Robustness analysis of nonlinear feedback systems: An input-output approach.

T.T. Georgiou and M.C. Smith


This paper presents an approach to robustness analysis for nonlinear feedback systems. We pursue a notion of model uncertainty based on the closeness of input-output trajectories, and which is not tied to a particular uncertainty representation, such as additive, parametric, structured, etc. The basic viewpoint is to regard systems as operators on signal spaces. We present two versions of a global theory where stability is captured by induced norms or by gain functions. We also develop local approaches (over bounded signal sets), and give a treatment for systems with potential for finite-time escape. We compute the relevant stability margin for several examples and demonstrate robustness of stability for some specific perturbations, e.g., small time delays. We also present examples of nonlinear control systems which have zero robustness margin and are destabilized by arbitrarily small gap perturbations. The paper considers the case where uncertainty is present in the controller as well as the plant, and the generalization of the approach to the case where uncertainty occurs in several subsystems in an arbitrary interconnection.