Monday, 4 June 2012

Three Term Control, Alfred Wegener, Financial Planning. Ecology, Neuroscience and Just about Everything Else

This is  where I do my Alfred Wegener bit and tell the whole world that they are idiots. And no one will believe me.

If you don't already know Alfred Wegener was the man who proposed the idea of plate tectonics. It was obvious to him that the continents fitted together like a jigsaw. It was obvious to me as a kid, even though I had not studied geology.

So Alfred Wegner saw the obvious and no one believed him.

Okay, so this is where I try to explain to you about three term, or PID control.

PID control is a system for controlling the movement of fluid and material through a system. It's been understood by control engineers for over half a century. I won't go into the details, it would take too long, you will need to study at yourself, but the striking feature of a well tuned PID control system is that you end up with a three wave control function.

This control function can be recognised in just about every system. Every system. Whether it is in biology, ecology, neuroscience or the performance of financial markets.

I stumbled on it because after leaving university (my degree was in biology with a specialisation in algology) I was asked to write a computer program (I was good coding it those days to) that taught PID to control engineers. I realised that what I was doing more or less exactly modelled the way nutrients flowed through a lake. It was a much superior model to the Chemostat model.

I tried to explain to my supervisor and experts in algology, but the mathematics of PID baffled them. It was obvious to me but not to them. And it's been that way for the last 30 years.

PID systems occur everywhere. In the financial markets there is a system known as the the Eilliot Wave Principle. Like the Chemiosmotic theory it is a case of someone identifying the 3 wave proces - but not understanding its a PID process.

Most biological systems clearly operate under PID control whether it is the heartbeat or the control of ions across the neural synapses. If we take neuroscience for instance, the PDI components in a neural synapses can be readily identified. The set point is the resting potential, Na+ permiability is the differential factor, K+ is the proprtional factor and the Na+ K+ balance at the resting potenital the intergral factor. It is absolutely stark staring obvious.

If anyone wants a more detailed explanation - I will be happy to elucidate - but you will need to understand the principles of simple alculus (which is where most biologists crash and burn) and get your head round Cohen - Coon's quarter wave theory.

Meanwhile I eagerly await my Nobel prize :-)

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