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The automotive engine idle-speed regulation problem is one which lends itself to the application of a variety of control theory techniques. The process is distributed and nonlinear with a combination of continuous and discrete elements. There are known and unknown disturbances with both periodic and random process noise. The process is time varying over both short and long time intervals. This paper discusses the application of modern and classical control techniques to the idle speed regulation problem. The use of nonlinear simulation, discrete identification and in-vehicle control synthesis provides a framework for systematic control system design tradeoffs.