CDS 101/110a, Fall 2009

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

This is the homepage for CDS 101 (Analysis and Design of Feedback Systems) and CDS 110 (Introduction to Control Theory) for Fall 2009.

WARNING: This is the webpage for a previous year of the class. If that is not what you want, go find the current year!


  • Doug MacMynowski,
  • Lectures: MW, 2-3 pm, 74 JRG; recitation F 2-3 pm
  • Office hours (DGM): Mondays, 11-12 am (by appt!)
  • Prior years: FA06, FA07FA08

Teaching Assistants (cds101-tas@cds)

  • Francisco (cisco) Zabala, head TA
  • Andrea Censi, Aristo Asimakopoulos, Ophelia Venturelli, Noele Norris
  • Office hours: Fri 4--5 pm, Sun 4--5 pm in 114 STL

Course Ombuds

  • Jeff Amelang



  • 14 Dec 09: Final is graded: average CDS 110: 38/60, CDS 101: 22/40. (Note that the only thing that matters for the grade is how well you do relative to the rest of the class.)
  • 9 Dec 09: HW #8 - CDS 101 17.5/20, CDS 110:
  • 3 Dec 09: HW #7 graded: average CDS 110: 55/60 (12.5 hrs... oops!) CDS 101: 23/30
  • 2 Dec 09: The third equation on slide 6 of L9-1 is just completely and utterly wrong. (Other than that there are two zeros and a gain.) I uploaded a new version with minor correction.
  • 25 Nov 09: NOTE: no office hours Friday Nov 27 or Sunday Nov 29; office hours will be Monday & Tuesday 4--5pm
  • 23 Nov 09: HW #6 graded: average CDS110: 50/60 (9 hrs), CDS 101: 27/30
  • 17 Nov 09: HW #5 graded: average CDS 101: 28/35 (5 hrs), CDS 110: 64/70 (11 hrs)
  • 16 Nov 09: HW #7 is available. You may find the following useful for the final problem: maglev.m.

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.
  • CDS 210/212 will be taught by Genti Buzi; this is an advanced version of the course for CDS graduate students and others interested in a more theoretical approach to the material. CDS 110 lectures are optional for 210/212 students who want the additional background.

Lectures and Recitations

The main course lectures are on MW from 2--3 pm in 74 Jorgensen. 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. 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 Fridays from 4--5 pm and Sundays from 4--6 pm in 114 Steele (CDS library).


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 Mondays by 5 pm to the box outside of 102 Steele. Students are allowed three grace periods of two days each that can be used at any time (but no more than 1 grace period per homework set). Late homework beyond the grace period will not be accepted without a note from the health center or the Dean. MATLAB code and SIMULINK diagrams 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 (28 Oct) and due at the end of the midterm examination period (3 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 (4 Dec) and due on Thursday of finals week. 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. 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 in MATLAB, using the Control Toolbox and SIMULINK. Caltech has a site license for this software 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

  • 16 Nov 09: Michelle's modification of amnyquist to plot the unit circle: mjnyquist.m
  • 9 Nov 09: HW #6 is available. Some useful files: ambode.m, amnyquist.m, arrow.m
  • 4 Nov 09: MT average: CDS 101: 30/40, CDS 110: 41/50
  • 2 Nov 09: HW #4 average: CDS 101: 18/20, 8 hrs, CDS 110: 53/60 (s.d. = 7), 10 hrs
  • 26 Oct 09: HW #3 average: CDS 101: 20/25, CDS 110: 49/60
  • 23 Oct 09: NOTE: Today only, CDS 101 recitation in 206 Thomas at the usual time (2pm)
  • 21 Oct 09: HW #2 average: CDS 101: 17/20, 6hrs, CDS 110: 40/50, 10hrs
  • 19 Oct 09: HW #4 is available; required files: bike_linmod.m
  • 19 Oct 09: HW #1 average: CDS 101: 18/20, CDS 110: 51/60
  • 13 Oct 09: Note that there was a minor typo in the version of HW#3 that was posted last night (problem 1(a) and 1(b) were numbered as 1(a) and 2 instead)
  • 12 Oct 09: HW #3 required files: balance_simple.mdl
  • 5 Oct 09: HW #2 files: Any required files will typically be posted here, under announcements; for this week you need phaseplot.m, try it with boxgrid.m for neater looking plots.
  • 5 Oct 09: HW #2 is available (follow the schedule link and look under week 2); in general you can assume that the week's homework will be available by the end of Monday without an announcement being made. The solutions to any homework will be available after the grace period has expired.
  • 2 Oct 09: MATLAB/SIMULINK Tutorial (see schedule)
  • 2 Oct 09: Note that the mp3 for Wednesday's lecture was not usable (sorry!) You can follow the links to last-year's course website FA08 and listen to the first lecture; the content will be similar aside from my name, TA names, and a few dates.
  • 1 Oct 09: Simulink for HW#1 (Exercise 1.4): cruise_control.mdl
  • 30 Sep 09: Course background survey: survey. If you did not get one in class, please fill out and hand in on Friday. If you will not be / were not in class today (Wed 30 Sep) please email me so we can add you to the class email list.
  • 27 Sep 09: CDS 101 students please attend the first Wed lecture on Sep 30!
  • 08 Jul 09: created course wiki
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