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Control engineering or control systems engineering is the engineering discipline that applies control theory to design systems with desired behaviors. The practice uses sensors to measure the output performance of the device being controlled and those measurements can be used to give feedback to the input actuators that can make corrections toward desired performance. When a device is designed to perform without the need of human inputs for correction it is called automatic control (such as cruise control for regulating the speed of a car). Multi-disciplinary in nature, control systems engineering activities focus on implementation of control systems mainly derived by mathematical modeling of systems of a diverse range.[2]

Big ideas in control[edit]

Centralized control systems[edit]

Distributed systems[edit]


  • Discuss a range of control systems.
  • Outline the uses of microprocessors and sensor input in control systems.
  • Evaluate different input devices for the collection of data in specified situations.
  • Explain the relationship between a sensor, the processor and an output transducer.
  • Describe the role of feedback in a control system.
  • Discuss the social impacts and ethical considerations associated with the use of embedded systems.
  • Compare a centrally controlled system with a distributed system.
  • Outline the role of autonomous agents acting within a larger system.


Produce a plan, simulation or model.

Offer a considered and balanced review that includes a range of arguments, factors or hypotheses. Opinions or conclusions should be presented clearly and supported by appropriate evidence.

Give a brief account.

Assess the implications and limitations; make judgments about the ideas, works, solutions or methods in relation to selected criteria.

Give a detailed account including reasons or causes.

Give a detailed account or picture of a situation, event, pattern or process.