Newsletter December 2021

Message from the DISC Office

Dear all,

Welcome to the December newsletter.

The year has almost come to an end and everyone is looking forward to spend Christmas and New Year with their loved ones.   We are busy finalising the program for DISC Winterschool next year and have made a start for the Summer school 2022.

Enjoy the holidays everyone!

With best regards,

Henk Nijmeijer,
scientific director

Renate Kragtwijk,
DISC secretariat




Course program 2021-2022

The DISC course program 2021-2022 is ready. You can find it here. Registration is open on the DISC course platform.

We will start in January 2022 and the courses will hopefully be able take place live in Utrecht, at Cursus- en vergadercentrum Domstad.  In case of changes of covid regulations, we might have to change to online courses. Let’s hope this will not be necessary.

We are offering the following courses:

Mathematical Models of Systems
Nonlinear Control Systems
Modeling and Control of Flexible and Soft Robots
Modelling and Control of Hybrid Systems
Design Methods for Control System

Winter Course Data Learning & Dynamics at the Intersection of Neuroscience and Control on March 10 and 11, 2022

Matin Jafarian and Sérgio Pequito organise a DISC Winter Course on “Data learning & dynamics at the intersection of Neuroscience and Control”, to be held on March 10 and 11, 2022 in Delft. The school is planned in a hybrid fashion, with two main lectures from Delft and two online seminars. In case of strict Covid measures, the program will be held fully online.


Neuroscience data is becoming readily available, and technological developments are making it collectible in almost real-time. On the one hand, this will enable the generation and validation of models for novel closed-loop control implementations enabling treatments of neurological diseases and disorders (e.g., Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and epilepsy). On the other hand, these advances will bridge the problems in the health and the engineering domains.

The 2022 winter course seeks to cover recent developments in data learning and dynamic models that enable the study of systems properties from a theoretical point of view. We will look into the fundamentals and advances on the Koopman operator methods and fractional dynamical systems. While the primary motivation behind this program is the applications of the presented tools in the intersection of neuroscience and control, the theoretical techniques can be applied to a broad class of complex systems.

Program sketch

Day 1: Main lecture by Alexandre Mauroy (University of Namur, Belgium)
complemented by an online seminar by Antoine Chaillet (CentraleSupélec, France)

  • Opening talk (M. Jafarian): “Dynamic networks in neuroscience and cognition”
  • Lecture (A. Mauroy): “Koopman theory in systems & control”
  • Seminar (A. Chaillet): “Closed-loop deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease”

Day 2: Main lecture by Sérgio Pequito (Delft Univeristy of Technology, NL)
complemented by an online seminar by  Paul Bogdan (University of Southern California, USA)

  • Lecture (S. Pequito): “Modeling, analysis, estimation and control of fractional dynamical systems”
  • Seminar (P. Bogdan): “Compact yet Accurate Mathematical Modeling of Physiological Systems”
  • Closure talk (S. Pequito): “Some thoughts and challenges at the intersection between neuroscience and control”

Date and Location

The course will take place from Thursday March 10, until Friday March 11. The location will hopefully be at Delft University of Technology. Details on the program/location will be announced in 2022.

Registration and fee

The registration fee for taking or auditing an entire course is € 250. This fee is waived for DISC members. The registration form is available on the DISC course platform.  Please note that there is a maximum number of participants for the live Winter Course, registrations are processed in order of registration. Please register before March 3rd, 2022.

You can obtain 1 ECTS for attending the DISC Winter Course. Please note that you have to be present at all Thursday and Friday sessions to receive the credits.


DISC Best Thesis Award 2021 & Best Thesis Award Jury 2021

At this moment information is being compiled for the DISC Best Thesis Award 2021 after which the Jury for the Best Thesis Award 2021 can be appointed.

More information will be shared on this topic next year.

