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CIRCUITSSYSTEMSSIGNALPROCESS

VOL. 10, NO. 1, 1991

AN ELEMENTARY PROOF OF THE


ROUTH-HURWlTZ STABILITY
CRITERION*
J. J. Anagnost 1 and C. A. Desoer ~

Abstract. This paper presents an elementary proof of the well-known Routh-Hurwitz


stability criterion. The novelty of the proof is that it requires only elementary
geometric considerations in the complex plane. This feature makes it useful for use in
undergraduate control system courses.

I. Introduction

The determination of stability of lumped parameter, linear, time-invariant


systems is one of the most fundamental problems in system theory. According
to Gantmacher [2, pp. 172-173] this problem was first solved in essence by
Hermite [3] in 1856, but remained unknown. In 1875 Routh also obtained
conditions for stability of such systems [7]. In 1895 Hurwitz [4], unaware of
Routh's work, gave another solution based on Hermite's paper. The deter-
minantal inequalities obtained by Hurwitz are known today as the Routh-
Hurwitz conditions, taught in virtually every undergraduate course on
control theory.
Unfortunately, Hurwitz's proof of the result is very complicated, involving
algebraic manipulations. Indeed, the proof is so complicated that most
elementary textbooks (for example, [1] and [5]) choose not to prove it at all,
but rather to state it as a fact.
In a recent paper, Mansour [6] proves the Routh-Hurwitz theorem in a
very simple matter using the Hermite-Biehler theorem. Motivated by Man-
sour's proof, this paper presents a proof based on elementary geometric
considerations in the complex plane. I t thus provides a clear 9eornetric insight
into what makes the procedure work. It also slightly extends Mansour's work

* ReceivedJuly 10, 1989;revisedDecember21, 1989.Researchsupported by HughesAircraft


Company, E1 Segundo, California 90245, USA, and the National Science Foundation under
Grant ECS 21818.
x Electronics Research Laboratory, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer
Science, Universityof California, Berkeley,California 94720, USA.
102 ANAGNOSTAND DESOER

by providing a proof of the second part of the Routh-Hurwitz criterion: the


number of sign changes in the first column of the Routh table is the number of
open right half-plane zeros.
The idea behind the proof of the theorem is simple. It will be shown that at
each step the Routh procedure
(i) eliminates precisely one zero of the characteristic polynomial,
(ii) preserves the position of the jco-axis zeros, and
(iii) ensures that the remaining offjco-axis zeros do not cross the jco-axis.
By observing the sign changes in the first column of the Routh table, it can be
determined whether the eliminated zero is a zero in the open right half-plane
or the open left half-plane. Thus, in n steps, precisely n zeros have been
eliminated and the sign changes indicate the number of right half-plane zeros
of the original polynomial.

2. Statement of the Routh-Hurwitz stability criterion

Theorem 2.1 (Routh-Hurwitz). Consider an nth-order p o l y n o m i a l in s:


p(s) = a o + a l s + a2 s2 + ... + a , _ is n- i + a n S , '

where a i ~ R, i = O, 1 . . . . . n and an > O, and a o ~ O.

(If a0 = 0, simply factor out an appropriate S k term and proceed.) If possible


(i.e. none of the divisors are zero), construct the well-known Routh table,
written in the form as shown in Table 1. We have used the notation

an an
bn_ 2 = an_ 2 - --an_ 3 bn_ 4 = an_ 4 -- --an_ 5
an- 1 an- i

Cn_ 4 ~ a n _ 3 - - a n - I b n _ 4 an- 1 bn_6


Cn_ 6 -~- a n _ 5 - - b n _ 2
bn- 2

Then p(s) is Hurwitz (i.e., p(s) has all its zeros in the open left half-plane) if
and only if each element of the first column is positive, i.e., an > 0, a,_ 1 > 0,
bn-2 > 0, ..., mo > 0, no > 0.

