Hybrid control systems: Advances in simulation, tools predicted

In the next few years, the hybrid control systems approach combined with the statechart programming model will gain popularity; plan now to learn more.


In the July 2008 North American edition of Control Engineering , author Krzysztof Pietrusewicz, Ph.D., discusses the aspects of complex control that make a hybrid system—hierarchical organization of discrete and continuous states, and multitasking processes with different sampling times—and describes how statecharts are a very convenient way to model the hybrid control system.

Pietrusewicz predicts that, in a few years, the hybrid control systems approach combined with the statechart programming model will “gain popularity due to its task-oriented approach for programming industrial control devices like PLCs or PACs.” Tools like National Instrument’s LabVIEW Statechart Module for PACs and Matlab/Stateflow combined with B&R’s AR4Matlab are very cost-effective solutions for programming complex hybrid control systems, he says. “The statechart fits well with the hybrid control systems description and is likely to become the most popular language for programming complex control systems,” he adds.

More tools are becoming available for modeling, simulation, validation, and compilation of hybrid control systems. Simultaneously, groups of researchers are engaging in projects connected with the hybrid systems. Pietrusewiczoncerning robust control, as well as hybrid systems. Tools prepared by his team include:

  • Multi-Parametric Toolbox (MPT)– a Matlab toolbox for multi-parametric optimization and computational geometry; and

  • HYSDEL– Hybrid Systems DEscription Language for modeling the complex continuous-discrete systems.

Alberto Bemporad, author of the Model Predictive Control toolbox for Matlab and Hybrid Control Toolbox, is with the Control and Optimization of Hybrid and Embedded Systems (COHES) group at the University of Siena.

Online, there is list of research groups on hybrid control systems , including:

  • Control and Optimization of Hybrid and Embedded Systems (COHES), University of Siena, Information Engineering Department;

  • Center for Hybrid and Embedded Software and Systems (CHESS), University of California, Berkeley, EECS;

  • Hybrid Systems Group, University of Pennsylvania;

  • Multi-Agent, Robotics, Hybrid and Embedded Systems (MARHES) Laboratory, Oklahoma State University, Electrical & Computer Engineering;

  • Hamilton Institute, NUI Maynooth;

  • University of Ferrara, Department of Engineering;

  • Delft Center for Systems and Control, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands; and

  • Center of Excellence DEWS, University of L’Aquila, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

The complete article, “ Modeling Hybrid Control Systems ,” is available online. Krzysztof Pietrusewicz, Ph.D., teaches at the Institute of Control Engineering, Szczecin University of Technology, in Szczecin, Poland. He is also editor for Control Engineering Poland . Reach him at krzysztof.pietrusewicz@ps.pl , or kp@controlengpolska.com

— Edited by Renee Robbins , senior editor
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