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This paper is concerned with understanding the connection between the existing Internet congestion control algorithms and the optimal control theory. The available resource allocation controllers are mainly devised to derive the state of the system to a desired equilibrium point and, therefore, they are oblivious to the transient behavior of the closed-loop system. To take into account the real-time performance of the system, rather than merely its steady-state performance, the congestion control problem should be solved by maximizing a proper utility functional as opposed to a utility function. For this reason, this work aims to investigate what utility functionals the existing congestion control algorithms maximize. In particular, it is shown that there exist meaningful utility functionals whose maximization leads to the celebrated primal, dual and primal/dual algorithms. An implication of this result is that a real network problem may be solved by regarding it as an optimal control problem on which some practical constraints, such as a real-time link capacity constraint, are imposed.