[Re: Editor's Page, May '15]
In the beginning, we had mercury thermometers and bi-metal pressure sensors and clipboards. Local loop control came next. It wasn't until the realization of DCSs that operators moved from clipboards to the control panel. Why? Because that's where loop control was!
In the late 1980s, there was a movement to introduce adaptive learning and intelligent control into the loop—or at least into the control system in general. Bridges and gateways were built to interface the control system with minicomputers. It wasn't a beautiful marriage. Indeed, it spurred me (a data scientist) to move from the control room to Boston in search of answers.
The answer is a manifold approach including intelligence, such as autonomous PID adjustments, at the loop level, allowing a decision-making to be moved up to the centralized control system.
The marriage of data scientist and CE/ME isn't new. What is new, is the fact that we as a process society are moving to a higher stratum with new demands on strategic decision-making in the face of even more complex and abundant data.