New people

Groningen University

Name: Bangguo Yu
Function: PhD student
Group: DTPA
Start date: 01-11-2021
Supervisor: Ming Cao

Project: Socially aware Robot Navigation in Uncertain Scenes based on Deep Reinforcement Learning

Bangguo Yu is a Ph.D. student in the DTPA group at the University of Groningen. He received his B.Eng. Degree in Automation from Shandong University of Science and Technology and Master Degree in control engineer from the Shandong University of Hong Kong in 2018 and 2021, respectively. His research interests contain robotics, SLAM, and reinforcement learning.


Name: Henk van Waarde
Starting date: 01-01-2022
Function: Assistant professor
Group: Systems, Control and Optimization


Hi, my name is Henk van Waarde. I received the PhD degree (cum laude) in Systems and Control from the University of Groningen in 2020. My PhD project was supervised by Kanat Camlibel and Pietro Tesi. For my dissertation, I received the 2020 DISC Best PhD Thesis Award. During my PhD studies, I was a visiting researcher at the University of Washington, Seattle, in the lab of Mehran Mesbahi. After that I was a postdoctoral researcher, first at Cambridge University under supervision of Rodolphe Sepulchre, and later at ETH Zürich where I worked with Florian Dörfler. Next January, I will return to the University of Groningen as an assistant professor. My research interests are in data-driven modeling and control. I am also interested in applications to networked systems and neuronal dynamics. Looking forward to seeing you all (again!) at future summer schools and Benelux meetings.


Eindhoven University of Technology

Name: Carlos Jose Gonzalez Rojas
Starting date: 22 November 2021
Function: PhD candidate
Group: Control Systems – EE
Supervisor: dr. Leyla Ozkan

Project: printyourfood

I’m Carlos Jose from Colombia. I completed my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at the Industrial University of Santander (UIS) in Colombia and my master’s degree at the State University of Campinas (Unicamp) in Brazil. I’ve worked with physics-informed neural networks for inverse problems and machine learning for model order reduction in fluid flow applications.

In my Ph.D., I work under the supervision of Dr. Özkan on the topic of digital twinning for food printing in the PRINTYOURFOOD project. Outside of my academic life, I’m a sports fan.


Name: Peter Verheijen
Starting date: 22 November 2021
Function: PhD candidate
Group: Control Systems – EE
Supervisor: dr. Mircea Lazar

Project: AquaConnect

Hello, I am Peter Verheijen! I received my BSc degree in Mechatronics and recently got my MSc degree in Systems and Control, both in Eindhoven. During my master’s graduation project, we developed a new recursive data-driven predictive control algorithm. In this period I developed a great interest in research and developing new algorithms, which motivated me to pursue a PhD as the next step in my journey. I am starting my PhD in the Control Systems group at the TU/e, under supervision of Mircea Lazar, where I will be working on a “Water-Embedded Model Predictive Control” framework for the AquaConnect project.

Outside the university, I enjoy programming, gaming, cooking and cycling.


Name: Maico Engelaar
Starting date: 01-12-2021
Function: PhD candidate
Group: Control Systems – EE
Supervisor: dr. Sofie Haesaert

Project: Verifiable Estimation and Control for Autonomous Systems

 Hello everyone, my name is Maico Engelaar and I am 25 years old. I am from Friesland and did my Bachelor Mathematics and my Master Applied Mathematics at the university of Groningen. My hobbies include reading and squash. I am very excited with my new PhD function in the CS group at the university of Eindhoven, and I will do my best to strengthen the team.


Delft University of Technology


Name: Lotfi Chaouach
Startingdate: 01-10-2021
Function: Phd
Group: 3ME / DCSC
Supervisor : dr. Dimitris Boskos

“Hello everyone! My name is Lotfi: Chaouach, I’m a systems and control engineer from Algeria. I obtained my engineering degree in automation and control systems at the National Polytechnic School, Algiers in 2020. I then moved to France where I obtained a master’s degree in systems and control theory at Université Grenoble Alpes in 2021.

During these years, my work focused mainly on topics related to estimation and control. For my engineering thesis within the EMAN-group, KAUST, I focused on the observer design for a special class of systems, known as time scale systems.

