Modern plants and processes are often characterized by highly complex structures and dynamic behaviour typified by nonlinearities, time-varying dynamics and the influence of unpredictable disturbances. Under these circumstances, knowledge about the system is usually incomplete and subject to high levels of uncertainty. The task of controlling this kind of system is therefore a considerable challenge, especially when expected to operate safely, reliably and efficiently within a wide range of operating conditions and with as little human intervention as possible. This combination of complexity coupled with strict performance specifications is not uncommon in modern aircraft, marine and aerospace systems or even industrial processes that are highly sensitive to disturbances in the environment and in the quality of the process inputs.
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