Computer control

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A control system typically comprises of a computer ormicroprocessormicroprocessorA chip containing thousands of components which can remember information, perform logic operations, and process programs; the central processing unit of a computer., a control programprograma list of instructions written in a programming language which handles data [datainformation without context, eg a list of students with numbers beside their names is data, when it's made clear that those numbers represent their placing in a 100 metre race, the data becomes information ] fromsensorssensoran automatic input device that continuously monitors a set of computer controlled parameters, eg a parking sensor detects how close a vehicle is to the nearest object and alerts the driver if the distance falls outside of the specified parameters and sends signals to output devicesoutput devicea device used to output data or information from a computer, eg a monitor, printer or speakers and an interface box to convert signals between the sensors and theprocessorprocessorshorthand for central processing unit (CPU).

The role of computers in control

  • Computers can respond very rapidly to change.
  • Systems can run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • Control systems can operate in places that humans would find dangerous or awkward.
  • OutputsoutputA systems block or component that is activated by the process block. For example, this could be an LED, a buzzer or a motor. are consistent and error free.
  • Computers can process data quickly and machines can operate faster than humans.

Computers are now used to control many types of devices such as:

  • air conditioning and central heating systems in large buildings
  • security systems and burglar alarms
  • manufacturing processes
  • traffic lights and pedestrian crossings

The role of sensors in control

Sensors are used to measure physical quantities such as temperature, light, pressure, sound, and humidity. They send signals to the processorprocessorshorthand for


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