Windsurfing

Posted by Louis on

Have been reading books from the Rich Dad, Poor Dad series.

In Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing, Kiyosaki mentions that his rich dad spoke of the magic or power of committing mistakes. In essence, to his rich dad, mistakes served as an impetus as well as learning experiences for future improvements.

This immediately reminded me of the Windsurfer approach to adaptive control introduced by my PhD supervisor. The basic idea is to design an adaptive controller (controller = a device/software which causes the output or action of, say, a machine to be equal to some reference measure) which in some ways mimics how a person learns.

When a person first takes up windsurfing, any disturbance or unsteadiness will cause the person to tip over. However, as he gains more in confidence and familiarity with the use of appropriate muscles for balancing, etc., he can handle more and more unexpected events and be able to react faster and faster. Technically, the first phase is called “small bandwidth”, i.e. reaction time is long, hence can react only to small number of events in a given amount of time. The second part is known as “large bandwidth”, because the reaction time is considerably shorter. And so, in time, the adaptive controller is able to react faster and faster – up to a limit of course.

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