Newsletter August 2016

Message from the DISC office

Dear all,

We hope you have all had an enjoyable and relaxing summer vacation and that you are ready for the new academic year. The course program 2016-2017 is ready and registration will open in the first full week of September. This year the courses will start a bit later, in November, and the last course will end in June. Right now we are also putting the final touches to an updated version of the “DISC forum website” which will hence be know as the DISC course platform. You can read more about that further on in the newsletter.

We congratulate DISC members who have recently been awarded prizes and of course also support Tom Oomen who has been nominated for New Scientist’s “Scientist of the Year” contest. You can vote for Tom until September 7, 2016. We also welcome the new DISC members and wish you all a productive academic year!

Best regards,

Henk Nijmeijer,
scientific director

Martha Otte,
DISC secretariat

Login part of DISC website renewed

The DISC course platform will have a fresh new look but will basically work the same as the old website. It will have some new functions. For instance an overview of your grades and ECTS (for DISC courses taken from this academic year on).

Hopefully you will like the new website. It is scheduled to be ready in the first full week of September and all DISC members will receive a notification email. If you have questions please contact Martha Otte at the DISC secretariat:


Course program 2016-2017

The course program 2016-2017 is ready. Registration for will open in the first full week of September.
Check the course schedule 2016-2017 for dates and times. You may have checked the preliminary course schedule, please note that we have added a new course which will start in November: Computational Linear Algebra: A least squares perspective (prof. M. Verhaegen and prof. B. De Moor).

This Academic year the following courses are scheduled:

Linear Matrix Inequalities for Control
Computational Linear Algebra, A least squares perspective
Mathematical Models of Systems
Modeling and Control of Hybrid Systems
Nonlinear Control Systems
Design Methods for Control Systemss
Distributed Parameter Systems
Automatic Verification and Synthesis of Complex Systems

locatie-koningsbergerstraat-540x360The courses are taught at Hogeschool Domstad in Utrecht, location Koningsbergerstraat 9. For more information see their website.

In November 2016 the following course will start:
Linear Matrix Inequalities for Control
Lecturers: S. Weiland and R. Toth

Computational Linear Algebra, A least squares perspective
Lecturers: M. Verhaegen and B. De Moor

Don’t forget to register before you participate.

DISC Winter Course

The wintercourse 2016-2017 is scheduled for the first (full) week of December 2016. The topic will be “modelling in the life sciences” and it will be hosted by the University of Wageningen. The speakers will be prof. dr. ir. Johan Schoukens (Free University of Brussel) and prof. dr. Jaap Molenaar (Wageningen University).We will keep you updated on this!

Benelux Meeting 2017

Mark your calendars! The 36th Benelux Meeting on Systems and Control will take place from Tuesday March 28 till Thursday March 30, 2017 in conference center Sol cress, Spa, Belgium.

Summer School organisers

We would like to invite you to suggest topics/lecturers for the Summer School 2017. The Summer School is tentatively scheduled for the week of July 3, 2017. It  is a four day event for which several national and international lecturers are invited. This year the topic of the Summer school was “A Systems and Control Perspective in Human-Robot-Environment Interaction” and it was organized by Raffaella Carloni, Jens Kober, Manuel Mazo Espinosa and Alessandro Saccon. Read more about it in on the DISC website or in the newsletter for June.

If you have suggestions or would like to be involved in organising the Summer School please contact the DISC secretariat.

2016 European Control Award for Prof. dr. Ming Cao from the University of Groningen

3 DISC PhD students in the top five of ECC “best student paper award”

During the ECC 2016, which was held from June 29-July 1, 2016 in Aalborg, Denmark three DISC students made it to the top 5 of best students papers:

Sebastian Trip from University of Groningen
Advisor: Claudio De Persis
Optimal Generation in Structure-Preserving Power Networks with Second-Order Turbine-Governor Dynamics





Sofie Haesaert from TU Eindhoven
Advisors: Paul M.J. Van den Hof and Alessandro Abate
Experiment Design for Formal Verification Via Stochastic Optimal Control



Congratulations to all!

ERC starting grant for Sander Wahls (TU Delft-DCSC)

Wahls, SanderSander Wahls has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant by the European Research Council.

Nonlinear effects are ubiquitous in many modern technology fields such as photonics and hydromechanical engineering. The standard method to deal with nonlinear effects is to use linear approximations because they are simple to work with. Engineers typically consider nonlinear effects a nuisance that cannot be dealt with in exact terms. This intuition is deeply engrained in the collective subconscious, but it is not always correct — not all nonlinearities are equally bad.
Many practically important nonlinear systems can be approached using so-called nonlinear Fourier transforms, which offer simple closed-form descriptions for nonlinear phenomena that are difficult to work with in the conventional time- or frequencydomain, similar to how the conventional Fourier transform simplifies the analysis of linear systems.

