Advocating Feedback Control for Human-Earth System Applications

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This paper proposes a feedback control perspective for Human-Earth Systems (HESs) which essentially are complex systems that capture the interactions between humans and nature. Recent attention in HES research has been directed towards devising strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation, aimed at achieving environmental and societal objectives. However, existing approaches heavily rely on HES models, which inherently suffer from inaccuracies due to the complexity of the system. Moreover, overly detailed models often prove impractical for optimization tasks. We propose a framework inheriting from feedback control strategies the robustness against model errors, because inaccuracies are mitigated using measurements retrieved from the field. The framework comprises two nested control loops. The outer loop computes the optimal inputs to the HES, which are then implemented by actuators controlled in the inner loop. Potential fields of applications are also identified and a numerical example is provided.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1757-1762
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Control Systems Letters
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-90052


  • biological system modeling
  • carbon dioxide
  • climate change
  • computational modeling
  • feedback control
  • meteorology
  • ocean temperature


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