Education and Qualification for Control and Automation

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Abstract

Engineering education has seen an explosion of interest in recent years, fueled simultaneously by reports from both industry and academia. Automatic control education has recently become a core issue for the international control community. This has occurred in tandem with the explosion of interest in engineering education as a whole. The applications of control are growing rapidly. There is an increasing interest in control from researchers from outside of traditionally control-based fields such as aeronautics, chemical, mechanical, and electrical engineering. Recently control and systems theory have had much to offer to nontraditional control fields such as biology, biomedicine, finance, actuarial science, and the social sciences as well as transportation and telecommunications networks. Complementary, innovative developments of control and systems theory have been motivated and inspired by complex real-world problems. These new developments present huge challenges in control education. Meeting these challenges will require a multifaceted approach by the control community that includes new approaches to teaching, new preparations for facing new theoretical control and systems theory problems, and a critical review of the status quo. This chapter discusses these new challenges as well as new approaches to education and outreach. This chapter starts by presenting an argument towards the future of controls as the application of control theory expands into new and unique disciplines. It provides two case studies of nontraditional areas where control theory has been applied: finance and biomedicine. These two case studies show a high potential for using powerful fundamental principles and tools of automatic control in research with an interdisciplinary nature. The chapter then outlines current and future pedagogical approaches being employed in control education, particularly introductory courses, around the world. It concludes with a discussion about the role of scholarship, teaching, and learning in control education both now and in the coming years.