Today, almost fifty years after the discovery of the first nonlinear Fourier transform by Gardner et al., nonlinear Fourier transforms have been studied intensively in mathematics and physics. However, despite many potential applications, they have not yet found widespread use in engineering. Sander Wahls aims to push nonlinear Fourier transform into engineering practice by developing fast nonlinear Fourier transforms for two prototypical applications, fiber-optic communications and water-wave data analysis.

Ton Oomen nominated for New Scientist’s “Scientist of the Year” contest

The winner will be announced on September 22 and until September 8 you can cast an online ballot for Tom here.
Read more about the contest and the candidates on the new scientist website:

Maarten Steinbuch awarded honorary title of Simon Stevin master 2016

STW praises the way that Steinbuch creates a bridge between science and industry, and their cooperation in solving societal challenges. In his research, Steinbuch works with leading companies like ASML, Philips, TNO and Océ as well as with many SME’s. It is due in part to Steinbuch that the Netherlands has become a hotspot for developments centering on electric driving, precision systems control and microsurgery.

Valedictory Address Hans Schumacher

Hans participated either as promotor or co-promotor in many PhD commit-tees of DISC students and has a high esteem in the systems and control community. His scientific children are all around the world. Though Hans has formally retired, we expect he will still be engaged in research for, at least, the next few years. We join in with the words of the Rector and Head of the Department of Econometrics and OR of Tilburg University who wished him all the best in his new, less rail-road intensive, life.

New people

Eindhoven University of Technology

Alejandro Marquez was born in Medellín, Colombia. He received  the Ph.D degree in Engineering with emphasis in Energetic Systems of National University of Colombia-Medellín. The Ph.D thesis was titled Hierarchical Robust Real Time Optimization with zone control. He obtained a B.A. in Control Engineering degree from National University of Colombia in Medellin. During the bachelor studies he worked in applied POD techniques and MPC for simple thermal systems. Later on, he started a Master in Chemical Engineering where he developed Model predictive controllers for tubular reactor using once again POD. In this period he worked for a semester in the University of Sao Paulo together with Prof. Darci Odloak at the LCSP (Laboratory of Control and Process Simulation). After this, he started the Ph.D studies, where he developed hierarchical MPC control strategies for large scale systems. This project was partially developed with EU funding under the FP7 in the Project HD-MPC. During the Ph.D studies he spent six months as a research intern at RWTH Aachen, together with Prof. Wolfgang Marquardt. Besides that, he has been teaching courses on Multivariable Control, Process Modeling, Mass and Energy Balances, Process Simulation and Predictive Control. In the last two years he has been involved in several research projects involving many subjects such as traffic control and energy management systems, and others. Currently he is a post-doctoral researcher of the Control System group at the TU-Eindhoven. He is involved in the IMPROVISE (Improve Process Operation via Rigorous Simulation Models) project with focus on modeling, estimation and control of reactive batch distillation columns under the supervision of Dr. L. Ozkan and in partnership with DSM

Esmaeil Najafi is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Control Systems group of the Department of Electrical Engineering of Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands. He received the BSc degree and the MSc degree in Mechanical Engineering, Dynamics and Control, from the K. N. Toosi University of Technology, Iran in 2007 and 2010, respectively. Esmaeil received his PhD degree in Systems and Control from the Delft Center for Systems and Control, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, in 2016. His PhD research, titled Automatic Synthesis of Supervisory Control Systems, has mainly dealt with supervisory control systems, cooperative control systems, machine learning, robotics, and mechatronics. During his PhD, Esmaeil obtained the DISC certificate for fulfilling the graduate course program of the Dutch Institute of Systems and Control. From 2015 until 2016, he was a Mechatronics Lecturer at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. Currently, Esmaeil is working on the control of energy systems, particularly on battery management, with Prof. H.J. Bergveld and Dr. M.C.F. Donkers.

Groningen University


PhD defenses

Delft University of Technology

Candidate: Max Potters
Group: DCSC
Thesis: Experiment Design for Identification of Structured Linear Systems
Promotor: P.M.J. van den Hof, X. Bombois
Date: 28-06-2016
Location: Aula Senaatszaal, Mekelweg 5
Time: 12.30-14.30

Twente University

Candidate: D. Dresscher, MSc
Group: Robotics and Mechatronics
Thesis: Controlled Passive Actuation: Concepts for energy efficient actuation using mechanical storage elements and continuously variable transmissions.
Promotor: S. Stramigioli
Date:  9 november 2016
Location: University of Twente – prof.dr. G. Berkhoff room, building de Waaier 4
Time:  14.45 uur

Next issue of the newsletter

The next issue of this Newsletter will appear in September 2016.
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