Newsletter July 2019

Message from the DISC office

Welcome to the July newsletter!  The DISC courses finished in May and traditionally we ended our course year with a Summer School. This year the topic was “When Game Theory meets Systems and Control” and we would like to take the opportunity to thank the organizers, Jacob Engwerda and Dario Bauso!  We are still working hard at preparing an interesting course program for 2019-2020 and we will give you a peak behind the scenes in this newsletter.

We wish you all a relaxing Summer time and we will be back in September!

With best regards,

Henk Nijmeijer,
scientific director

Martha Otte,
DISC secretariat

In Memoriam prof. dr. Jan Kok (Eindhoven University of technology)

On June 10th 2019 Jan Kok, passed away at the age of 78.
In 1983, Jan was appointed as full professor of systems and control engineering at the Department of Mechanical Engineering At Eindhoven University of Technology. As the first group leader of the mechanical engineering control technology group, Jan has laid important building blocks for the later flourishing of control engineering and mechatronics activities.
Jan had a background in human-machine interaction from systems science and cybernetic ergonomics. With teaching and research experience from TU Delft, Jan came here to build up a research group in control engineering within mechanical engineering. At that time there were flourishing control engineering groups at the departments of Electrical Engineering and Physics. At the latter, Jan was also a part-time professor for almost ten years. Together with his employees, Jan has been able to achieve a strong educational profile of systems and control for mechanical engineering students. This also attracted many graduates and the development of appealing control engineering lab set-ups also made the research results visible. Through collaborations with the automotive powertrain group, a line of research has been created in the field of control and modelling of vehicle powertrains, transmissions and engines, which is still topical today. The collaborations with process control technology, dynamics and with fluid dynamics were also early examples of multi-disciplinary research that Jan stimulated.
Jan Kok was a man of integrity, with an eye for detail, and above all with a warm heart for his employees and colleagues. He was an excellent teacher, and made beautiful, detailed lecture notes. In his last years he has given room to the further development of ‘his’ control engineering group with a great deal of wisdom. We will miss him.

Board of the Department of Mechanical Engineering (TU/e)
Members of Control Systems Technology and Dynamics & Control (TU/e)

DISC course program

DISC evergreens “Linear Matrix Inequalities” (Siep Weiland and Tijs Donkers),  “Design Methods for Control Systems” Jan Willem van Wingerden en Tom Oomen) , “Mathematical Models of Systems” (Jan Willem Polderman, Harry Trentelman and Kanat Camlibel)  and “Nonlinear Control Systems” (Bayu Jayawardhana and Bart Besselink) will be offered again next year. Many thanks to the lecturers of these popular courses!

In the Fall Sergio Grammatica and Giulia Giordano will teach the course “Multi-Agent Network Dynamics and Games” and Erik Steur and Wim Michiels will offer a course on “Time Delay”. We are working on other ideas as well but for now this is what we can share with you. When the course program has been finalized you will receive an email!

Summer School DISC 2019 “When Game Theory meets Systems and Control”

Javier Alonso-Mora (TUD) and team receive IEEE ICRA Best Paper Award on Multi-Robot Systems

The paper “Distributed Multi-Robot Formation Splitting and Merging in Dynamic Environments”, by Hai Zhu, Jelle Juhl, Laura Ferranti, Javier Alonso-Mora has won the IEEE ICRA Best Paper

Alonso MoraAward on Multi-Robot Systems during the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, the robotics flagship conference in Montreal in May 2019.


This award recognizes the best paper on Multi-Robot Systems presented at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA).

VIDI grant for Jan Willem van Wingerden (TUD)

Wind turbines in packed offshore ‘farms’ hinder each other, which lowers their efficiency. Researchers will develop robust control algorithms which actively steers each turbine’s wake away from other turbines. A novel integrated design will simultaneously optimize the operation strategy and farm topology, considerably reducing the cost of wind energy.

Vidi is aimed at excellent researchers who have already carried out several years of successful research following their PhD. The scientists belong to the top ten to twenty per cent of their field. A Vidi grant enables them to do research for a period of five years. Each scientist receives a grant for a maximum of 800,000 euros.

Sergio Grammatico (TUD) promoted to Associate Professor

Sergio Grammatico has received tenure and has been promoted to Associate Professor at the DCSC Department as of February 1, 2019.

Our Future Leaders – a living lab on organisational life and leadership

Our Future Leaders programme is for young scientists, entrepreneurs and professionals in their early twenties to late thirties.

The world of work is contradictory. It sends complex messages of what is required to the fast track entrant and those in the first phases of their science career. As a young leader, you need to be radical, practical and strategic in knowing what to maintain and what to change from your current and future position of power.

