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Robust Control of Large Scale Decentralized Systems

Until recently, the field of robust control has primarily concerned itself with systems having a relatively small, and usually fixed, number of inputs and outputs - an aircraft for example. Now though, technology is driving the construction of complex, decentralized networks of subsystems where not even the topology of the interconnections is known in advance. Rather than designing a controller for a given system, the designer is instead only able to specify the behaviour of certain of the subsystems, and rules governing the formation of interconnections between subsystems, with the aim that some desired aggregate behaviour "emerges". Using the examples of flow control on the Internet, power distribution and bird-like flocking, this talk will show how it is indeed possible to design such decentralized systems for which the desired emergent behaviour is guaranteed to be robustly stable.

Type of Seminar:
Public Seminar
Dr. Glenn Vinnicombe
University of Cambridge, Dept of Engineering,Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ U.K.
May 07, 2003   17:15

ETH Zentrum, Gloriastrasse 35, Building ETZ, Room E6
Contact Person:

Prof. P. Parrilo
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Biographical Sketch:
Glenn Vinnicombe graduated with a BA in Engineering from Christ's College, Cambridge in 1984. From 1984 to 1987 he worked as a Dynamics Engineer with British Aerospace. In 1987, he returned to Cambridge as a College Lecturer at Churchill College, obtaining the PhD degree in 1993. He has held faculty positions at the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota, and in the Department of Aeronautical Engineering, Imperial College, London. He is currently a University Lecturer in Engineering at the University of Cambridge.