[From Bruce Abbott (2013.12.21.0920 EST)]
Lately I’ve been promoting the idea of viewing some lectures on classical control theory by control systems engineer Brian Douglas, which are available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/ControlLectures/videos . When you visit the site, screen-shot icons representing only the most recent of these videos are show; if you visit this site, be sure to scroll down to the bottom to the “load more” button and click on it to reveal the earlier videos of the series. I’ve discovered that they are ordered from right to left and from bottom to top, so to watch them in order, begin with the single bottom video, then move up a row to the rightmost video, then middle, then leftmost, and so on. The earliest videos generally provide the most basic information.
As I’ve explained before, Douglas discusses these topics from an control engineer’s perspective, so the vocabulary is a bit different from what we are used to in PCT (for example, “output” is the observed state of a variable and “input” can be the adjustment device for an open-loop system such as the rheostat dial that adjusts the current to a motor, or the reference of a closed-loop control system). But Douglas does an excellent job of describing basic concepts and analytical techniques relating to control theory and for that reason I found these lectures illuminating.
However, Rick Marken doesn’t think so and recommends NOT watching any of them. Given that, I’d have to say (not wishing to argue about it) that when you’re NOT watching the videos, you might try NOT starting with the bottom video on the list and NOT working your way up until you find that you’re not really getting anything useful from them. That way you WON’T find your mind getting contaminated by all that control theory nonsense that control systems engineers are always confusing us all with, like stability, transfer functions, Laplace transformations, and Bode (pronounced “Bo-dee”) plots.