CDS 101/110a, Fall 2011

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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 2011.


  • Doug MacMynowski,
  • Lectures: MW, 2-3 pm, 105 Annenberg; recitation F 2-3 pm (see announcement below)
  • Office hours (128 Steele): Mondays, 11-12 am (pls email to confirm!)
  • Prior years: FA06, FA07,FA08, FA09, FA10

Teaching Assistants (

  • Jerry Cruz
  • Marcella Gomez
  • Keir Gonyea
  • Robert Karol
  • Rangoli Sharan
  • Office hours: Fri 3-4 pm (114 Steele) and Sun 3-5 pm in 328 SFL



  • 4 Dec 11: Due to a technical error, lecture 10.1 was not recorded.
  • 19 Nov 11: Note that HW #8 will be due Wed Nov 30. There will be no recitation next week, and office hours will be Monday Nov 28 (4-5pm) and Tues Nov 29 (8:30-10:30pm) rather than over Thanksgiving weekend. Both office hours will be in 328 SFL.

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.

  • Dec 14: Here are the statistics for over all grade for the course. CDS 110 and 101 will be given letter grades on their own curve.
    • CDS 110: Average score = 77.06% (sigma = 11.73%)
    • CDS 101: Average score = 75.41% (sigma = 18.70%).
  • Dec 14: Final is graded. The following statistics are for finals only, not combined overall grade. Solutions will not be available online to prevent wide distribution. You may request a printed copy from the instructor.
    • CDS 110: Average score = 35.64/60 (sigma = 10.81)
    • CDS 101: Average score = 22.61/40 (sigma = 10.54)
  • Dec 14: Homework 8 is graded. Solutions are available here.
    • CDS 110: Average score = 36.6/45 (sigma = 6.29); average time = 10 hours
    • CDS 101: Average score = 8.81/10 (sigma = 1.25); average time = N/A (not enough feedback)
  • Dec 2: Homework 7 is graded. Solutions are available here.
    • CDS 110: Average score = 47.13/52 (sigma = 5.09); average time = 10 hours
    • CDS 101: Average score = 12.08/15 (sigma = 2.64); average time = 5.3 hours
  • Nov 28: Homework 6 is graded. Solutions are available here.
    • CDS 110: Average score = 36.65/39 (sigma = 5.06); average time = 7.38 hours
    • CDS 101: Average score = 8.34/10 (sigma = 2.51); average time = 4 hours
  • Nov 28: Homework 5 is graded. Solutions are available here.
    • CDS 110: Average score = 58.68/63 (sigma = 6.53); average time = 10.7 hours
    • CDS 101: Average score = 29.77/33 (sigma = 6.22); average time = 5.6 hours
  • Nov 19: Grade distribution with A, B, C etc that was presented in class: histogram with grades
  • Nov 7: Grade distribution for CDS 110a grade on midterm and overall as of midterm (%), and for 101: grade on midterm and overall as of midterm (%).
  • Oct 30: Homework 4 is graded. Solutions are available here.
    • CDS 110: Average score = 38.90/45 (sigma = 5.01); average time = 8.5 hours
    • CDS 101: Average score = 9.61/10 (sigma = 1.39); average time = 3 hours
  • Oct 30: Homework 3 is graded. Solutions are available here.
    • CDS 110: Average score = 41.52/50 (sigma = 3.74); average time = 10 hours
    • CDS 101: Average score = 15.45/20 (sigma = 3.21); average time = 5 hours
  • Oct 20: Homework 2 is graded. Solutions are available here.
    • CDS 110: Average score = 52.65/60 (sigma = 6.46); average time = 9.32 hours
    • CDS 101: Average score = 21.41/25 (sigma = 4.33); average time = 4.83 hours
  • Oct 10: Homework 1 is graded. Solutions are available here.
    • CDS 110: Average score = 48.9/55 (sigma = 4.99); average time = 8 hours
    • CDS 101: Average score = 23.9/25 (sigma = 1.37); average time = 3 hours

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 206 Thomas. 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 first 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 in 114 Steele and Sundays from 3--5 pm in xxx SFL (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 box F 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 (26 Oct) and due at the end of the midterm examination period (1 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 (2 Dec) and due on Thursday of finals week (Dec 8). 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. SIMULINK may be useful but is not required. 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

  • 7 Nov 11: HW #6 is available. Some useful files: ambode.m, amnyquist.m, arrow.m, and Michelle's modification of amnyquist to plot the unit circle: mjnyquist.m.
  • Oct 28: FYI, code used in the matlab review at the beginning of the quarter is available here and on the schedule page.
  • Oct 28: Week 5 lectures weren't recorded, but you are welcome to listen to last year's, follow the link to 2010 course web page above.
  • Oct 28: Solutions to HW #3 and #4 are available here, and here and on the course schedule page.
  • Oct 20: Matlab file for HW #4: bike_linmod.m
  • Oct 10: Simulation files for HW #3: cartpend.m, cartpend_model.m, balance_simple.mdl
  • Oct 03: HW #2 files: For this week's homework, you can use phaseplot.m, try it with boxgrid.m for neater looking plots.
  • Sep 28: Note: (i) Friday office hours are 3-4. (ii) Friday recitations will be in 306 Thomas and 105 Annenberg this week, and (iii) we'll do two matlab tutorials, one on Saturday 11-12 and one on Sunday 2-3 (before office hours).
  • Sep 28: NOTE: class will be in 105 Annenberg starting today!
  • Sep 28: There will be an optional Matlab tutorial on Sunday Oct 2 at time 2-3 in 328 SFL (aimed at people who are not at all familiar with Matlab.) Sunday office hours will be at the regular time of 3-5pm (correction to what was earlier posted).
  • Sep 19: Recitation rooms: cds101: 110 Steele, and cds110a: Either 206 Thomas or 306 Thomas
  • Sep 19: CDS 101 students may find the first week's Wednesday lecture on modeling useful

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