A system controls a plant process which includes manipulated variables (e.g. input states) and control variables (e.g. output states). The system includes sensor circuitry for providing measures of the control variables and a memory for storing a correction time constant and upper and lower limits for at least one control variable. The upper and lower limits are separated by a band of values within which the one control variable is considered to be acceptable. A processor includes data describing a process model which relates costs of manipulated variables to control variables and, upon solution, further provides predicted values for the one control variable. Logic within the processor is responsive to a measured value function of the one control variable being outside the band of values, to determine minimum cost manipulated variables which result in a return of the predicted value of the one control variable to within the acceptable band of values. Control instrumentalities within the plant are operative to alter the manipulated variables (and input states) in accordance with signals from the processor.