Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information

Module ICE-3321:
Control Systems

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Overall aims and purpose

The module aims to establish the basic techniques of classical control system analysis and design for single input, single output systems, using both time domain and frequency response methods.

Course content

Indicative content includes:

  • Introduction to control system, revision of laplace transforms Dynamic system modelling of mechanical, electromechanical, fluid and heat flow systems; analogies between different types of physical systems. The solution of ordinary differential equations; transfer functions; block diagram representation and manipulation; characteristics of second order systems.
  • Principles of feedback; advantages and drawbacks of negative feedback; disturbance rejection; sensor noise; different types of feedback - proportional, integral and derivative. Dynamic performance indicators; steady state error; system type; regions in the s-plane related to different forms of dynamic response; stability criteria; time domain specifications.
  • Pole and zero locations; relationship to step and frequency responses. The Bode plot; gain and phase margins as measures of stability.
  • Lead compensation and its uses; lag compensation and its uses; application to improving control system performance; design guidelines and methods.
  • Using simulation software tools for control systems analysis and design.

Assessment Criteria


Equivalent to the range 70%+. Assemble critically evaluated, relevent areas of knowledge and theory to constuct professional-level solutions to tasks and questions presented. Is able to cross-link themes and aspects to draw considered conclusions. Presents outputs in a cohesive, accurate, and efficient manner.


Equivalent to 40%. Uses key areas of theory or knowledge to meet the Learning Outcomes of the module. Is able to formulate an appropriate solution to accurately solve tasks and questions. Can identify individual aspects, but lacks an awareness of links between them and the wider contexts. Outputs can be understood, but lack structure and/or coherence.


Equivalent to the range 60%-69%. Is able to analyse a task or problem to decide which aspects of theory and knowledge to apply. Solutions are of a workable quality, demonstrating understanding of underlying principles. Major themes can be linked appropriately but may not be able to extend this to individual aspects. Outputs are readily understood, with an appropriate structure but may lack sophistication.

Learning outcomes

  1. Justify, using primary performance measures, how negative feedback affects the dynamic response of a control system.

  2. Analyse a simple control system.

  3. Use a professional level CAD package.

  4. Employ low order linear mathematical models for physical systems.

  5. Design a basic compensator for a control system.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Unseen Examination 60
Design Exercise 20
Microcontroller report 20

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Practical session dealing with CAD, control systems toolbox, and microcontrollers.

Private study

Tutor-directed private study, including revision.


1 x 2 hour lectures over 12 weeks (tutorials held periodically in classes).


6 x 1 hour tutorials to support learning.


Transferable skills

  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.

Subject specific skills

  • Apply underpinning concepts and ideas of engineering;
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of electronic engineering in an international context;
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of computer systems engineering in an international context;
  • Assess and choose optimal methods and approaches for the specification, design, implementation and evaluation of engineering solutions, especially ones that include embedded microprocessors
  • Formulate and analyse requirements and practical constraints of products, processes and services, place them in an engineering context and manage their implementation;
  • Solve problems logically and systematically;
  • Assess and choose optimal methods and approaches for the specification, design, implementation and evaluation of engineering solutions.
  • Use both verbal and written communication skills to different target audiences;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with relevant subject specific and general computer software packages.

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: