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A Real-Time Approach to Process Control, 3rd Edition by William Svrcek, Donald Mahoney, Brent Young

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1

A Brief History of Process Control and Process Simulation

In order to gain an appreciation for process control and process simulation it is important to have some understanding of the history and motivation behind the development of both process control and process simulation. Rudimentary control systems have been used for centuries to help humans use tools and machinery more efficiently, effectively and safely. However, only in the last century has significant time and effort been devoted to developing a greater understanding of controls and sophisticated control systems, a requirement of the increased complexity of the processes to be controlled. The expansion of the controls field has driven the growth of steady-state and dynamic process simulation from relative obscurity to the indispensable and commonplace tool that it is today, in particular in the development of operator training systems and the validation of complex control strategies.

1.1 Process Control

Feedback control can be traced back as far as the early third century BC [1,2]. During this period, Ktesibios of Alexandria employed a float valve similar to the one found in today's automobile carburettors to regulate the level in the water clocks of that time [3]. Three centuries later, Heron of Alexandria described another float valve water level regulator similar to that used in toilet water tanks [1]. Arabic water clock builders used this same control device as late as 1206. The Romans also made use of this first ...

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