8. Production control

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8. Production control

There are many business applications where no people are involved in the day-to-day operation of equipment and machinery. Autonomous computing, robotics, production control systems, utilities load balancing, even airplane auto-pilots - all are examples of systems that work alone in response to external conditions.

Learning outcomes

  • develop a broad understanding of the concepts of production control systems
  • investigate examples of autonomous computing
  • practice information literacy skills through online research


  • production - control systems, factory and warehouse automation, autonomous and remotely piloted vehicles - drones, spacecraft, robotics, self-aware machines, models, simulations

Selected media

  • Optional - Tomorrow's Technology and You - Chapter 9. The Evolving Internet

Reference - Production control

Study questions

  • What are some examples of autonomous computing systems?
  • How do production control systems determine how to change production flows?
  • What can go wrong? What safeguards should be built into the system?


  1. Before you start the reading and the assignments, take a few minutes to think about what you already know about the topic - Production control. Write a sentence or two about this in the I know... discussion.

  2. Read, view, listen to the selections in the Suggested media list for this module.

  3. Choose 3 words from the Keywords list for this module. Find a web article that provides information about the words and how they relates to the course. Post the words, links to your selected web articles, and a brief description about your selection for each, to the discussion Production control keywords. Include a question for discussion. Follow links provided by 3 other students, review their suggested articles, and write a brief reply to the author's question for each.

  4. For most of this course, information is in text format. However, multimedia is becoming more available. Select a YouTube video http://www.youtube.com that has some relevance to the course. Post a link to your selection and brief description to the Information Systems video discussion.

  5. SqueakLand - Etoys is . . . an educational tool for teaching children powerful ideas in compelling ways, a media-rich authoring environment and visual programming system, a free software program that works on almost all personal computers. Take a look around. Explore some of the examples. There are those who believe that all kids should learn to program as a way to learn about thinking and processes, as well as learning a 21st century life skill. Using a programming environment like those described in the Squesakland site and the Etoys tools, students would also learn about math, logic, physics and engineering. What do you think? What information on this site was particularly interesting? What did you learn? Should kids be required to learn to use something like this? Post to the Programming for all? discussion.
    Note: some of the examples run as Etoys programs so you will have to download one of the versions of Etoys to play them. However, there is lots of information on the web site that does not require Etoys download and you can complete the activity without it - it is up to you.

  6. Design challenge - What are some other examples of autonomous self-regulating control systems? What special design considerations are required if the system won't have regular interaction with operators or users like the NASA Mars rovers? In the MERLOT catalog there are many examples of simulations that are another form of control system, that provides an opportunity to learn and make mistakes in a "safe" environment. Suggest some specific features and safeguards that you might incorporate into your Lifecycle information system in 2-3 sentences. Post your reply to the discussion topic Control Design .

  7. Information System Lifecycle Project - Continuing the process of building your selected Information System topic that you will "develop" over the duration of the course, this week's development phase is production - when the information system is finally doing what it was designed and built to do. What are some of the key task to be completed at this stage? What happens now? Will there be upgrades and fixes applied? Is there going to be regularly scheduled updates? Post this information to the discussion topic Lifecycle - Production. Also, add the same information to your own WikiEducator user page.

  8. Reflection - What have you learned about Production control and how this applies to information systems that you may be developing? Are you more aware of computers around you? What was ONE important thing you learned this week? What was ONE point that was not clear? Your response should be two or three paragraphs. Use the I Think... 8 assignment to submit your note.

2012.01.21 - accessed 175 times