535.645.81 - Digital Control and Systems Applications

Mechanical Engineering
Summer 2023


This class will provide a comprehensive treatment of the analysis and design of discrete-time control systems. The course will build upon the student’s knowledge of classical control theory and extend that knowledge to the discretetime domain. This course is highly relevant to aspiring control systems and robotics engineers since most control system designs are implemented in micro-processors(hence the discrete-time domain) vice analog circuitry. Additionally, the course will go into advanced control system designs in the state-space domain and will include discussions of modern control design techniques including linear-quadratic optimal control design, pole-placement design, and state-space observer design. The class will use a series of applications that build in complexity throughout the semester to emphasize and reinforce the material.

Expanded Course Description


535.642 Control Systems for Mechanical Engineering Applications. 


Course Structure

The course materials are divided into 12 Modules. The Modules can be accessed by clicking Modules on the menu. A module will have several sections including the overview, content, readings, discussions, and assignments. Students are encouraged to preview all sections of the module before starting. Each module will run for a period of seven (7) days, exceptions are noted on the Course Outline page. Day 1 will be the Wednesday of the corresponding week and Day 7 is therefore the following Tuesday. You should regularly check the Calendar and Announcements for assignment due dates.

Course Topics

Course Goals

The goal of the class is to develop a working knowledge of discrete time and digital control theory. Students will understand how to transform systems from continuous-time to discrete-time and back. Once we have mastered understanding of discrete-time control, we will spend the remainder of the course covering advanced multivariable control topics in state-space including state-space equations, Liapunov stability theory, observability, controllability, state-observer design, full-state feedback and pole placement and linear-quadratic-regulator theory. 

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)



Discrete-Time Control Systems (2nd Edition) By Katsuhiko Ogata. 

Textbook information for this course is available online through the appropriate bookstore website: For online courses, search the MBS website at http://ep.jhu.edu/bookstore

Required Software


You will need access to a recent version of MATLAB with the Control System Toolkit. The MATLAB Total Academic Headcount (TAH) license is now in effect. This license is provided at no cost to you. Send an email to software@jhu.edu to request your license file/code. Please indicate that you need a standalone file/code. You will need to provide your first and last name, as well as your Hopkins email address. You will receive an email from Mathworks with instructions to create a Mathworks account. The MATLAB software will be available for download from the Mathworks site. 

Student Coursework Requirements

It is expected that each module will take approximately 6 - 8 hours per week to complete. Here is an approximate breakdown: reading the assigned sections of the texts (approximately 1– 1.5 hours per week) as well as some outside reading, viewing annotated slide presentations (approximately 2–2.5 hours per week), participating in online discussion (approximately 1 hours per week), and completing assignments (approximately 2–3 hours per week). 

This course will consist of four basic student requirements: 

Preparation and Participation (Module Discussions) (4% of Final Grade Calculation)

Each student is responsible for carefully reading all assigned material and being prepared for discussion. The majority of readings are from the course text. Additional reading may be assigned to supplement text readings. 

Post your initial response to the discussion questions by the evening of day 4 for that module week. Posting a response to the discussion question is part one of your grade for module discussions (i.e., Timeliness). 

Part two of your grade for module discussion is your interaction (i.e., responding to classmate postings with thoughtful responses) with at least two classmates (i.e., Critical Thinking). Just posting your response to a discussion question is not sufficient; we want you to interact with your classmates. Be detailed in your postings and in your responses to your classmates' postings. Feel free to agree or disagree with your classmates. Please ensure that your postings are civil and constructive. 

Your instructor will monitor module discussions and will respond to some of the discussions as discussions are posted. 

Evaluation of preparation and participation is based on contribution to discussions. Preparation and participation is evaluated by the following grading elements:

  1. Timeliness (50%) 
  2. Critical Thinking (50%) 

Students will receive a score of 0 – 10 on each Module discussion and the final discussion score will be the average over all discussions for the semester. 

Assignments (36% of Final Grade Calculation)

Assignments are provided from Appendix B of the Textbook. Each problem in the assignment will be graded for accuracy and effort. The overall assignment will be scored on a scale of 0 to 100% with each problem in the assignment having a weight commensurate with the number of problems in the assignment (e.g., 4 problems are 25% each). The final Assignment average will bear 36% of the final grade calculation. 

Late submissions will be reduced by one letter grade when submitted a week late (no exceptions without prior coordination with the instructor). Homework solutions are automatically released a week after the homeworks are due so no homework will be accepted after the release of the solution set without prior coordination with the Instructor. 

Exam[s] (Midterm is 30% and Final Exam is 30% of Final Grade Calculation)

The midterm exam will be available in Module 7 and the final exam will be available in Module 14. 

Students will have one week to complete each exam and they will be due by 5PM of Day 7 during the Module they were released. The exam will be timed for a five hour period so Students should prepare a time convenient for taking the exam. Students may use the course text to complete the exams. 