Last year, I worked in GIPSA-lab on the characterization of feasibility and convergence conditions of the stochastic model predictive control for linear systems affected by correlated and non-stationary disturbances and where I also developed an SMPC algorithm for this type of systems under weak assumptions.

I’m currently pursuing my Ph.D. degree at TU Delft under the supervision of Dr. Dimitris Boskos. The main objective of the project I’m involved in is to combine techniques across control engineering and applied mathematics to develop decision, control, estimation and inference methods based on available models and limited data for systems characterized by complexity and uncertainty”


Name: Lasse Peters
Startingdate: 01-12-2021
Function: Phd
Group: 3ME / CoR
Supervisor: prof. Javier Alonso-Mora & prof. Laura Ferranti


My name is Lasse Peters. I am joining CoR under the supervision of Prof. Javier Alonso-Mora and Prof. Laura Ferranti.

My research will focus on combining methods from traditional control, game theory, and reinforcement learning to design control strategies for multi-agent systems under uncertainty.

Before coming to Delft, I received a Bachelor’s degree in Theoretical Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Mechatronics from TU Hamburg, Germany, in 2017 and 2020, respectively.  During that time, I was a member of the university’s RoboCup SPL team where I have worked on state estimation, perception, and control in the domain of autonomous humanoid robot soccer.

More recently, I was a visiting research scholar at the UC Berkeley Hybrid Systems Lab (2019) and a researcher at the Photogrammetry & Robotics Lab at University of Bonn (2020-2021) where I developed methods for game-theoretic multi-agent interaction in continuous state-action spaces.

Outside of my research, I like to boulder (though the pandemic has reduced my activity here), play the piano, and contribute to open source software projects.


Twente University

Name: Zhuoyue Wang
Function: PhD
Group: Surgical Robotics Laboratory
Start date: 01-12-2021
Supervisor: Prof. Sarthak Misra


My name is Zhuoyue Wang, a PhD student in UMCG starting from December this year. I come from China and have  studied at Lanzhou University between 2014-2021 for bachelor’s and master’s degrees, majoring in civil engineering and structural engineering. While doing my master’s, I spent three years studying the construction of microstructures such as 3D printing of ceramic and graphene aerogels and tried to use them on some functional devices like supercapacitors as well as sensors. In the future, I am going to work on the multi-functionalization for magnetically actuated soft robots with Dr Venkat and many great colleagues in Prof. Sarthak Misra’s group at the Surgical Robotics Laboratory (

In my spare time, I enjoy taking photos outside and watching Formula 1 races. Hope to make more friends and share hobbies with each other, and see you soon.


Name: Juan Huaroto Sevilla (UT-ET)
Function: PhD
Group: Surgical Robotics Laboratory
Start date: 01-11-2021
Supervisor: Prof. Sarthak Misra

My name is Juan, I’m mechanical engineer from the National University of Engineering, Peru, and I just finished a master in automation and robotics at University Bourgogne Franche-Comté, France. I’m currently working as a doctoral candidate in the ERC project: MAESTRO, under the supervision of professor Sarthak Misra. I am very excited to join the Surgical Robotics Laboratory (SRL) and start contributing to the field of milli/microrobotics. My research will be focused on miniaturized magnetic actuation units and sensing of micro-agents. Regarding my general interests, I’m a guitarist (classic and electric guitar) and of course I love listening to vintage music as well as new releases.

PhD defences

Groningen University

Candidate: Leonardo de Paula Carvalho
Group: Division Discrete Technology and Production Automation
Thesis: Fault detection filter and fault accommodation controller design for uncertain systems
Promotores: prof. Bayu Jayawardhana and prof. O.L. Do Valle Costa (USP Brazil)
Date: 18-01-2022


Wageningen University & Research

Candidate: David Katzin
Group: Farm Technology
Thesis: Energy saving by LED lighting in greenhouses
Promotores: EJ (Eldert) van Henten, LFM (Leo) Marcelis
Date: 29-06-2021


Ming Cao elected IEEE Fellow

ENTEG is proud to announce that Ming Cao has been elevated by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to the grade of IEEE Fellow for his contributions for contributions to multi-agent control systems for sensor, robotic and social networks.

