Experiences With an Experimental Project in a Graduate Control Course


  • Edward P. Gatzke University of Delaware
  • Rajanikanth Vadigepalli University of Delaware
  • Edward S. Meadows University of Delaware
  • Francis J. Doyle, III University of Delaware


This paper describes use of a laboratory experiment at the University of Delaware as part of a graduate-level process control class.  The experiment is a four-tank system that exhibits multivariable interactions and rich dynamic behavior, providing many additional opportunities for future projects.  In a graduate-level class, University of Delaware students explored issues in system identification and robust control design. Key issues covered in the course such as multivariable interactions, control limitations, and model uncertainty were readily demonstrated using the experimental laboratory apparatus.  The configuration incorporates a process-control system commonly encountered in industrial applications.

Author Biographies

Edward P. Gatzke, University of Delaware

Ed Gatzke received his BSChE from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1995. After two years of graduate study at Purdue University, he moved to the University of Delaware for completion of his PhD. He has held internships with Teledyne Brown Engineering, Mead Paper, and Honeywell. His interests include process control, optimization, and artificial intelligence.

Rajanikanth Vadigepalli, University of Delaware

Raj Vadigepalli received his BTech from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, in 1996, and began his PhD research in chemical engineering at Purdue University in the fall of 1996. He moved to the University of Delaware in 1997 to complete his doctoral degree with Professor Francis J. Doyle. His research focus includes modeling and analysis of control mechanisms in biological systems and distributed hierarchical methods for control of large-scale process systems.

Edward S. Meadows, University of Delaware

Edward S. Meadows is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Delaware, working in the areas of modeling and control of polymerization reactors as part of a broader research program in optimization and control of chemical processes. He received his PhD degree from the University of Texas in 1994.

Francis J. Doyle, III, University of Delaware

Frank Doyle received his BSE from Princeton in 1985, his CPGS from Cambridge in 1986, and his PhD from Caltech in 1991, all in chemical engineering. He was an Assistant Professor at Purdue University before coming to the University of Delaware as an Associate Professor in the fall of 1997, and his research interests are in the areas of process and biosystems analysis and control.