Remark on Notation. In Table 1 we have assumed (to fix notation) that n is


even. The even polynomial p(s) was split into its even and odd part by
p(s) = hn(s2) + sgnZ2(s2), where hn(s2) is even and of degree n, and where
#,_ 2(s2) is even and of degree n - 2. Note that the coefficients of h,(s 2) are
contained in the first row of the Routh table, and the coefficients of On- 2(s2)
are contained in the second row of the Routh table. This explains the presence
of the hn(s2) and #n- 2(s2) in the column to the left of the Routh table in Table
PROOF OF THEROUTH-HURwITZSTABILITYCRITERION 103

TabLe 1. The Routh table.

hn an an - 2 an- 4 """ a4 a2 ao
all-- 2 an - x an - 3 an- 5 """ a3 al
h._ 2 bn - 2 bn - 4 bn_ 6 "" b2 bo
an - 4 Cn - 4 Cn - 6 Cn - 8 """ CO
h. _. dn - 4 dn - 6 d._ 8 "'" do

g2 s ko
h2 12 lo
g0 mo
ho no
g-2 0

1. (If we had assumed n was odd there would be a 9 . - 1 ( s 2 ) to the left of the
first row, and a h,_ ~(s2) to the left of the second row.) The remainder of the
notation in Table 1 is explained in Section 4.

3. Preliminary l e m m a s

We first start with a definition which makes precise the notion of net phase
change. Let C denote the complex plane.

Definition 3.1. Consider a polynomial p(s) and a continuous, oriented curve


C c C which starts at s~ ~ C and ends at s2 ~ C. Suppose p(s) # 0 for all s ~ C.
Let the curve be parametrized by the continuous function q~: [0, 1]--. C.
Since p(s) # 0 for all s ~ C this means that arg(p(s)) along C is well defined
mod 2n; hence, we choose arg(p(~o(0))) arbitrarily and, for all r e [0, 1], we
choose arg(p(q~(r))) such that r ~ arg(p(tp(r))) is continuous. Then we define
the function
argnet(p(-)) ,= arg(p(~o(1))) - arg(p(tp(0)))
C

= arg(p(s2) ) -- arg(p(sO).

Roughly speaking, argnetc(p(. )) is simply the net phase change ofp(s) as s


traverses C. For example, in Figure 2, if the plotted solid locus is p(C), then
argnetc(p(-)) = 2re; the small circles in Figure 2 indicate the zeros of p(. ).
The following lemma gives a relationship between the location of zeros of
a polynomial and its net phase change.

Lemma 3.2. Consider the polynomial p(s) = a o + a l s + a2 $2 + " . --}-


a._ i s " - 1 + a.s ~ where a i ~ R, i = O, 1. . . . . n and a. > O, and a o # 0 (so p(s) is
o f degree n and p(O) # 0). Then p(s) has L zeros in the open left-half plane
104 ANAGNOST AND DESOER

Imag

C s - plane

Real

Figure 1. Graph of curve C.

counting multiplicities, R zeros in open right half-plane counting multiplicities,


and 2 K zeros jcoi, e)~ > O, on the jo)-axis with multiplicities mi, i = 1. . . . . K (i.e.,
there are a total of M joe-axis zeros), if and only if
(i) ptk)(jo)i) ( == (dk/dsk)p(s)l~=jo, i) = Ofor k = O, . . . , m i_ 1, i = 1 , . . . , K, but
p(m')(jogi) v~ O, i = 1 , . . . , K, and p(ja~) vL O for all
co e ~+\{coi: i = 1. . . . ,K};
(ii) a r g n e t c ( p ( . ) ) = (rc/2)(L- R + M ) where the oriented curve C is the
jco-axis, except for indentations on the right at each jco-axis zero jco~, i.e.,
the curve C starts at zero and ends at +joo, as shown in Figure 1.

Proof. ( =~ ) Since p(s) ?.s an nth degree polynomial, it has precisely n zeros. By
assumption, precisely M are on the jo~-axis, while the remaining zeros lie in
the open right half-plane, or open left half-plane. In addition, since each zero
jcoi has multiplicity m i, this implies that p(k)(jooi) = 0 for k = 0, ..., m i -- 1 and
ptm')(jogi) r 0. Thus, (i) is proved. To prove (ii), note that each simple real
open right half-plane zero contributes -re/2 radians of phase to the net
argument as s traverses C, while each simple real open left half-plane zero
contributes re/2 radians of phase. Due to indentations on the right of the
ira-axis zeros, each complex conjugate zero pair contributes e i t h e r + T z or
- zc radians of phase depending on whether the pair resides in the closed left
half-plane or open right half-plane, respectively. Since there are a total of L
zeros in the open left-half plane counting multiplicities, R zeros in open right
half-plane counting multiplicities, and M zeros on the ja~ axis counting
multiplicities this means

argnet(p(-)) = 2 (L - R + M).
c

This proves (ii).