Becoming an IEEE Fellow is IEEE’s highest honor. Yearly, a select group of IEEE members is recognized as IEEE fellow. The institute awards the honour to less than 0.1 percent of its members. The Fellow title is recognized by the international engineering community as a prestigious honour and achievement. The grade of Fellow is being awarded since 1912.

Ming Cao
Ming Cao

Ming Cao is Professor of Networks and Robots at the Engineering and Technology institute Groningen (ENTEG) of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. His research focuses on multi-agent systems, complex systems and networks, sensor networks and autonomous robots. Cao conducts ground-breaking research in the field of control systems that allow groups of autonomous robots to work together. If autonomous cars and robots are to function effectively and safely, they must be able to take each other’s actions into account. Cao works on this development with colleagues from the fields of sociology, mathematics and biology. The algorithms he develops for robots are partly inspired by the movements of animals, particularly fish and birds, which also act in formation.

IEEE Roberto Tempo Best CDC Paper Award

Mattia Bianchi and Sergio Grammatico have been awarded the 2021 Roberto Tempo Award for their paper

“Fully distributed Nash equilibrium seeking over time-varying networks with linear convergence rate”, presented at the 2020 IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC), Jeju Island, Republic of Korea, Dec. 14-18, 2020.

The IEEE Conference on Decision and Control is the flagship conference of the IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS).

The Roberto Tempo Best CDC Paper Award is given in honor of Roberto Tempo, 44th President of CSS. The Tempo Award Committee selects the best paper from the previous year’s CDC based on originality, potential impact on any aspect of control theory, technology, or implementation, and for the clarity of writing.

website ceremony IEEE

IEEE Control Systems Letters Outstanding Paper Award

University of Groningen

The authors H.J. van Waarde, C. De Persis, M.K. Camlibel, and P. Tesi have received a  IEEE Control Systems Letters Outstanding Paper Award for the article : “Willems’ Fundamental Lemma for State-space Systems and its Extension to Multiple Datasets”,

website ceremony IEEE



Deadline for nominating candidates for the European Control Award is extended until 1 January 2022

Dear General Assembly and Council members of EUCA,

The deadline for nominating candidates for the European Control Award is extended until 1 January 2022. In case you did not yet nominate someone, please take the chance to nominate strong candidates.

See for information how to prepare a nomination.


Benelux Meeting on Systems and Control 2022 at ULB in Brussels on July 5-7, 2022

This meeting is the 41st of a series of annual meetings held alternatively in The Netherlands  and in Belgium.  It aims at promoting research activities and cooperation between researchers in system and control.

The current edition is jointly organized by UMONS and ULB and will take place at ULB in
Brussels on July 5-7, 2022

The usual period of March has not been selected due to the pandemic situation, and the
beginning of Summer has been preferred for its more favourable conditions.

The invited speakers are:
 Prof. Ilya KOLMANOVSKY, Department of Aerospace, University of Michigan, USA
 Dr. Mouhacine BENOSMAN, Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories, USA
 Prof. David HOWEY, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, UK
 Prof. Nicanor QUIJANO, Department of Electric and Electronic Engineering,
Universidad de Los Andes, Columbia

A special session in memory of Professor Rik PINTELON is also scheduled.

For more information, please visit the website of the Benelux Meeting.

Vacancy PostDoc on Model learning within the EE/Control Systems Group of Eindhoven University of Technology

Within the EE/Control Systems Group of Eindhoven University of Technology there is an open position for a  PostDoc on Model learning in dynamic networks (1 year + 1 year).

The full text is available here.   Deadline for application is December 23rd 2021.

Next issue of the newsletter

The next issue of this Newsletter will appear in January 2022.

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