On the conceptualization of automatic control

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Control Conference


Critical to the progress in any branch of science, automatic control included, is the perpetual reflection on the basic conceptions and assumptions. As researchers of automatic control on both sides of the Pacific Ocean take note of the past achievements, current challenges, and future opportunities, it is imperative that we once again return to the roots, to reconnect to the “empirical force”, as Prof. John von Neumann puts it, that inspired and shaped the field of automatic control at the beginning. After well over a half century of rapid developments in theory and timid progress in practice, we scrutinize, in this paper, the very notion of feedback as the single idea upon which the entire field rests. We show a distinctly different conceptualization of automatic control that gives us hope for a bright future.