8. Elements of Control Theory

A computer network is an engineered system designed to meet certain design goals. Two such goals are responsiveness and stability. Responsiveness allows a system to continue to meet its performance goals despite changes in its operating environment, such as workload fluctuations or component failures. Stability prevents a system from failing or from being sent into uncontrollable oscillations due to certain inputs. Control theory provides powerful tools for building responsive and stable systems. For example, mathematically modeling the behavior of a controlled system demonstrates a fundamental contradiction between responsiveness and stability: The more responsive a system, the greater the chance that it will be ...

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