The question is how you master the qualities of good judgement for handling the unpredictability of the future and the uncertainty of other people’s reactions. And obtain perspective, organisational acumen and a healthy dose of “political savviness” to prosper in today’s demanding organisations.

Our Future Leaders is not a standard management course. Participants learn by experiencing the demands of self-leadership and leadership of others in organisations through a real-time simulation of creating high performance teams in a temporary organisation.

The next dates for ‘Our Future Leaders’, a residential programme in two modules:

Module One:  10am on Thursday 3rd to 9pm on Monday 7th October 2019 (Kasteel Moermond, Landgoed Fletcher, Renesse, The Netherlands)
Module Two:  4pm on Friday 22nd to 9pm on Sunday 24nd November 2019 (Kasteel Moermond, Landgoed Fletcher, Renesse, The Netherlands)

For more information, visit:

The 8th oCPS Fall School on Multidisciplinary CPS Design

The 8th oCPS Fall School on Multidisciplinary CPS Design,will take place Monday October 28 to Thursday October 31, 2019 in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

The school targets graduate students and researchers who want to learn the main concepts of cyber-physical systems (CPSs), as well as at graduate students and postgraduate researchers already working in the area.

The oCPS Fall School will focus on:
•    Model-driven design and performance analysis
•    Security challenges in CPS
•    Networked and distributed CPS
•    Learning techniques in CPS
•    Data-intensive and resource-aware CPS
•    Industrial model predictive control (MPC)
•    Platform-awareness and self-awareness in CPS

The presentations will cover applications domains ranging from flexible manufacturing, automotive and platooning, and smart imaging to smart grids.

The program of the school includes four days of lectures, interleaved by enough time slots to allow scientific discussions among the participants and with the speakers.

Registration deadline: 30 September 2019 (due to the high number of expected participants, we encourage attendees to register ASAP). The registration will be restricted to 40 attendees.

The full program of the school, other information and the registration procedure can be found soon at

New people

Delft University of Technology

I’m Arkady, a new postdoc at AiTech. I graduated from Saint-Petersburg State University (Russia) with MSc in Applied Mathematics, and did my PhD in Computer Science and Engineering at University of Aizu (Japan). My early research focused on mathematical modeling of intermittent motor control in human operators; in particular, I studied how humans balance an inverted pendulum. Later, I moved to the Department of Psychology, National University of Ireland Galway, to investigate how decision making and motor behavior influence each other. For instance, I studied how we can utilize hand- and full-body motion capture to track cognitive conflict during decision making.
I’m working with David Abbink and the AiTech team on an exciting interdisciplinary project: I will try to understand how human drivers make decisions during simple traffic interactions, and investigate how this understanding can help us to improve coordination between autonomous vehicles and human drivers. The overarching goal of our project is to develop approaches to managing complex interactions between multiple human and artificial agents.
Outside the office, I like spending time with my kids, playing football, video- and boardgames.

I’m Giovanni Franzese and I’m a new PhD student in Interactive Imitation Learning at your department. I come from Italy where I graduated in Mechatronics and Robotics at Politecnico di Milano. I wrote my Master Thesis at TU Eindhoven in the Dynamic and Control Department under the supervision of Dr Alessandro Saccon. My thesis focused on the implementation of a software toolbox for the Trajectory Planning of manipulators with the intention of making an investigation on the benefits of using second-order derivatives of dynamics and kinematics in the searching of optimal trajectories.
My research in the CoR department will focus on the Teaching Robots Interactively (TERI) project under the supervision of Prof. Jens Kober. My work will focus on both theoretical and practical analysis of the problem of fast learning and reprogramming of a robot after the human or video demonstration. My research topic will give me the opportunity to better understand the potentiality of machine learning in a complicated scenario as a working manipulator. My ambition is to see one day my research, as an algorithm or a theoretical model, in an industrial, agricultural or daily life collaboration of humans with robots.

My name is Álvaro Serra, I have been recently accepted as a PhD student here in TU Delft to work in the Autonomous Multi-Robots Lab within the Cognitive Robotics Department. My PhD topic is “Multi-Robot Motion Planning for Scene Understanding” and I will be working under the supervision of Dr. Javier Alonso Mora. I hold two Master’s degrees, one Data Science in the Ecole Polytechnique of Paris and another in Automatic Control and Robotics in the Technical University of Catalonia. I also hold a double Bachelor’s degrees in Physics Engineering and in Industrial Engineering.
Lately, I enjoy tremendously dancing salsa and boulder climbing, but I’m open to trying other sports or activities!

