Model properties for efficient synthesis of nonblocking modular supervisors
Journal article, 2021

Supervisory control theory provides means to synthesize supervisors for systems with discrete-event behavior from models of the uncontrolled plant and of the control requirements. The applicability of supervisory control theory often fails due to a lack of scalability of the algorithms. This paper proposes a format for the requirements and a method to ensure that the crucial properties of controllability and nonblockingness directly hold, thus avoiding the most computationally expensive parts of synthesis. The method consists of creating a control problem dependency graph and verifying whether it is acyclic. Vertices of the graph are modular plant components, and edges are derived from the requirements. In case of a cyclic graph, potential blocking issues can be localized, so that the original control problem can be reduced to only synthesizing supervisors for smaller partial control problems. The strength of the method is illustrated on two case studies: a production line and a roadway tunnel.

Finite automata

Supervisory control

Directed graph


Martijn Goorden

Eindhoven University of Technology

Joanna M. van de Mortel-Fronczak

Eindhoven University of Technology

Michel A. Reniers

Eindhoven University of Technology

Martin Fabian

Chalmers, Electrical Engineering, Systems and control

Wan J. Fokkink

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Eindhoven University of Technology

Jacobus E. Rooda

Eindhoven University of Technology

Control Engineering Practice

0967-0661 (ISSN)

Vol. 112 104830

Subject Categories

Computational Mathematics


Control Engineering



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