Enabling Resilience of Complex Engineered Systems Using Control Theory

Nita Yodo, Pingfeng Wang, Melvin Rafi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Successful recovery from a disrupted state to maintain optimal performance is a key feature that a resilient complex engineered system should have. In the engineering design community, the current focus of engineering resilience research is primarily directed toward improving overall system performance in the presence of likelihood failures. Little attention has been given to the study of how the system responds during and/or after the occurrence of a failure event. This paper proposes the use of control theory as a strategy to enable resilient behavior in complex engineered systems. Control theory has various benefits in its application to a resilient engineered system, with the main advantage being its ability to regulate and govern system states, even while the failure is taking place. In the context of implementation within a complex engineered system, such a controller should be designed such that, when a disturbance occurs, the controller should simultaneously be able to take timely action to correct the shift in system performance. To date, the fusion of control theory with engineering resilience has not been explored in-depth by the engineering design community. This paper, thus, presents a resilience modeling and analysis approach using fundamental control theory. The resilience of a power distribution system is employed as a case study to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach. The presented study also expects to aid in the concurrent development of resilience functions in complex engineered systems under uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-65
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Reliability
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Control theory
  • complex systems
  • engineering design
  • failure recovery
  • reliability
  • resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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