Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering Department



Professor John T. Wen, CII 8213, x8744 (voice), x4897 (fax),

wenj@rpi.edu , http://www.cat.rpi.edu/~wen

Office Hours: M 3:00-4:00, T 1:00-2:00 or by appointment (conducted in CII 8213)

Teaching Assistant:

     Rafael Quintanilla, quintanilla@cat.rpi.edu, x2973    

     Office Hours:  T 4:00-5:00, Th 10:00-11:00


    Melissa Reardon, JEC 6049, x6313

ECSE. 4440  Control Systems Engineering or ENGR-4050 Modeling and Control of Dynamical Systems

In-class Group Sessions

T 8:30am-9:50am (for reviewing topics in dynamical system modeling and feedback control, introducing and providing background for the design projects)

Shop Hours (in JEC 4304)

W 6:00pm-9:00pm (for design discussion, presentation, and review) 


All sessions will meet in the control studio classroom, JEC 4304.  All students are required to attend all sessions.  You must have a valid excuse for absence. 


A detailed description of the class schedule can be found at http://www.cat.rpi.edu/~wen/ECSE446S05/outline.htm



Course grade is based on

For the final project report, 35% of the grade will be based on the quality of the writing (independent of the technical content).  All written reports should be submitted first to the RPI Writing Center for review before handing in.  See the RPI technical writing guide

Evaluation forms: conceptual design memo, project proposal, progress report, final report, oral presentations, teamwork

Students will work in groups of four (except with instructor’s permission).  Overall grade is determined by both group performance (in terms of project reports and demonstration) and individual participation (oral presentations, in-lab participation, evaluation by group partners, instructor, and TA).  You are expected to come to every lecture and shop session unless you have the instructor’s prior approval.

Students will email the instructor with the following information:

ü      Control related background in terms course preparation beyond the pre-requisite, other experience and interests related to control, e.g., co-op, summer jobs, URP, hobby, etc.

ü      Assessment of own strength, e.g., programming, circuit design, instrumentation, mechanical design, machining, etc.

ü      Preference of teammate characteristics, including technical strength, a specific student, etc.

Based on this information, you will be assigned a group in the first shop hour.      


There is a 10%/day penalty for late submission (including weekend days, holidays, spring break, etc.).  Documents submitted after 1 week from the original due date will not be accepted and will receive a grade of 0.

Content and formatting requirements for the project proposal, lab notebook, final presentation, and final report are contained in separate handouts. The evaluation sheets provided are subject to minor changes.

For the teamwork grade, you will provide a subjective evaluation of each of your partners based on:

  • Contribution to conceptualization, design, implementation, tuning, and debugging of project
  • Participation in design reviews, written reports, and oral presentations
  • Contact with instructor and TA
  • Professional conduct

Course Content

This is a team-based control system design course centered around a semester-long project.  The control system design principles include conceptual system design, components selection, modeling and simulation using computer-aided control design tools, and real-time programming.  Each team will propose, present, design, evaluate, and test a working control system.  Evaluation of each team's performance is based on individual contribution, intermediate and final project presentations and reports, and final system demonstration.

Course Homepage    
http://www.cat.rpi.edu/~wen/ECSE446S05   Questions may be sent to the instructor and the TA and the answer will be broadcasted to all students. 

For reference, you may access the course homepage from 2003 and 2004:

There is no formal text for the course.  As a reference on engineering design for electrical engineers, Engineering Design for Electrical Engineers by Alan D. Wilcox, Prentice Hall, 1990, is available in the bookstore.  Additional references on engineering design are on reserve in the library under ECSE-4961.


Books on reserve in library related to control systems design

Franklin, Powell, and Emami-Naeini, Feedback Control of Dynamical Systems, Addison-Wesley, 1990, 3rd Edition. 

Frederick and Chow, Feedback Control Problems using MATLAB & Control System Toolbox, PWS Publishing, 1995. 

Leonard and Levine: Using MATLAB to Analyze and Design Control Systems (2nd Ed.), Benjamin/Cummings Publishing, 1995.

Saadat: Computational Aids in Control Systems using MATLAB, McGraw-Hill, 1993.

B. Kuo: Automatic Control Systems, 1995

R. Dorf: Modern Control Systems, 1995

C. Phillips and R. Harbor, Feedback Control Systems, 1995

Computer Aided Design Tools

The design project will make use of MATLAB version 6.5 (with control systems toolbox) and Simulink for design analysis and simulation; they are available on RCS and computers in the control studio classroom.  For real-time programming, you will need to use Real Time Workshop (RTW) and xPC Target which are available in the control studio classroom and CII 2037.

Useful links on Control Systems Design using MATLAB/Simulink

Control Tutorial for MATLAB and Simulink: http://www.engin.umich.edu/group/ctm/

A Virtual Control Library: http://www.cds.caltech.edu/extras/Virtual_Library/Control_VL.html

A collection of MATLAB links: http://www.mathworks.com/products/education/basics.shtml


Honor Code

You are expected to communicate to the instructor any issue related to your performance in the class ahead of time.  This includes absence from class meetings, late assignments, inability to perform assigned work, problems with your group members, the need for extra time for assignment, questions about grading, etc.  You should be prepared to provide sufficient proof of any circumstances on which you are making a special request as outlined in the Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Students with disabilities should inform the instructor of their needs at the beginning of the semester. Students must register as disabled in order to receive proper attention and benefits.  Please contact Debra Hamilton (Assistant Dean of Students, ext. 2746,
hamild@rpi.edu). Students who cannot attend some classes due to religious observance should inform the instructor at the beginning of the semester.

Cheating and academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. All your course work should provide an honest effort in solving the assigned problem by yourself and your group partners.  You are encouraged to discuss course material and problems with other students, but your group’s solution must be your own, with no copying or sharing of software code. If you are inspired by another work, or if you are extending an existing approach, you should explicitly cite this work. Any student found to have participated in academic dishonesty will receive an “F” in the class, and may be subject to further disciplinary action. The University Code of Academic Integrity prohibits students from committing the following acts of academic dishonesty: academic fraud (e.g. changing solutions to appeal a grade), copying or allowing one’s work to be copied, collaboration (e.g. giving out old project reports for others to reuse), fabrication/falsification, plagiarism, sabotage of others’ work, substitution (e.g. doing a project for someone else). For more details, see

Letter grades will not be assigned until the end of the class, after the final project report has been graded. Any letter grade assignment posted before the end of the class should be regarded as tentative and subject to change. For grade appeals procedures, see

Back to course Homepage

Email: wen@cat.rpi.edu