This paper reviews recent theoretical and experimental developments aimed at controlling molecular motion using tailored laser fields. Emphasis is given to seeking optimal designs for the laser controls and optimal implementation of the controls in the laboratory. Optimization on both counts provides a rigorous, flexible, and physically attractive means for obtaining the best possible control over molecular motion under any specified conditions. The theoretical design and laboratory implementation of control are best effected by a closed-loop process that draws on observations of the evolving molecular sample to steer it toward the desired target. Going beyond control, similar closed-loop laboratory learning concepts may lead to automated molecular monitors for inversion to systematically identify details of molecular Hamiltonians.
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