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A general notion of bisimulation is defined for linear input-state-output systems, using analogies with the theory of concurrent processes. A characterization of bisimulation and an algorithm for computing the maximal bisimulation relation is derived using geometric control theory. Bisimulation is shown to be a notion which unifies the concepts of state-space equivalence and state-space reduction, and which allows to study equivalence of systems with nonminimal state-space dimension. The notion of bisimulation is especially powerful for "nondeterministic" dynamical systems, and leads in this case to a notion of equivalence which is finer than equality of external behavior. For abstractions of systems it is shown how the results specialize to previously obtained results by other authors. Extensions of the main results to the nonlinear case are provided.
Date of Publication: Dec. 2004