PID - Proportional, Integral, Derivative

I am working on some libraries for PID Controller implementations in various languages.

The pid tag is already take for process-identifier, but there are a number of PID questions tagged pid that are about pid controller theory and implementation and not process-identifiers.

I want to update those questions and tag my own with a new tag that is relevant to the PID control algorithm and theory.

What would be better pid-controller or pid-algorithm or something else?

  • 7
    I think pid-controller is the most clear. There's no question what you're talking about with that tag. Feb 26, 2014 at 18:34
  • pro-in-der
    – gnat
    Feb 26, 2014 at 20:29
  • 1
    @gnat Never hear that up to now, despite have passing contact with this kind of control (in both hardware and software) many times over the year. Can't say I think people will find it. Feb 26, 2014 at 21:44
  • @dmckee I was just kidding. If seriously, pid-controller sounds about right
    – gnat
    Feb 27, 2014 at 11:05

3 Answers 3


A PID controller is a device that performs the PID algorithm. On a software site I would expect one to talk about a PID algorithm, not the controller.

So my vote is for

However, I don't think it really matters, anyone familiar with PID will understand either term, and for the purposes of software engineering they can be used interchangeably. Only in a business where you have to differentiate between the two does it matter.

  • in my case all the controllers are software implementations or are programmable implementations that are just one of many functions of the hardware that will eventually run them. think many controllers on a single FPGA
    – user148287
    Feb 26, 2014 at 19:37
  • 1
    In the world where electronics and computer science meet and computer engineering involves microcontrollers running software, the two terms have distinct meanings. When you are talking about the software or hardware description language implementation of it, it's at the algorithmic level. When you're talking about the actual real world implementation in a physical object, or where it interfaces with sensors and control elements, it's a controller. I don't think it matters which term you use on Stack Overflow, except where users have to deal with conflicting terms in real world use.
    – Pollyanna
    Feb 26, 2014 at 19:49

For discoverability we should certainly form a synonym between the two options under consideration.

And I won't argue with Adam about which should be the master, though I can't say that have heard "PID algorithm" nearly as often as "PID controller" even in the context of software. But then I'm a greasy-hands physicist not a scare-quotes-programmer or a control engineer.


PID algorithm sounds good as well as perfect tag as far as PID operations are concern.I would suggest to go with PID algorithm.