CDS 101/110a, Fall 2012

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CDS 101/110a Schedule Recitations Piazza AM08 (errata)

This is the homepage for CDS 101 (Analysis and Design of Feedback Systems) and CDS 110 (Introduction to Control Theory) for Fall 2012.



  • Doug MacMartin (MacMynowski),
  • Richard Murray,
  • Lectures: MW, 2-3 pm, 105 Annenberg; recitation F 2-3 pm
    • CDS 110a recitation is in 105 Annenberg; and
    • CDS 101 recitation is in 110 Steele.
  • Office hours (128 Steele): Mondays, 11 am-12 pm (pls email to confirm!)
  • Prior years: FA06, FA07,FA08, FA09, FA10, FA11

Teaching Assistants (

  • Marcella Gomez (head-TA)
  • Scott Livingston
  • Jerry Cruz
  • Krishna Shankar
  • Office hours:
    • Mon 3-5 pm in 121 ANB (except on 29 Oct)
    • Tue 6-8 pm in 328 SFL

Course Ombuds: Jay Qi, Yifei Huang,



Homework/Exam Statistics

Note that the solutions can also be obtained from the course schedule page after the homework for that week has been handed in. Solutions are only available from within the domain.

Course Syllabus


CDS 101/110 provides an introduction to feedback and control in physical, biological, engineering, and information sciences. Basic principles of feedback and its use as a tool for altering the dynamics of systems and managing uncertainty. Key themes throughout the course will include input/output response, modeling and model reduction, linear versus nonlinear models, and local versus global behavior. The course has several variants:

  • CDS 101 is a 6 unit (2-0-4) class intended for advanced students in science and engineering who are interested in the principles and tools of feedback control, but not the 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 stronger mathematical background, including working knowledge of linear algebra and ODEs. Familiarity with complex variables (Laplace transforms, residue theory) is helpful but not required.

Lectures and Recitations

The main course lectures are on MW from 2--3 pm in 105 Annenberg. CDS 101 students are not required to attend the Wednesday lectures, although they are welcome to do so. In addition to the main lectures, a series of problem solving (recitation) sessions are run by the course teaching assistants and given on Fridays from 2--3 pm, starting in the second week of class. (There will be a lecture in ANB 105 the first Friday.) The recitation session locations will be determined in the first week of classes and will be posted on the course web page.

The TAs will hold office hours on Tuesdays 6--8 pm, SFL 328, or by appointment earlier.


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

  • Homework (50%): Homework sets will be handed out weekly and due on Wednesdays by 5 pm to box F outside of 102 Steele. Late homework will not be accepted without a note from the health center or the Dean; please plan your time accordingly. MATLAB or Python code are considered part of your solution and should be printed and turned in with the problem set (whether the problem asks for it or not).
  • Midterm exam (20%): A midterm exam will be handed out at the beginning of midterms period (31 Oct) and due at the end of the midterm examination period (6 Nov). The midterm exam will be open book and computers will be allowed (though not required).
  • Final exam (30%): The final exam will be handed out on the last day of class (7 Dec) and due on Friday of finals week (Dec 14). It will be an open book exam and computers will be allowed (though not required).

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. Python or MATLAB 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.


Computer exercises will be assigned as part of the regular homeworks. The exercises are designed to be done either in MATLAB, using the Control Toolbox, or in Python. SIMULINK may be useful but is not required. Caltech has a site license for Matlab and it may be obtained from IMSS (Caltech students only). An online tutorial is available at

Course Text and References

The primary course text is Feedback Systems: An Introduction for Scientists and Engineers by Åström and Murray (2008). This book is available in the Caltech bookstore and via download from the companion web site. The following additional references may also be useful:

  • A. D. Lewis, A Mathematical Approach to Classical Control, 2003. Online access.

In addition to the books above, the textbooks below may also be useful. They are available in the library (non-reserve), from other students, or you can order them online.

  • 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.

Course Schedule

A detailed course schedule is available on the course schedule page (also shown on the "menu bar" at the top of each course page).

Old Announcements

  • Aug 9, website created, currently under construction

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