PROOF OF THE ROUTH HURWITZSTABILITYCRITERION 105

( ~ ) By assumption p(s) has precisely M / 2 pairs ofjco-axis zeros counting


multiplicities, so it can be factored as
K n-M
p(s) = 1-I ( s2 + c~ m' 1--[ (s -- sz,),
i=1 i=1

where {Szi: i = 1,..., n - M} denotes the remaining zeros of p(s). Since the
curve C is indented to the right at the jco-axis zeros, we can define
argnetc(P ( 9)). By computation its value is

argnet(p(. )) = ~rr M + argnet ("IzIM (s _ szi))


C \i=l

By condition (ii), the second term is equal to n(L-R)/2. Also, n - M = L + R,


and M is known by (i); so conditions (i) and (ii) determine uniquely L, R,
and M. []

The following two lemmas are the main results of the section. They
characterize the effect of one step of the Routh-Hurwitz procedure when the
leading term is even (Lemma 3.3), and when the leading term is odd (Lemma
3.4).

Lemma 3.3. Consider the polynomial p(s) = a o d- als d- a2 s2 -F ... d-


an_ is n- 1 + ans n where ai ~ R, i = O, 1. . . . . n and an > O, and a o ~ O. Assume in
addition that n is even and an-1 ~ O. Let hn(s2) and sg n_ 2(S2) be the even and
odd parts of p(s), respectively, i.e.,

hn(s 2) : = ao + aEs2 + ... + an - 2sn - 2 + anSn,

gn- 2(S2):=al + a3 s2 -]- ... + an_3 sn-4 -]- an_is n-2.

Suppose that p(s) has L zeros in the open left half-plane counting multiplici-
ties, M jco-axis zeros counting multiplicities, and R ( = n - L - M ) zeros in the
open right half-plane counting multiplicities. For any real 2, define

N(S, ,~) := p(s) nt- ,~S2gn_ 2(S 2)

= hn(s 2) + 2S2gn_2(S 2) + Sgn_2(S2).

Then:

(i) ja) i is a je)-axis zero of p(s) with multiplicity ml if and only if jo9 i is a
jo)-axis zero of N(s, 2) with multiplicity m i f o r all 2 ~ .
(ii) Given any closed, bounded interval I c R, there exists a curve C as in
Figure 1 such that N(s, 2) ~ 0 for all s e C, and f o r all 2 e I. Thus
argnetc(N(., 2)) is well defined for 2 e I.
106 ANAGNOSTAND DESOER

Define the interval I by I ,= [ - l a./a._ 11, [a./a._ 1 I]. Choose the curve C so that
a r g n e t c ( N ( -, 2)) is well defined for 2 e I. (This can be done by part (ii).) Then:

(iii) a r g n e t c ( N ( . , 2)) - a r g n e t c ( P ( . )) [ <_ n, for all ,~ ~ I.


(iv) {argnetc(p(. )) - a r g n e t c ( N ( ., - a./a._ 0)} sign(a./a._ 1) = n/2.
(v) N ( s, - a./ a._ a) has ( L - 1) zeros in the open left half-plane, M zeros on
the jco-axis, and R zeros in the open right half-plane, in each ease
counting multiplicities if and only if a./a._ ~ > O.
In addition, N(s, - a,/a._ ~) has L zeros in the open left half-plane, M zeros on
the jco-axis, and R - 1 zeros in the open right half-plane, in each case counting
multiplicities if and only if a./a._ ~ < O.

Proofi (i) ( ~ ) T a k e 20 E ~, a r b i t r a r y , jo9, is a joocaxis z e r o of N(s, 20) with


m u l t i p l i c i t y m i m e a n s t h a t (dk/dsk)N(s, 20)[~=jo,~ = 0 for k = 0, . . . , mi - 1 a n d
(d"~/dsm')N( s, ),0)[~=jo, =~ 0. (dk/dsk)N(s,),o)l~=jo, = 0 for k = 0 , . . . , m i - 1 is
e q u i v a l e n t to
dk
h~k)(--c~ + 2~ {S2gn- 2(S2)} ) s=jtoi

+ sg._2(s 2) =0 for k=O ..... m i-1.

