Stabilization of control systems: From the water clocks to the regulation of rivers

Jean-Michel Coron, Université Pierre et Marie Curie
Fine Hall 314

A control system is a dynamical system on which one can act by using controls. For these systems a fundamental problem is the stabilization issue: Is it possible to stabilize a given unstable equilibrium by using suitable feedback laws? (Think to the classical experiment of an upturned broomstick on the tip of one's finger.) On this problem, we present some pioneer devices and works (Ktesibios, Watt, Maxwell, Lyapunov...), some more recent results, and an application to the regulation of the rivers La Sambre and La Meuse in Belgium. A special emphasize is put on positive or negative effects of the nonlinearities.