Each problem on the exam is provided a weight (number of points). Problems will be graded on accuracy and effort. Partial Credit is provided. For each problem, you must show all work as answers only will receive a grade of zero. 

Grading Policy

Student assignments are due according to the dates identified in each Module. Homework grades will be posted 1 – 2 weeks after assignment due dates. 12 Homeworks are assigned and the lowest graded homework score will be dropped. 

Your final grade will be based on the following weighting criteria:

Preparation and Participation (Module Discussions) 




Midterm Exam 


Final Exam 


At the end of the semester each student's total score will be calculated. Final letter grades will be based on clustering of Student’s numeric scores. The highest grouping of Students will receive an A, followed by the next reasonable grouping. Significant negative deviations from the majority of the class will result in lower letter grades as appropriate. 

Course Policies

Academic Integrity Academic Misconduct Policy 

Collaborations and discussions between students are key ingredients to success in a graduate course. You are encouraged to discuss the course material with each other as you sort through concepts that may be difficult to comprehend or controversial. However, the line between collaboration and cheating needs to be carefully delineated. Whenever you turn in work with your name on it to be evaluated, graded and included in your record it must represent an individual effort by you alone. If you include direct quotes from any source in your discussions, written assignments, the final exam, or any other submission for which you will receive a grade you must provide attribution. Students using published material without reference, or copying the work of another individual will receive a warning at the first incident. Any further incidents will result in the student receiving a zero on the assignment and the matter will be referred to the Associate Dean. Contact us if you have any questions, no matter how slight, about this policy, or if you have questions about a particular assignment. 


Plagiarism is defined as taking the words, ideas or thoughts of another and representing them as one's own. If you use the ideas of another, provide a complete citation in the source work; if you use the words of another, present the words in the correct quotation notation (indentation or enclosed in quotation marks, as appropriate) and include a complete citation to the source. See the course text for examples. 

Academic Policies

Deadlines for Adding, Dropping and Withdrawing from Courses

Students may add a course up to one week after the start of the term for that particular course. Students may drop courses according to the drop deadlines outlined in the EP academic calendar (https://ep.jhu.edu/student-services/academic-calendar/). Between the 6th week of the class and prior to the final withdrawal deadline, a student may withdraw from a course with a W on their academic record. A record of the course will remain on the academic record with a W appearing in the grade column to indicate that the student registered and withdrew from the course.

Academic Misconduct Policy

All students are required to read, know, and comply with the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) / Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct by Full-Time and Part-Time Graduate Students.

This policy prohibits academic misconduct, including but not limited to the following: cheating or facilitating cheating; plagiarism; reuse of assignments; unauthorized collaboration; alteration of graded assignments; and unfair competition. Course materials (old assignments, texts, or examinations, etc.) should not be shared unless authorized by the course instructor. Any questions related to this policy should be directed to EP’s academic integrity officer at ep-academic-integrity@jhu.edu.

Students with Disabilities - Accommodations and Accessibility

Johns Hopkins University values diversity and inclusion. We are committed to providing welcoming, equitable, and accessible educational experiences for all students. Students with disabilities (including those with psychological conditions, medical conditions and temporary disabilities) can request accommodations for this course by providing an Accommodation Letter issued by Student Disability Services (SDS). Please request accommodations for this course as early as possible to provide time for effective communication and arrangements.

For further information or to start the process of requesting accommodations, please contact Student Disability Services at Engineering for Professionals, ep-disability-svcs@jhu.edu.

Student Conduct Code

The fundamental purpose of the JHU regulation of student conduct is to promote and to protect the health, safety, welfare, property, and rights of all members of the University community as well as to promote the orderly operation of the University and to safeguard its property and facilities. As members of the University community, students accept certain responsibilities which support the educational mission and create an environment in which all students are afforded the same opportunity to succeed academically. 

For a full description of the code please visit the following website: https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/policies-guidelines/student-code/

Classroom Climate

JHU is committed to creating a classroom environment that values the diversity of experiences and perspectives that all students bring. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Fostering an inclusive climate is important. Research and experience show that students who interact with peers who are different from themselves learn new things and experience tangible educational outcomes. At no time in this learning process should someone be singled out or treated unequally on the basis of any seen or unseen part of their identity. 
If you have concerns in this course about harassment, discrimination, or any unequal treatment, or if you seek accommodations or resources, please reach out to the course instructor directly. Reporting will never impact your course grade. You may also share concerns with your program chair, the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, or the Office of Institutional Equity. In handling reports, people will protect your privacy as much as possible, but faculty and staff are required to officially report information for some cases (e.g. sexual harassment).

Course Auditing

When a student enrolls in an EP course with “audit” status, the student must reach an understanding with the instructor as to what is required to earn the “audit.” If the student does not meet those expectations, the instructor must notify the EP Registration Team [EP-Registration@exchange.johnshopkins.edu] in order for the student to be retroactively dropped or withdrawn from the course (depending on when the "audit" was requested and in accordance with EP registration deadlines). All lecture content will remain accessible to auditing students, but access to all other course material is left to the discretion of the instructor.