Since coi is real, e q u a t i n g the i m a g i n a r y a n d real p o r t i o n s of this e x p r e s s i o n to


z e r o yields h.(k)(--co i2) + 20((dk/dsk)(sEgn_ 2(S2)})ls=j~o, ---- 0 a n d

( Td~sk {sg,_ =(s 2) }) ~=~, = 0 for k = 0 . . . . , mi - 1.

T h i s l a t t e r e x p r e s s i o n implies t h a t ~,"{k)_2~t_ ~,~"2sJ= 0; u s i n g this in the f o r m e r


e x p r e s s i o n s h o w s t h a t h ~ ) ( - c o 2) = 0, k = 0 , . . . , m i - 1. T h u s

p(k)(jo)i) = h~)(--a)~) + {sg,_ a(s 2) = O, k = 0 . . . . , m i - 1.


~=jr i
F r o m (d"Tdsm')N(s, 2o)[,=j~ , ~ 0 a n d ~0,-2~-~"(*) ~ ,.,2~ = 0, k = 0, ... , mi - 1, we
f u r t h e r c o n c l u d e t h a t (d"/ds=')p(s)[,=j~,, g= O. H e n c e , ja), is a ja)-axis z e r o of
p(s) with m u l t i p l i c i t y m,.
( ~ ) jo9 i is a jo)-axis z e r o of p(s) w i t h m u l t i p l i c i t y m~ m e a n s t h a t
p(k)(jr = h.(k)(--09 i2) + ((dk/dsk){sg._ 2(S2)})I~=j~, = 0, k = 0 . . . . , mi - 1.
E q u a t i n g the real a n d i m a g i n a r y p a r t s of p(k)(jooi) = 0 yields h ~ ) ( - m ~ ) = 0
a n d v."(k)-ztr--,~i~"2~J= 0 for k = 0, . . . , m~ - 1. This in t u r n implies t h a t
20((dk/dsk){S2gn_2(S2)})ls=jo , = 0 for a n y ) , o e ~ a n d for k = 0 . . . . , m i - 1 .
Thus,

~N(s,
dk 2o)l~=j~,= p~(/aJ,) + 2o( ~dk {s~g.-=(s~)}) s~ jta,i

+
( ~d~sk {sg._=(s2) }) ~j~, = 0 for k = 0,...,mi -- 1.
PROOF OF THE ROUTH-HuRWITZ STABILITYCRITERION 107

It can be shown by similar reasoning that (dm'/dsm')N(s,2o)ts=jo,, # 0. This


proves (i).
(ii) This statement merely asserts the existence of a curve C which ensures
that argnetc(N(., 2)) is well defined for all 2 in the closed, bounded interval I.
Since the details are not relevant to the rest of the proof, they are left to the
Appendix.
(iii) For simplicity, first assume that p(s) has no j09-axis zeros. For this
case we take curve C to be the positive j09-axis. Note that N(j09, 2) ~ 0 on
xI.
Since sZg,_ z(s 2) is an even function of s, -20920,_ 2(-092) only contri-
butes to the real part of N(j09, 2). In particular, points a and b in Figure 2 are
fixed points: indeed, if 091 satisfies P(J091) = b, then 9,-2(-09~) = 0, which
means that N(j091, 2) = b for all 2 e I. Next, order the zeros of 092g n_ 2(--092)
by 0 = 09o < 091 ~ 092 < ... _< 09k < ~ .
First consider 09 ~ (0, 091)- Since there are no zeros of 099,_2(-09 2) in this
interval, this implies that sign{Im(N(j09, 2))} is a constant on (0, 091) x L By
the choice of curve C, N(j09, 2 ) # 0 for all 09 e ~+ and for all 2 ~ I, so
argnetto ' i~j(N(., 2)) is well defined. In particular, argnetto ' j~,,1(N(., 2)) is well
defined which implies by definition that argnetto" j,o,j(N(., 2)) =
arg(N(j09 1, 2)) - arg(N(j0, 2)). But arg(N(j09 1, 2)) = arg(p(j091) ) and
arg(N(j0, 2)) = arg(p(j0)), since 0 and 091 correspond to the fixed points a
and b in Figure 2. Thus, the net argument change between zero and 091 is
independent of 2.
The same reasoning applies for 09 ~ (091,092), for (092, 09a), etc., up to
(09k- 1,09k)" Hence,
argnet(N(., 2)) = argnet(p(. )).
[0, j~k] [0, jo~k]
Thus, the only difference in phase occurs for (09k, ~ ) . Since there are no zeros
of cog._ 2(-092) in this interval, this again implies that sign{Im(N(j09, 2))} is a
constant (see Figure 2). This in turn implies that largnett/,o~,j~ol(N(., 2 ) ) -

