Although feedback has been used for hundreds of years the discipline of control emerged in the 1940s. Control being the first systems discipline was a paradigm shift that fitted poorly in structures organized in civil, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering. The field has developed very rapidly and control systems are now ubiquitous in engineering. The lecture presents some reflections on the dynamic development of the field the driving forces and the achievements. A brief overview of the historical development is given, development of the central ideas will be discussed and important application areas described. The interplay of theory and applications are discussed together with relations to specific engineering disciplines and mathematics, computer science, physics and biology. It is attempted to assess the current status of the field and to speculate about its future development. An explanation of the title will also be given.
Karl Johan Åström was educated at The Royal Institute in Stocholm. After working for IBM Research for five years he was appointed Professor of the Chair of Automatic Control at Lund Institute of Technology (LTH)/Lund University where he established a new department. In 1999 he became Emeritus in Lund and part time professor at UCSB. Åström has broad interests in automatic control including, stochastic control, modeling, system identification, adaptive control, computer control and computer-aided control engineering. He is listed in ISAHighlyCited and he has Erdös number 3. One paper on self-tuning control, co-authored with B. Wittenmark, was selected for the IEEE Book Control Theory: Twenty-five seminal papers 1932-81. He has several patents, one on automatic tuning of PID controllers, held jointly with T. Hägglund, has led to substantial production. Åström is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA). He is a Fellow of IEEE and IFAC, a foreign member of the US National Academy of Engineering, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Åström has received many honors among them six honorary doctorates, the 1987 Quazza Medal from IFAC, the 1993 IEEE Medal of Honor and the 2002 Great Gold Medal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering.