First-order control

First-order control

In control theory, first-order control is when a desired result is attempted by adjusting a scalar (first-order) control. Such mechanisms, where first-order change successfully produces desired results, are called "first-order mechanisms". First-order control is contrasted to higher-order control. While many simple mechanisms are completely first-order, most complex mechanisms are only first-order within a range of operation. There are two types of first-order control theories; that referencing mechanisms, and that referring to social theory.

A first-order control mechanism is any mechanism that is controlled by direct motion in a single direction. Similarly, in social theory, a single direct action producing a social change is a first-order control system. Many common beliefs about social organization, such as "Increasing police decreases crime", or "corruption can be combatted by legislation" imply a first-order mechanism.

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