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In much of modern control theory designs are based on the assumption that the state vector of the system to be controlled is available for measurement. In many practical situations only a few output quantities are available. Application of theories which assume that the state vector is known is severely limited in these cases. In this paper it is shown that the state vector of a linear system can be reconstructed from observations of the system inputs and outputs. It is shown that the observer, which reconstructs the state vector, is itself a linear system whose complexity decreases as the number of output quantities available increases. The observer may be incorporated in the control of a system which does not have its state vector available for measurement. The observer supplies the state vector, but at the expense of adding poles to the over-all system.