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In this paper, partitioning and the associated partitioned adaptive control algorithms are shown to constitute a unifying framework for adaptive control. Moreover, the partitioned adaptive controls (PAC's) are shown to have several interesting properties as well as a decoupled parallel-processing structure that is computationally attractive. Finally, using the partitioning framework and a related general class of PAC's the adaptive control problem is treated from a global viewpoint that unifies seemingly unrelated previously obtained suboptimal adaptive controls, and, most importantly, yields fundamentally new adaptive control algorithms. These new control algorithms are shown to have several important properties from both a theoretical and a realization or computational standpoint.