Introductory Control Teaching with Idioms

The Control Idiom originated partly as a Process Control teaching concept. The usual introductory academic (Chemical Engineering) control course focuses on continuous feedback control loops of a single variable. This focus is necessary because of the associated unfamiliar mathematics. But it does not allow a clear sense of the real applications which may contain thousands of such loops, and it does not build a real appreciation of full scale traditional practice. By omission, it leaves the impression that multi-loop systems must therefore require explicitly multi-loop technology. A better perspective would be achieved if the initial class, in a course, included discussion of larger applications in terms of their documented Intent using Idioms (with their implied standard practice).

One could even lead a short vote for a favorite process (a project process? or a summer employment experience process?) followed by a question answer session on the important controlled and constrained variables followed by a quick discussion of degrees of freedom. The teacher could then show the Idiom notation for the result. All maybe in a half hour.?.?

The included Idiom Documentation Tool could be used in this context. Then as the course developed, the single loop work could be related to the usages of that loop in the larger context, using the tool to emphasize the bigger picture.