NOr ~.)~~. ~ 0 I Imag


~) = N(jco, 0)
:/
!:. f.0 =0

Figure 2. Graph of co ~ N(jco, 2), 0 < co < ~ (n even).


][08 ANAGNOST AND DESOER

argnettj~,~,j~l(p(-))l<zc for all 2eI. Since argnetEo, io,~l(N(. , 2))=


argnetto, ~,~](P(" )) we then have
l argnet(N(., 2)) - argnet(p(. ))[ < rc
[ 0 , joo] [ 0 , joo]

for all 2 e I. This proves (iii) for the case where p(s) has no j~o-axis zeros.
(iv) N o t e that by the definition of I that - a,/a,_ 1 ~ I. O r d e r the zeros of
~oO,- 2 ( - c02) as before, and use arguments identical to that of (iii) to obtain
argnet(p(. )) - argnet(N(., - a , / a , _ 1))
[o, joo] [o, joo]

= argnet (p(.)) - argnet (N(., - a,/a n_ 1))-


[jtok, joo] [.]ok, jc~]

Since cok is a fixed point (i.e., independent of 2), we then obtain

= arg (p(j~o)) - arg (N(jco, - a , / a , _ 1)).


oj---~ oo r r

Since we are taking the limit as c~ ---} ~ , we only need to consider the leading
term of each polynomial. Performing this operation, and using the properties
of arg, we obtain in succession
= arg (a,(jrn)") - arg (a,_ 1(jog)"- l)
r ---}oD go--* oo

= arg [a,(jog)"/a._ l(jo)) n- 1]

= arg [a,j~o/a,_ 1].


a~ ---~oo

Thus, if a,/a,_ 1 > 0, the net a r g u m e n t difference is re/2, and if a,/a._ 1 < O,
then the net a r g u m e n t difference is -re/2. This proves (iv) for the case where
p(s) has no jog-axis zeros.
If p(s) has jo>axis zeros, then (i) shows that N(s, 2) has the same j~o-axis
zeros with the same multiplicities. This means that the only difference in
a r g u m e n t can come from the non-j~o-axis zeros. If we extract thej~o-axis zeros
by Pl(S) = p(s)/I-I~/2 (S 2 "~ f-D2), then pl(s) has no jco-axis zeros, so we can
apply the arguments above. F o r example, to prove (iii) we k n o w from above
that
[argnet(Ni(., 2)) -- argnet(pl(-))1 < re,
[0, joo] [0, j ~ ]

where Ni(s, 2) .-= N(s, 2 ) / F I ~ / 2 (s 2 + ~02) for all 2 e I. If we choose a c o n t o u r


C like Figure 1, indented on the right of the jco-axis zeros, we then obtain
[argnet(N(., 2)) - argnet(p(. ))1 _< rc
C C

for all 2 e 1, which proves (iii). Statement (iv) is proved similarly.


