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Mini-Symposium on Complex Systems Control Talk 1-3

9:15 am
** Speaker: Prof. Joao Hespanha, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
** Title: Opportunities and Challenges in Control Systems Design Arising from Ubiquitous Computation and Communication
** Abstract:
Advances in VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) design and fabrication have resulted in the availability of low-cost, low-power, small-sized devices that have significant computational power and are able to communicate wirelessly. In addition, advances in MEMS (Micro Electric Mechanical Systems) technology have resulted in wide availability of solid-state sensors and actuators. The net result is ubiquitous sensing, communication, and computation that can be incorporated into small low-power devices. In this talk, I will demonstrate that the above-mentioned technological advances present important opportunities and interesting challenges for control system designers. To this effect, I will describe recent work demonstrating that optimization-based approaches to path planning – which have been enabled by fast computation – can lead to solutions that significantly outperform previously proposed heuristics. I will also discuss how the introduction of digital communication in control loops gives rise to a need for new tools for the design and analysis of feedback control systems.

Seminar's slides

10:15 am
** Speaker: Mr. Florian Dörfler, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
** Title: Dynamics and Control in Power Grids and Complex Oscillator Networks
** Abstract:
The efficient production, transmission and distribution of electrical power underpins our technological civilization. Public policy and environmental concerns are leading to an increasing adoption of renewable energy sources and the deregulation of energy markets. These trends, together with an ever-growing power demand, are causing power networks to operate increasingly closer to their stability margins. Recent scientific advances in complex networks and cyber-physical systems along with the technological re-instrumentation of the grid provide promising opportunities to handle the challenges facing our future energy supply. In this seminar, we discuss several problems in the intersection of networked control, complex dynamical systems, and electric power grids. We particularly focus on the synchronization problem in power networks, which is central to their operation and functionality. We identify and exploit a close connection between the mathematical models for power networks and complex oscillator networks. We present concise and sharp conditions that relate synchronization in a power grid to graph-theoretical properties of the underlying electric network. Our novel conditions hold for arbitrary interconnection topologies and network parameters, and they significantly improve upon previously-available tests. We illustrate how our results help in the analysis of transmission networks, convexify power flow optimization problems, and lead to novel control strategies and their implementation in microgrids. Our approach combines traditional power engineering methods, synchronization theory for coupled oscillators, and control in multi-agent dynamical systems. Beside their applications in power networks, our mathematically-appealing results are also broadly applicable in synchronization phenomena ranging from natural and life sciences to engineering disciplines.

Seminar's slides

11:15 am
** Speaker: Prof. Colin Jones, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland
** Title: From Minutes to Milliseconds: A Theory for Practical Real-time Model Predictive Control
** Abstract:
Model-predictive control (MPC) is an intuitive method of synthesizing high-performance control laws for systems with complex dynamics, constraints and objectives. The performance benefits arise from the fact that MPC is an optimization-in-the-loop paradigm where system limitations and objectives are encoded into an optimization problem that is solved during each sampling interval. While there is a computational price to be paid for these benefits, our new real-time MPC framework provides not only flexible runtime computational guarantees, but also offers these guarantees in millisecond timescales. In this talk, we will discuss some of our recent work that brings the benefits of optimization-based control to high-speed systems, while simultaneously providing the computational flexibility and hard real-time guarantees required by modern embedded control platforms. We show how our new real-time MPC scheme provides the fundamental properties of constraint satisfaction and stability, while optimizing for performance, at speeds several orders of magnitude faster than the previous state-of-the-art. The controller synthesis methodology is unique in that it allows the embedded system to dynamically allocate computational resources as it sees fit, while still satisfying constraints and stabilizing the system. Lastly, we introduce a new freely-available toolbox implementing these theories and present application examples demonstrating their capabilities.

Seminar's slides

Type of Seminar:
Mini-Symposium on Complex Systems Control
Prof. Hespanha, Mr. Dörfler, Prof. Jones
Jun 17, 2013   9:15 am

HG E 3, Rämistrasse 101
Contact Person:

Prof. John Lygeros
No downloadable files available.
Biographical Sketch:
Biography Prof. Hespanha:
João P. Hespanha received his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering and applied science from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut in 1998. From 1999 to 2001, he was Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2002, where he currently holds a Professor position with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and is the Director for the Center for Control, Dynamical-systems, and Computation (CCDC). Dr. Hespanha is the recipient of the Yale University’s Henry Prentiss Becton Graduate Prize for exceptional achievement in research in Engineering and Applied Science, the 2005 Automatica Theory/Methodology best paper prize, the 2006 George S. Axelby Outstanding Paper Award, and the 2009 Ruberti Young Researcher Prize. Dr. Hespanha is a Fellow of the IEEE and an IEEE distinguished lecturer since 2007. His current research interests include hybrid and switched systems, distributed control over communication networks (also known as networked control systems), the control of autonomous multi-agent systems, game theory, and stochastic modeling in biology.

Biography Mr. Dörfler:
Florian Dörfler is with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and he is affiliated with the Center for Nonlinear Studies at the Los Alamos National Laboratories. He received his Diplom degree in Engineering Cybernetics from the University of Stuttgart in 2008 and his Ph.D. degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2013. His primary research interests are centered around distributed control, complex networks, and cyber-physical systems with applications to smart power grids and robotic coordination. He is recipient of the 2009 Regents Special International Fellowship, the 2011 Peter J. Frenkel Foundation Fellowship, the 2010 ACC Student Best Paper Award, and the 2011 O. Hugo Schuck Best Paper Award. As a co-advisor and a co-author, he is currently a finalist for the ECC 2013 Best Student Paper Award.

Biography Prof. Jones:
Colin Jones is an Assistant Professor in the Automatic Control Laboratory at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. He was a Senior Researcher at the Automatic Control Lab at ETH Zurich until 2011 and obtained a PhD in 2005 from the University of Cambridge for his work on polyhedral computational methods for constrained control. Prior to that, he was at the University of British Columbia in Canada, where he took a BASc and MASc in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. Colin has worked in a variety of industrial roles, ranging from commercial building control to the development of custom optimization tools focusing on retail human resource scheduling. He was awarded a prestigious ERC Starting Grant in 2012 to study the provision of ancillary electrical services utilizing a large network of buildings. His current research interests are in the theory and computation of predictive control and optimization, and their application to green energy generation, distribution and management.