CDS 110b, Winter 2010

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CDS 110b Schedule Course text

This is the homepage for CDS 110b (Introduction to Control Theory) for Winter 2010.


  • Doug MacMynowski,
  • Lectures: M 2-3 pm, W 1-3 pm, 214 Steele
  • Office hours: Mondays, 11-12 am (by appt!)
  • Prior years: WI07WI08 WI09

Teaching Assistants (cds110-tas@cds)

  • Andrea Censi
    • please send email requests to cds110-tas@cds, which is read also by Doug.
  • Office hours: Fridays, 2--3 pm in 114 Steele (CDS library).



  • 3 Mar 10: Final exam will be handed out in class next Wed 3/10, due the following Wed.

Course Syllabus


CDS 110b focuses on intermediate topics in control theory, including optimal control methods, stochastic systems, state estimation using Kalman filters, and modern control design techniques. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to design and analyze control systems of moderate complexity


The main course lectures are on M from 2--3 pm and W 1--3pm in 214 Steele.

The TA will hold office hours on Fridays, 3--4 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 (3 Feb) and due at the end of the midterm examination period (9 Feb). 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 (10 Mar) and due at the end of finals (Wed 17 Mar). 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 texts are Optimization-based Control by Murray, 2008 (for the first 7 weeks), and Feedback Control Theory for the final few weeks of the quarter.

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

  • 11 Feb 10: Midterm solutions are posted on schedule page (please do not circulate these outside of the current class).
  • 8 Feb 10: Data file for HW #5: GEMdat.mat. Please look at this early; you WILL want to ask questions in office hours.
  • 6 Feb 10: Solution matrices for HW #4, problem 1: (J1 and J2 are the value function (cost-to-go) from the respective node for cases 1 and 2; D1 and D2 give the optimal direction ("1"=south, "0"=east) at each node). DPsolns.mat
  • 27 Jan 10: Since no-one objected to moving office hours, they will henceforth be at 2--3 on Fridays
  • 27 Jan 10: Cost matrices for use in HW #4, problem 1: (JS and JE are the costs for traveling south or east, respectively). costs.mat
  • 20 Jan 10: You might also find these notes useful on optimization: Optimization
  • 19 Jan 10: HW #3 is posted, and solutions to HW #1
  • 13 Jan 10: Only the first hour of today's lecture got recorded (the iPhone stops recording when you get a phone call...)
  • 11 Jan 10: HW #2 is posted (note "OBC" means "Optimization-Based Control", the text. On HW, that is simply FYI, since the problem is fully reproduced in the HW.)
  • 6 Jan 10: Today's lecture successfully recorded! (Follow mp3 link for this lecture on schedule page.)
  • 22 Dec 09: During first lecture on Jan 4, we will determine whether there are better lecture times for everyone!
  • 22 Dec 09: Course website created
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