PROOFOFTHEROUTH-HURWlTZSTABILITYCRITERION 109

(v) The net argument difference between p(s) and N(s, - a n / a . _ l ) as s


traverses C is sign(a./an_ 1)z~/2, by applying (iv) above. Applying both logical
implications of Lemma 3.2 shows that N(s, - a , / a . _ 1) and p(s) have the same
number of zeros on the jog-axis, and a difference of at most one in the number
of open right half-plane or open left half-plane zeros, depending on the sign of
a,/a,_ 1. This proves (v). []

In the case that n is odd (rather than even as in the statement of Lemma
3.3), we have the corresponding results to Lemma 3.3

Lemma 3.4. Consider the polynomial p(s) = a o -4- als + a2s 2 + ... +
a,_ Is"- 1 + a,s" where ag ~ g~, i = O, i , . . . , n and a, > O, and ao ~ O. Assume n
is odd. Let h, _ l(s z) and s9. _ l(s z) be the even and odd parts of p(s), respectively,
i.e.,
gn_l(S2) := a I --[-a3 s2 -k ... q- an_ 2Sn- 3 -[- ansn-l,
h,_ l(s 2) .'= a 0 + azs 2 + + a,_ 3s"- 3 + a. _ is"- 1.

Assume a,_ 1 ~ O. Suppose that p(s) has L zeros in the open left half-plane
counting multiplicities, M fio-axis zeros counting multiplicities, and R
( = n - L - M ) zeros in the open right half-plane counting multiplicities. For
any real 2, define
No(s, 2) .'= p(s) + 2sh,_ l(s 2)
= s o , _ l ( s 2) + 2sh._l(s 2) + h,_l(s2).

Then, statements (i)-(v) of Lemma 3.3 hold, with No(s, 2) replacing N(s, 2).

Proof. The proofs of (i) and (ii) are identical to the analogous results of
Lemma 3.3, and are thus omitted. The proofs of (iii)-(v) are also nearly
identical to their counterparts in Lemma 3.3. The key point is to note that
jo~2h,_~(-co 2) contributes only to the imaginary part of No(it0, 2 ). This
means that points a and b of Figure 3 are fixed points, i.e., if co1 satisfies

N0~o,7.),7.r
~~'~-~"~'a Imag l

Real

p(jco)= N(jco,0)

Figure 3. Graph of co ~ N(jo9, 2), 0 _< o9 < go (n odd).


110 ANAGNOST AND DESOER

p(jogi) = a, then h . _ l ( - o ) 2) --0, which means that No(Je)l, 2 ) = b for all


2 ~ I. The details are left to the reader []

4. Proof of Theorem 2.1 (Routh-Hurwitz)

Let us first emphasize some notation. To fix notation, assume n is even.


Let h,_w(S 2) be the even polynomial of degree n - w whose coefficients lie
in the row 2w. (See Table 1.) Let g,_ w(s2) be the even polynomial of degree
n - w whose coefficients lie in the row 2w + 1. (Again see Table 1.)
To construct the Routh table, perform the calculations indicated in
Section 2. This corresponds to finding a 2,_w ~ R, or a/~._ ~ e R, such that

h._w(S 2) = hn_w+ 2(s 2) + ~n_wS2gn_w(S2), (4.1)


O.- ~(s2) = 9 . - ~ + 2(s2) + /~.- wh,- ~ +2(s2), (4.2)

where the leading terms of h._ w(S2) and 0n- w(s2), respectively, are canceled. If
this procedure cannot be performed (i.e., the leading term of 9._w(s 2) or
h._ w(s2) is zero), then a zero is in the first column of the Routh table. The
standard procedure given in elementary textbooks is to replace the zero by
e > 0, and proceed. See Section 5 for some of the implications of this.

Proof of Theorem 2.1 (Routh-Hurwitz). ( =~ ) If p(s) is Hurwitz, then each of


its zeros is in the open half-plane. Consider the first step of the Routh
procedure. By Lemma 3.3(v), N(s, - a,/a n_ l) = h.(s2) - a,/a,_ ls2g,_ 2(s 2) +
sg._2(s 2) has the same number of zeros in the open left half-plane as p(s)
except for the eliminated zero. Since all the zeros of p(s) are in the open left
half-plane, the eliminated zero must also be in the left half-plane. Thus,
N(s, - a . / a . _ 1) = SOn-2(S2) + h.-2(s2) has precisely n - 1 zeros in the open
left half-plane, and a./a._ 1 is positive. By using Lemma 3.4, in the next step
we have that h._2(s 2) + SOn_g(S2) has precisely n - 2 zeros in the open
left-half plane, and a./a._ ~ is positive. After n steps, n zeros have been
eliminated and each element in the first column is positive.
( ~ ) If each element in the first column is positive, then use of Lemma
3.3(v) and Lemma 3.4(v) show that precisely n zeros in the open left half-
plane have been eliminated. Thus, p(s) is Hurwitz. []

