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Concept# Controllability

Summary

Controllability is an important property of a control system and plays a crucial role in many control problems, such as stabilization of unstable systems by feedback, or optimal control.
Controllability and observability are dual aspects of the same problem.
Roughly, the concept of controllability denotes the ability to move a system around in its entire configuration space using only certain admissible manipulations. The exact definition varies slightly within the framework or the type of models applied.
The following are examples of variations of controllability notions which have been introduced in the systems and control literature:
State controllability
Output controllability
Controllability in the behavioural framework
The state of a deterministic system, which is the set of values of all the system's state variables (those variables characterized by dynamic equations), completely describes the system at any given time. In particular, no information on the past of a system is needed to help in predicting the future, if the states at the present time are known and all current and future values of the control variables (those whose values can be chosen) are known.
Complete state controllability (or simply controllability if no other context is given) describes the ability of an external input (the vector of control variables) to move the internal state of a system from any initial state to any final state in a finite time interval.
That is, we can informally define controllability as follows:
If for any initial state and any final state there exists an input sequence to transfer the system state from to in a finite time interval, then the system modeled by the state-space representation is controllable. For the simplest example of a continuous, LTI system, the row dimension of the state space expression determines the interval; each row contributes a vector in the state space of the system. If there are not enough such vectors to span the state space of , then the system cannot achieve controllability.

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