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From Circuit Theory to System Theory

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1 Author(s)
Zadeh, L.A. ; Dept. of Elec. Engrg., University of California, Berkeley, Calif.

The past two decades have witnessed profound changes in the composition, functions and the level of complexity of electrical as well as electronic systems which are employed in modem technology. As a result, classical RLC network theory, which was the mainstay of electrical engineering at a time when RLC networks were the bread and butter of the electrical engineer, has been and is being increasingly relegated to the status of a specialized branch of a much broader discipline-system theory-which is concerned with systems of all types regardless of their physical identity and purpose. This paper presents a brief survey of the evolution of system theory, together with an exposition of some of its main concepts, techniques and problems. The discussion is centered on the notion of state and emphasizes the role played by state-space techniques. The paper concludes with a brief statement of some of the key problems of system theory.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IRE  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 5 )