Remark 4.1. In the case that n is odd, the proof of the Routh-Hurwitz
theorem is nearly identical. Simply write p(s) = sg._ l(s 2) + h,_ l(s2), where
so,_ i(s 2) and h,_ i(s 2) are the odd and even parts of p(s), respectively. Apply
Lemmas 3.4 and 3.3 appropriately in a manner similar to that in the proof of
the even case. The details are left to the reader.
PROOF OF THE ROUTH-HURWlTZ STABILITY CRITERION 111

5. The second part of the Routh-Hurwitz theorem

Based on Lemma 3.3 we have the second part of the Routh-Hurwitz


criterion.

Theorem 5.1. Consider an nth-order polynomial in s:


p ( s ) = a o + a l s + a2 s2 + . . . + a n _ i S n - 1 + ans n,

where a~ ~ ff~, i = O, 1 , . . . , n and a, > 0 and ao ~ O. As before, to f i x notation


assume that n is even. Suppose when calculatin9 the Routh table that no element
in the first column is zero. 7hen the number of sign chanoes in the first column of
the Routh table is the number of open right half-plane zeros of p(s).

Proof. At each step the algorithm


(i) eliminates precisely one zero of p(s),
(ii) preserves the position of the jr,-axis zeros, and
(iii) ensures that the remaining offjco-axis zeros do not cross the j~o-axis.
By Lemma 3.3(v) and Lemma 3.4(v) the eliminated zero is in the open left
half-plane if the ratio of the associated leading coefficients is positive, whereas
the eliminated zero is in the open right half-plane if the ratio of the associated
leading coefficients is negative. Thus, the number of sign changes in the first
column indicates the number of open fight-half plane zeros of p(s) that were
eliminated. []

Remark 5.2. If a zero does appear in the first column during the Routh
procedure, care must be exercised in ascertaining the zero positions of the
original polynomial. By adding an e > 0 to a column, the position of the zeros
of the original polynomial are being perturbed (since the zeros of a polyno-
mial are continuous functions of their coefficients provided a, remains
bounded away from zero). Attempting to deduce properties of the zeros of the
original polynomial based on the properties of the perturbed polynomial can
often lead to erroneous conclusions as the following example shows.

Example. Let p(s) = (s z + a)(s z + b) = s 4 + (a + b)s 2 --l- ab, where a, b ~ R.


The Routh table for this example is
1 a+b ab 0
e 0 0
a+b ab 0
- ~ab
0
a+b
ab 0
112 ANAGNOST AND DESOER

If a > 0 and b > 0, then there are two sign changes in the first column since
e > 0. This leads to the "conclusion" that there are two zeros in closed right
half-plane. Note that adding an e > 0 merely pushes the jo-axis zeros of the
p(s) off the jo-axis. Much more insidious examples can be constructed that
make it very difficult to tell the position of the zeros of the original
polynomial. (See, for example Example 4, p. 184 of [2]). However, we do have
the following proposition.

Proposition 5.3. Suppose that during construction of the Routh table a zero in
the first column is encountered. Then
(i) I f there are one or more nonzero elements in the same row, then p(s) has
at least one zero in the open right half-plane.
(ii) I f the row is zero, then (a) p(s) has at least one pair of jco-axis zeros, or
(b) p(s) contains a factor of the form (s + go)(S - go)for some ao E ~ or
(c) p(s) contains a factor of the form (s + ao + floJ) (s + c% - floJ)
(s - ao + floJ) (s - ~o - floj) for some ~o, floe ~.

