Part of a system output presented at its input. Feedback may be unintended. When used as a design feature, the output is usually transformed by passive components which attenuate it in some manner; the result is then presented at the system input.Feedback is positive or negative, depending on the sign with which a positive change in the original input reappears after transformation. Negative feedback was invented by Black to stabilise vacuum tube amplifiers. The behaviour becomes largely a function of the feedback transformation and only minimally a function of factors such as transistor gain which are imperfectly known. Positive feedback can lead to instability; it finds wide application in the construction of oscillators. Feedback can be used to control a system, as in feedback control.
Last updated: 1996-01-02