Exception handling controllers: An application of pushdown systems to discrete event control

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Recent work by the author has extended the Supervisory Control Theory to include the class of control languages defined by pushdown machines. A pushdown machine is a finite state machine extended by an infinite stack memory. In this paper, we define a specific type of deterministic pushdown machine that is particularly useful as a discrete event controller. Checking controllability of pushdown machines requires computing the complement of the controller machine. We show that Exception Handling Controllers have the property that algorithms for taking their complements and determining their prefix closures are nearly identical to the algorithms available for finite state machines. Further, they exhibit an important property that makes checking for controllability extremely simple. Hence, they maintain the simplicity of the finite state machine, while providing the extra power associated with a pushdown stack memory. We provide an example of a useful control specification that cannot be implemented using a finite state machine, but can be implemented using an Exception Handling Controller.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2008 American Control Conference, ACC
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2008
Event2008 American Control Conference, ACC - Seattle, WA, United States
Duration: Jun 11 2008Jun 13 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of the American Control Conference
ISSN (Print)0743-1619


Other2008 American Control Conference, ACC
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySeattle, WA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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