CDS 101/110

About CDS 101
CDS 101 Archive

CDS 101/110 -- Fall 2004

Analysis and Design of Feedback Systems


  • Richard Murray, 109 Steele
    Office hours: Fri, 3-4 pm or by appt


Teaching Assistants

  • Steve Waydo (head TA), Domitilla Del Vecchio, Asa Hopkins, Haomiao Huang, Hao Jiang, Mortada Mehyar, Kevin Tang
  • Consulting TAs: Steve Chapman (ChE), Demetri Spanos (CDS)
  • Office hours: Sun, 7-9 pm, 114 Steele
  • E-mail:
  • Recitation schedule


  • CDS 101: M2-3, F2-3; 74 Jorgensen
  • CDS 110: M2-3, W2-3; 74 Jorgansen

Course Overview

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.

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 9 unit class (3-0-6) 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, recitation sections, and office hours

The main course lectures are on MWF from 2–3 pm in 74 Jorgansen. CDS 101 students are not required to attend the Wednesday lectures, although they are welcome to do so. The Friday lectures are optional for CDS 110 students and will provide supplemental material on applications of control.

In addition to the main lectures, a series of problem solving (recitaiton) sessions are run by the course teaching assistants. These recitation sessions are broken up according to areas. All CDS 110 students are required to attend at least one problem solving session per week. The recitation session schedule will be determined in the first week of classes.

Instructor office hours will be on Fridays from 3-4 pm or by appointment. Students are encouraged to e-mail the instructor ahead of time to confirm availability due to travel.

TA office hours will be on Sundays from 7-9 pm in 110 Steele.


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. Late homework will not be accepted without prior permission from the instructor.

  • Midterm exam: 20%
    A midterm exam will be handed out at the beginning of midterms week (27 Oct) and due at the end of the midterm examination period (2 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 (3 Dec) and due at the end of finals week. It will be an open book exam and computers will be allowed (though not required).

Homework policy

Collaboration on homework assignments is encouraged. You may consult outside reference materials, other students, the TA, or the instructor. All solutions that are handed in should reflect your 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.


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 ITS (Caltech students only):

An online tutorial is available at

Mailing lists

A mailing list is available for students participate in the course. This mailing list will be used to announce changes to the homework, remind students of upcoming lectures, and provide information on campus events relevant to the class. A signup sheet will be handed out on the first day of the class that will be used create the mailing list. If you miss the first day of class or are participating remotely, you can subscribe to the mailing list at the following URL:

Students, staff, and faculty who are auditing the class and would like to receive announcements regarding lectures and campus events, but not detailed messages regarding homework and other course administration can sign up to the CDS 101 announcement mailing list: