Geometric Control and Non-holonomic Mechanics

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Control theory, a synthesis of geometric theory of differential equations enriched with variational principles and the associated symplectic geometry, emerges as a new mathematical subject of interest to engineers, mathematicians, and physicists. This collection of articles focuses on several distinctive research directions having origins in mechanics and differential geometry, but driven by modern control theory. The first of these directions deals with the singularities of small balls for problems of sub-Riemannian geomtery and provides a generic classification of singularities for two-dimensional distributions of contact type in a three-dimensional ambient space. The second direction deals with invariant optimal problems on Lie groups exemplified through the problem of Dublins extended to symmetric spaces, the elastic problem of Kirchhoff and its relation to the heavy top. The results described in the book are explicit and demonstrate convincingly the power of geometric formalism. The remaining directions deal with the geometric nature of feedback analyzed through the language of fiber bundles, and the connections of geometric control to non-holonomic problems in mechanics, as exemplified through the motions of a sphere on surfaces of revolution. This book provides quick access to new research directions in geometric control theory. It also demonstrates the effectiveness of new insights and methods that control theory brings to mechanics and geometry.

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