Fundamental Limits on Uncertain Delays : When Is a Delay System Stabilizable by LTI Controllers?

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number7498556
Pages (from-to)1314-1328
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Automatic Control
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


This paper concerns the stabilization of linear time-invariant (LTI) systems subject to uncertain, possibly time-varying delays. The fundamental issue under investigation, referred to as the delay margin problem, addresses the question: What is the largest range of delay such that there exists a single LTI feedback controller capable of stabilizing all the plants for delays within that range? Drawing upon analytic interpolation and rational approximation techniques, we derive fundamental bounds on the delay margin, within which the delay plant is guaranteed to be stabilizable by a certain LTI output feedback controller. Our contribution is threefold. First, for single-input single-output (SISO) systems with an arbitrary number of plant unstable poles and nonminimum phase zeros, we provide an explicit, computationally efficient bound on the delay margin, which requires computing only the largest real eigenvalue of a constant matrix. Second, for multi-input multi-output (MIMO) systems, we show that estimates on the variation ranges of multiple delays can be obtained by solving LMI problems, and further, by finding bounds on the radius of delay variations. Third, we show that these bounds and estimates can be extended to systems subject to time-varying delays. When specialized to more specific cases, e.g., to plants with one unstable pole but possibly multiple nonminimum phase zeros, our results give rise to analytical expressions exhibiting explicit dependence of the bounds and estimates on the pole and zeros, thus demonstrating how fundamentally unstable poles and nonminimum phase zeros may limit the range of delays over which a plant can be stabilized by a LTI controller.

Research Area(s)

  • Analytic interpolation, delay margin, delay radius, feedback stabilization, rational approximation, time-delay system