ECEN415 (2019) - Advanced Control Systems Engineering


This course builds on and extends the principles of modern control systems engineering introduced in ECEN 315 to enable students to develop mathematical models and use these to design optimal control systems for real-world multivariable engineering systems. Kalman filters and linear quadratic regulators will be introduced and the principles and benefits of modern model-based predictive control systems will be outlined. Methods will be developed for continuous time system descriptions but techniques for converting to discrete time descriptions and for designing controls for discrete time systems will also be presented.

Course learning objectives

Students who pass this course should be able to:

  1. Produce state-space models of a variety of linear and nonlinear electronic and mechanical systems (BE graduate attributes 3(a),3(c)),
  2. Design continuous and discrete time controllers using state-space techniques, including optimal control methods such as LQR (BE graduate attributes 3(a),3(b)),
  3. Design Luenberger state observers and Kalman filters, (BE graduate attributes 3(a),3(b),3(e )),
  4. Use the Matlab software package to solve practical problems in control engineering (BE graduate attributes 3(d),3(f)).

Withdrawal from Course

Withdrawal dates and process:


Christopher Hollitt (Coordinator)

Teaching Format

During the first half of the trimester there will be three lectures per week, dropping back to two after the mid-trimester break. The third lecture slot will continue to be used for occational tutorials or catch-up session as necessary.

Student feedback

Student feedback on University courses may be found at:

Dates (trimester, teaching & break dates)

  • Teaching: 04 March 2019 - 09 June 2019
  • Break: 15 April 2019 - 28 April 2019
  • Study period: 10 June 2019 - 13 June 2019
  • Exam period: 14 June 2019 - 29 June 2019

Class Times and Room Numbers

04 March 2019 - 14 April 2019

  • Monday 13:10 - 14:00 – 201, Easterfield, Kelburn
  • Wednesday 13:10 - 14:00 – 201, Easterfield, Kelburn
  • Friday 13:10 - 14:00 – 201, Easterfield, Kelburn
29 April 2019 - 09 June 2019

  • Monday 13:10 - 14:00 – 201, Easterfield, Kelburn
  • Wednesday 13:10 - 14:00 – 201, Easterfield, Kelburn
  • Friday 13:10 - 14:00 – 201, Easterfield, Kelburn


The text below is available online, via the link on Talis. We will not follow the the text closely, but the text will be useful for providing extra examples and for an alternative explanation of various topics. The text will likely prove to be most useful for the first half of the course.

  • Astrom and Murray "Feedback Systems: An Introduction for Scientists and Engineers"

Mandatory Course Requirements

There are no mandatory course requirements for this course.

If you believe that exceptional circumstances may prevent you from meeting the mandatory course requirements, contact the Course Coordinator for advice as soon as possible.


This course will be assessed through assignments, a test, and a final examination.

Assessment ItemDue Date or Test DateCLO(s)Percentage
Assignments (5)Weeks 4, 6, 8, 10, 12CLO: 1,2,3,440%
TestWeek 7CLO: 410%
ExaminationExamination PeriodCLO: 1,2,350%


Work submitted late will be subject to a penalty of 10% of the total mark per day (or part thereof). No work will be accepted once the solutions have been posted. ON occastions the solutions may need to be posted immediately after the due date, and this will be pointed out at the time that affected items are distributed.


Individual extensions will only be granted in exceptional personal circumstances, and should be negotiated with the course coordinator before the deadline whenever possible. Documentation (eg, medical certificate) may be required.

Submission & Return

All work should be submitted via the submission page on the course web site. Unless otherwise noted, all work should be submitted as pdf files. Handwritten work that is scanned as a pdf is fine. Submission of matlab code alone will not be adequate.


In order to maintain satisfactory progress in ECEN 415, you should plan to spend an average of 10 hours per week on this paper. A plausible and approximate breakdown for these hours would be:

  • Lectures and tutorials: 3 hours
  • Reading and Extra Problems: 4 hours
  • Assignments: 3 hours

Teaching Plan


Communication of Additional Information

All online material for this course can be accessed at

Offering CRN: 18519

Points: 15
Prerequisites: ECEN 315 (or PHYS 422)
Duration: 04 March 2019 - 30 June 2019
Starts: Trimester 1
Campus: Kelburn