My name is Niek Beckers and I will join Cognitive Robotics – the Delft Haptics Lab to be precise – as a postdoctoral researcher, supervised by prof. David Abbink.
I am mainly involved in the TUD’s interdepartmental AiTech program on meaningful human control of autonomous systems. My research focuses on trust in automation, specifically in the situations where a user is haptically collaborating with an intelligent system. I got my M.Sc. degree in Aerospace Engineering in Delft, so after a number of years in Boston and Enschede (where I soon will defend my Ph.D. dissertation on haptic human-human interaction), I am happy to be back in Delft. After work, I enjoy climbing, mountainbiking, and the outdoors in general.

University of Twente

I was born in 1971 in Trabzon, a city in the Black Sea Coast (northeastern part) of Turkey. I obtained my BSc (1993), MSc (1995) and PhD (2001) degrees all in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Bilkent University in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey. After a military service at the Technical and Project Management Department of the Turkish Land Forces Command, I came to The Netherlands first time to work as a post-doctoral research associate at DCSC, TU Delft (Jan 2004 – Feb 2009). This was followed by a shorter research position at TU Eindhoven (Control Group in Electrical Engineering), during which I worked part-time at ASML (Dec 2009 – Jan 2011). I then joined King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (Electrical Engineering Department) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia as an assistant professor and worked there during Feb 2011 – Sep 2012. This was followed by a researcher/teacher position at Chalmers University of Technology (Department of Signals and Systems) in Gothenburg, Sweden (Apr 2013 – Apr 2017). As of June 2019, I am affiliated with University of Twente, Faculty of Engineering Technology as an assistant professor. I am currently working at the Department of Mechanics of Solids, Surfaces and Systems (MS3) and within the Research Chair on Structural Dynamics, Acoustics and Control (SDAC) led by Prof. Andre De Boer.

PhD defences June and July

University of Twente

Candidate: Konstantinos (Kostas) Nizamis
Group: Biomechanical Engineering
Thesis: Neuro Motor Characterization and Hand Motor Intention Decoding in Individuals with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Promotor: H.F.J.M. Koopman
Date: 20.06.2019
Location: Waaier 4, Prof.dr. G. Berkhoff zaal
Time: 16:45

Candidate: Federico Ongaro
Group: Biomechanical Engineering
Thesis: Clinically Relevant Control of Micro-Robotic Agents
Promotor: prof.dr. S. Misra
Date: 03.07.2019
Location: Waaier 4, Prof.dr. G. Berkhoff zaal
Time: 14:45

Candidate: Niek Beckers
Group: Biomechanical Engineering
Thesis: Haptic human-human interaction; Motor learning & haptic communication.
Promotor: H. van der Kooij
Date: 12.07.2019
Location: Waaier 4, Prof.dr. G. Berkhoff zaal
Time: 14:45

Delft University of Technology

Candidate: Jia Xu
Thesis: Optimization and Model-Based Control for Max-Plus Linear and Continuous Piecewise Affine Systems
Promotors: B. De Schutter and T. van den Boom
Date: 06-06-2019
Location: Science Centre (Mijnbouwstraat 120)
Time: 10:00

Candidate: J. Sun
Thesis: Developing Aircraft Performance Models Using Data Mining
Promotors: J.M. Hoekstra and J. Ellerbroek
Date: 14-06-2019
Location: Science Centre (Mijnbouwstraat 120)
Time: 15:00

Candidate: W. Fu
Group: TUD-AE
Thesis: Evidence-based development and evaluation of Haptic Interfaces for Manual Control
Promotor: M.M. van Paassen and M. Mulder
Date: 20-06-2019
Location: Science Centre (Mijnbouwstraat 120)
Time: 15:00

Candidate: Ilya Tkachev
Thesis: Bisimilar Stochastic Systems
Promotors: B. De Schutter, Prof. A. Abate and dr. P. Mohajerin Esfahani
Date: 27-06-2019
Location: Science Centre (Mijnbouwstraat 120)
Time: 12:30

Candidate: X. Wang
Group: TUD-AE
Thesis: Incremental Sliding Mode Flight Control
Promotors: M. Mulder and E. van Kampen
Date: 02-07-2019
Location: Aula, TU Delft
Time: 10:00

Candidate: Christopher Cabrall
Group: TUD-CoR
Thesis: Human Factors of Monitoring Driving Automation: Eye and Scenes
Promotors: Prof.dr. F.C.T. van der Helm, J.C.F. de Winter and R. Happee
Date: 08-07-2019
Location: Aula, TU Delft
Time: 10:00


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The next issue of this Newsletter will appear in September 2019
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