14
$\begingroup$

It's well known that the bilinear transform is also known as Tustin's Method. As far as I know, Arnold Tustin really did introduce the idea into the control systems literature, so the name isn't just a case of Stigler's Law. For example, I managed to find the following reference:

Tustin in the UK developed the bilinear transformation for time series models, while Oldenbourg and Sartorius also used difference equations to model such systems. $[1]$

What isn't clear is where he first introduced the idea--even when browsing the titles of his publications. I'm guessing that it only became known as the bilinear transform later on, so he probably didn't use that terminology. I'd like to read his exposition of the technique. Does anyone know where he first published it?


  1. Bissel, C.C. A History of Automatic Control. link.
$\endgroup$
6
$\begingroup$

Even though I couldn't find a decent table of contents, I took a shot on ordering a source book of papers edited by Tustin (i.e. Automatic and Manual Control), thinking he may have included something relevant. The direct source wasn't in there, but in a paper by B. M. Brown, Application of Finite Difference Operators to Linear Systems, the following citation is given:

The simplest of these [approximations in the form of rational fractions] has been derived ad hoc by $Tustin^6$. It is the time series equivalent of the operator $$ {2\over{\delta}} \space {1 - E^{-1} \over {1 + E^{-1}}} $$

This can be written as

$$ {2\over{\delta}} {E - 1 \over{ E + 1 }} \space = \space {1\over{\delta}} {\Delta \over { 1 + 1/2 \Delta} } \space = \space {1\over{\delta}} (\Delta - 1/2 \Delta^2 + 1/4 \Delta^3 - \space \ldots \space) $$

That looks like the bilinear transform. The actual reference is a little vague,

$$ ^{6} \space Tustin, A. \space \space J. Inst. Elect. Engrs. \space 94 \space (1947) \space 130. $$

but I'm pretty sure it corresponds to A method of analysing the behaviour of linear systems in terms of time series. That paper has a pretty detailed exposition, and Tustin doesn't seem to cite any of his other works as references, so it's reasonable to assume that's where he first introduced it. What's really interesting is the notation he used, $$ {2\over{\delta}} { [1,-1] \over{ [1, 1] } }. $$

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm impressed at the amount of effort you put into finding this. You must be a real engineering history buff. $\endgroup$ – Jason R Oct 11 '11 at 23:44
  • $\begingroup$ @JasonR Thanks :) I'm mostly interested in how people made the mathematical connections to introduce novel ideas into a field (w.r.t. R&D applications). $\endgroup$ – datageist Oct 11 '11 at 23:48
  • $\begingroup$ @datageist: I second JasonR's comment! Well done. $\endgroup$ – Peter K. Oct 12 '11 at 8:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.