Bridging Across Technological, Biological and Social Systems

(Plenary Address, IEEE Colombian Workshop on Robotics and Automation, Cali, Colombia)

Control theory originated in an effort to understand and manipulate the behavior of technological systems. Contemporary trends in control theory are based on the recognition that, despite their apparent differences, systems found in formal and empirical sciences share common underlying principles. Beyond metaphorical connotations, I will argue here that we need to exploit structural similarities to transfer methods of modeling, analysis, and understanding from one academic field to another. This talk should help us elucidate the general structure and behavior of dynamical systems, and move us towards a deeper appreciation of the general nature of technological, biological, and social systems.