When is the discretization of a spatially distributed system good enough for control?

Bryn L Jones, E C Kerrigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes a new and straightforward method for controlling spatially distributed plants based on low-order models obtained from spatial discretization techniques. A suitable level of discretization is determined by computing the sequence of v-gaps between weighted models of successively finer spatial resolution, and bounding this by another sequence with an analytic series. It is proved that such a series forms an upper bound on the v-gap between a weighted model in the initial sequence and the spatially distributed weighted plant. This enables the synthesis, on low-order models, of robust controllers that are guaranteed to stabilize the actual plant, a feature not shared by most model reduction methods where the gap between the high-order model and plant is often not known, and where the gap between high-order and reduced models may be too expensive to compute. Since the calculation of the current bound is based on weighted models of small state-dimension, the new method avoids the numerical problems inherent in large-scale model reduction based approaches. The ideas presented in this paper are demonstrated on a disturbance rejection problem for a 1D heat equation. (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1462-1468
Number of pages7
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Automation & Control Systems
  • Engineering, Electrical & Electronic


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