6.302 | Spring 2007 | Graduate

Feedback Systems


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 2 hours / session

Recitations: 2 sessions / week, 1 hour / session


Feedback Systems is quite possibly the most important class you will ever take. Everything needs feedback. You will never design an electronic or an electromechanical system that does not include a feedback loop, either explicitly or implicitly.

Every interface to the real world—whether you are building a robot arm, a temperature control system, an audio power amp, or an RF synthesizer (the list goes on and on)—needs to drive some kind of actuator (a motor, a heater, a power transistor, or an oscillator). To make sure that actuator is doing the right thing, you need to measure the output (its position, its temperature, its voltage, or its frequency) and compare that measurement to what you meant to do. In other words, you need feedback.

Course Content

This course is an introduction to design of feedback systems. Topics covered in the course include properties and advantages of feedback systems, time-domain and frequency-domain performance measures, stability and degree of stability, root locus method, Nyquist criterion, frequency-domain design, compensation techniques, application to a wide variety of physical systems, internal and external compensation of operational amplifiers, modeling and compensation of power converter systems, and phase lock loops.


You will have four short lab projects and a design problem to do—about one every other week—ranging in subject from operational amplifiers to thermal systems. We hope you find these labs illustrative and informative.

We start the term by studying a servomotor mechanism. There are many good reasons for using motors in these four labs (labs 1A, 1B, 1C, and 1D). Most of all, we believe that it is a valuable experience. In your careers as engineers, the systems you design and build will often interface to the real world with motors, actuators, and sensors of all kinds. We believe that these labs are an excellent introduction to this kind of design.

In the design problem you will have a choice among several projects.


The prerequisites for 6.302 are linear systems, circuits, physics, and math. Officially, this requirement is 6.003 or 2.003 or 16.04. Previous laboratory experience with circuits is assumed, such as in 6.002 or 6.071 or 16.04. We also assume that you have not forgotten 8.01 or 8.02, and that you have had some exposure to complex variables (18.04 is helpful, but overkill).

Course Reference

The reference for this course will be Dr. Kent Lundberg’s Notes on Feedback Systems. This text is not available on the MIT OpenCourseWare site.

Other Tips

  • We use MATLAB® and Octave for some problem sets that require numerical computations.
  • We recommend xcircuit for drawing schematics.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets