A system for damping vibration in a drill string can include a magnetorheological fluid valve assembly having a supply of a magnetorheological fluid. A remanent magnetic field is induced in the valve during operation that can be used to provide the magnetic field for operating the valve so as to eliminate the need to energize the coils except temporarily when changing the amount of damping required The current to be supplied to the coil for inducing a desired magnetic field in the valve is determined based on the limiting hysteresis curve of the valve and the history of the magnetization of the value using a binary search methodology. The history of the magnetization of the valve is expressed as a series of sets of current and it resulting magnetization at which the current experienced a reversal compared to prior values of the current.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
 Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. .sctn.202(c), it is acknowledged that the U.S. government may have certain rights to certain aspects of the invention described herein, which was made in part with funds from the Deep Trek program of the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory, Grant Number DE-FC26-02NT41664.