D Y QA v
−
· − (38)
where
( ) ( )
1 1
N N N N
r r l l
N A B B A
− −
· · is a doubly coprime factorization of the nonlinear operator N
(van der Schaft, 2000, note 9, p. 161; Ball and Verma, 1994; Baramov and Kimura, 1997) and
( ) ( ) ˆ
N N
r l r r l r
D Y QA B X QB A · − + + (39)
Eqns. (37) and (38) can be used in closedloop stability and performance analysis, as follows.
Stability. The stability of the closed loop depends on the existence and stability of
1
D
−
over a corresponding set. According to element (a) in section 3.3, if
1 ˆ
E
D I
∆
γ · − < (40)
C
r
e u
v
y

N
q
18
then
1
D
−
exists, is stable, and
1
1
1
Z
D
−
∆
≤
− γ
. Element (b) in section 3.3 can be used in all
computations.
Performance. If the controlled plant were equal to L, then a series of manipulations can
show that it would be
1
LinearPlant LinearPlant
D D I
−
· · (41)
and that the resulting ideal linear closed loop would be
( ) ( )
LinearPlant r r l r r l
y A Y QA v A X QB r · − + + , ( ) ( )
LinearPlant r r l r r l
u B Y QA v B X QB r · − + + (42)
Comparison of eqns. (42) with eqns. (37) and (38) provides a measure of closedloop
nonlinearity for unstable nonlinear plants. For example, when 0 v · , we have
1
( ) ( ) ˆ
N
LinearPlant r r r l
y y A A D D X RB r Mr
−
− · − + · ∆ (43)
and if eqn. (40) holds, then we can show that
1
( )
1
N
r r r l
Z
R
W M W A A D X QB
∆
∆
∆ ≤ − +
− γ
(44)
which is the counterpart of eqn. (16) for unstable nonlinear systems. Again, as in section 5.1.2,
if a linear controller Q can be designed that makes the bound in eqn. (44) “small enough”, then
nonlinear control is not necessary.
5.2.3 Issues to address and potential paths of development
 Eqns. (40) and (44) indicate that linear control will have to render ( )
N
r r
R
W A A D
∆
− and γ
“small”. Design limitations stemming from this fact should be investigated both in terms of
general rigorous results development and simulation tests.
 Computing a nonlinear coprime factorization
( ) ( )
1 1
N N N N
r r l l
N A B B A
− −
· · may be feasible
but cumbersome (van der Schaft, 2000). However, use of element (b) (p. 10) can greatly
simplify computations by requiring only a series of linear coprime factorization of N (cf.
element (b), p. 10).
 The relationship between the sets R and Z in eqn. (44) will have to be better quantified, in
order to determine sets over which stability and performance are ensured (cf. Kapoor and
Daoutidis, 1997; Scibile and Kouvaritakis, 2000; Cantoni, 1999; Zheng and Morari, 1995).
 Simulations should test and compare the approach on unstable systems that have been
studied in literature (e.g., Downs and Vogel, 1993).
5.3 Issues common to both directions of research
 How conservative is the approximation in eqn. (19) for the computation of the incremental
norm of a nonlinear operator?
 Nikolaou and Manousiouthakis (1989) have shown how the incremental norm can be
computed through the exact equality in eqn. (19), using nonsmooth optimal control. Their
approach is rigorous but cumbersome for large problems. Could it be made more efficient?
 How conservative are the inequalities (17) and (18) in the various instances of element (a) (p.
10) such as eqns. (15) and (16), (34), (40) and (44)?
 How can the proposed approach be generalized when disturbances are not additive?
 Is it more efficient (in terms of experimental data needed) to linearize a nonlinear model or to
develop a series of empirical linear models in eqn. (19)?
19
 Could steadystate information obtainable from commercial process simulators be combined
with monotonicity arguments to make the proposed approach easier to apply (see Vinson and
Georgakis (2000) for related work)?
6 Concl usi ons
In this paper we addressed the issue of linear controller design for nonlinear plants. We gave a
brief exposition of a general theory that quantifies the interplay between nonlinearity and
feedback control. The main ingredients of this theory, summarized in section 3.3, are the indices
γ, eqn. (15), and ˆ
1
γ
β
γ
·
−
, eqn. (16). The theory presented is important for controller analysis
and, more importantly, efficient controller synthesis. A number of potential extensions and
refinements were suggested. We believe that the proposed framework can be widely applicable,
especially if it is improved according to theoretical possibilities and industrial needs. As
discussed in Sidebar 1 (p. 2), the need for control of nonlinear systems exists both in mature
highvolume industries (for which the tendency towards wider integration of operations
inevitably leads to encompassing nonlinearities) as well as in emerging industries (for which
control may be essential for feasible rather than efficient process operation). However, control
systems for nonlinear processes do not have to be overly complex. Moreover, if such systems
have to be internally complex, the complexity of the design (e.g. translation of qualitative
engineering requirements to design parameter specifications), operation, and maintenance of
such systems by process engineers and operators should be low, to ensure successful
implementation (Birchfield, 1997; Downs, 2001). Our vision is to develop related tools that are
based on rigorous concepts but are not more complicated than necessary, and delegate
cumbersome computations to the computer while allowing the designer to concentrate on
important design concepts.
Acknowledgement – Partial financial support from the National Science Foundation (Grant CTS
– 9896231) is gratefully acknowledged.
7 Ref er ences Ci t ed
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