A Minimal Realization Technique for the Dynamical Structure Function of a Class of LTI Systems

19 Sep 2017

The dynamical structure function of a linear time invariant (LTI) system reveals causal dependencies among manifest variables without specifying any particular relationships among the unmeasured states of the system. As such, it is a useful representation for complex networks where a coarse description of global system structure is desired without detailing the intricacies of a full state realization. In this paper, we consider the problem of finding a minimal state realization for a given dynamical structure function. Interestingly, some dynamical structure functions require uncontrollable modes in their state realizations to deliver the desired input-output behavior while respecting a specified system structure. As a result, the minimal order necessary to realize a particular dynamical structure function may be greater than that necessary to realize its associated transfer function. Although finding a minimal realization for a given dynamical structure function is difficult in general, we present a straightforward procedure here that works for a simplified class of systems.