Proof. (i) Since there is a zero in the first column in the Routh table, the
Routh-Hurwitz theorem (Theorem 2.1) shows that p(s) has at least one zero
in the closed right half-plane. Without loss of generality, assume that the zero
is in the second element of the first column, i.e., sg,_ 2(s2) has a leading
coefficient of at most order n - 3. (Since the row is nonzero by supposition,
sg._ 2(s2) is at least of order 1.) Suppose that the only zeros of p(s) in the
closed right half-plane are rio-axis zeros, say M counting multiplicities. Then
extract the rio-axis zero pairs from p(s) by
M/2 M/2 M/2
Pl(s)"=P(S)/ 1-[ (s2 + co~) = hn(s2)/I-[ (s2 + co/2) + sg~-2(sg)/1-I (s2 + c0/2)9
i=1 i=1 i=l

(Note that since sg~_2(s z) is nonzero, M < n.) By supposition, pl(s) is


Hurwitz and thus has every coefficient strictly positive. However,
h,(s2)/1-[~=/~2 (s 2 + co~) is of order n-M, while sg~_2(s2)/1-I~/12 (s 2 + co~) is of
order at most n - M - 3 (but at least 1.) Thus, pl(s) has its n - M - 1
coefficent equal to zero, which contradicts the fact that pl(s) is Hurwitz. This
proves (i).
(ii) Encountering a zero row during construction of the Routh table
means that at some step
hn_w+2(s 2) = --,,~n_wS2On_w(S2),

or

an - w + 2($2) = - - Idn - whn- w + 2(S2)"

Hence the polynomial hn_w+2(s 2) + sg~_~,(s 2) or gg,_w+2(s 2) + h~_w+2(s 2)


equals ( 1 - 2n_,~s)sg~_w(S 2) or (1-#._wS)h,_w+2(s2), respectively. Since
PROOF OF THE ROUTH-HURWITZ STABILITYCRITERION 113

g,_w(s 2) and hn_w+2(s2) have real coefficients, this means that g._w(s 2) or
h,_w + 2(s 2) have zeros of the type stated in the proposition. Working our way
back up the Routh table, note that p(s) can be written as linear combinations
ofg,_w(S 2) and hn_w+2(S2) o r gn_w+2(s2) and h,_w+ 2(s2). (Use (4.1) and (4.2)
and the Routh table, Table 1.) Thus, p(s) also has the stated property. []

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank R. J. Minnichelli and an anonymous
reviewer for their meticulous reading and comments on a first version of this
work.

Appendix. Proof of Lemma 3.3(ii)


The idea is to choose a curve C as in Figure 1 with a sufficiently small
indentation about each jco-axis zero so that (ii) holds.
Take any bounded interval I c ~. From (i) of Lemma 3.3, for any 2 6 I,
N(s, 2) has the same jco-axis zeros with the same multiplicities as p(s), say a
total of M. Therefore, only n - M zeros of N(s, 2) depend on 2. Let
{zi(2), i = 1. . . . . n - M} be such that N(zi(2), 2) = 0. At 2 = - a J a , _ 1, note
that the degree of N(s, 2) drops by precisely one (since a,_ 1 r 0). Thus,
precisely one member of {zi(2 ), i = 1. . . . , n - M}, say zs(2 ), goes to infinity as
2 ~ - an/a,_ 1, and it tends to infinity along the real axis, as an asymptotic
expansion shows. This means that there is a closed interval I j c I with
[zs(2) l < ~ for all 2 61 s, satisfying
min min [zs(A) - job I) = min rain [Zs(2) - jr ).
IE{1 . . . . . M} 3. e I i~{1, ...,M}.~el.r

This latter term has an achievable positive minimum, since the locus Zs(Is) is
closed and bounded, and never crosses the imaginary axis. Call the minimum
distance Rj.
So now consider z(I):= {zi(2), i = 1. . . . , n - M , i S J, 2 ~ I } c C, the
locus of all off-imaginary axis zeros of N(s, 2)(except for zs(2)) as 2 varies over
I. Since I is closed and bounded, the locus is a closed and bounded set.
Therefore, mint ~ ~1. . . . . M~(Iz ( I ) - joJi]) is a finite, positive constant, say R.
Let R * = min(Rj, R ) > 0. Using this value of R*, we can then make the
radius of the indentation about each jo~-axis zero jab equal to R*/2, say. This
allows construction of the desired contour C, which proves (ii). []

References
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114 ANAGNOSTAND DESOER

[3] Hermite, C., Sur le nombre des racines d'une ~quation alg6brique comprise entre des limites
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