A proportional–integral–derivative controller (PID controller) is a generic control loop feedback mechanism widely used in industrial control systems – a PID is the most commonly used feedback controller. A PID controller calculates an "error" value as the difference between a measured process variable and a desired set point. The controller attempts to minimize the error by adjusting the process control inputs.
The PID controller calculation involves three separate parameters, and is accordingly sometimes called three-term control: the proportional, the integral and derivative values, denoted P, I, and D. Heuristically, these values can be interpreted in terms of time: P depends on the present error, I on the accumulation of past errors, and D is a prediction of future errors, based on current rate of change. The weighted sum of these three actions is used to adjust the process via a control element such as the position of a control valve or the power supply of a heating element.
In the absence of knowledge of the underlying process, a PID controller is the best controller. By tuning the three constants in the PID controller algorithm; the controller can provide control action designed for specific process requirements. The response of the controller can be described in terms of the responsiveness of the controller to an error, the degree to which the controller overshoots the set point and the degree of system oscillation. Note that the use of the PID algorithm for control does not guarantee optimal control of the system or system stability.

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