Newsletter March 2016

Message from the DISC office

Dear DISC colleagues,

Welcome to the March edition of the DISC newsletter. The Benelux Meeting was held from March 22-24 2016 at Kontakt der Kontinenten in Soesterberg and we can look back on a very successful edition of this yearly meeting. Further on in the newsletter you can read more about it. From this place we would again like to thank the organisers, Raffaela Carloni, Mircea Lazar and Dimitri Jeltsema for all their efforts.

We are glad to announce that registration for the Summer School 2016 is now open! The topic of this year’s Summer School is ” A Systems and Control Perspective in Human-Robot-Environment Interaction”. A set of international and national experts will provide inspiring talks so it promises to be an interesting event which we hope many of you will join!

With best regards,

Henk Nijmeijer,
scientific director

Martha Otte,
DISC secretariat

DISC courses 2015-2016 and call for input for courses 2016-2017

The last two DISC courses of this academic year, Mathematical Models of Systems and System Identification for Control, started on March 7. All DISC courses were well attended this year and we hope that you have found them useful and informative.

Meanwhile we are working on the course program 2016-2017. A few course proposals have come in but we still need your input. If you are a staff member and would like to teach a course please let us know. We also value input form PhD students about which course they like to see included in the course program. Email your suggestions to

Summer School 2016

Raffaella Carloni, Jens Kober, Manuel Mazo Espinosa and Alessandro Saccon have the pleasure to invite you to participate in the DISC Summer School on “A Systems and Control Perspective in Human Robot Environment Interaction”, which is scheduled to take place from June 14-17, 2016, at “Centerparcs park Zandvoort”, Zandvoort, The Netherlands.

The invitation is aimed at research students, staff members, researchers and engineers engaged in the systems and control area. Distinguished speakers will each present a series of tutorial lectures.

Human Robot Environment Interaction
Robotics is moving away from strictly controlled factory floors and slowly entering our daily lives. Examples include industrial production, household assistance, care, medicine, and agriculture. Next generation of robots will need to interact with their environment, with each other, and with humans. This transition is driven by emerging societal needs and will be enabled by advances in perception, actuation, and computational power, but also by suitable modeling and control aspects tailored to robotic systems. This poses challenging questions to the research community that still require fully satisfying answers.

In this summer school, particular attention will be given to:

  • Modeling and Control of Fix-Based and Free-Floating Robots
  • Control of Robot-Environment Physical Interaction
  • Stability and Performance of Human-Robot Physical Interaction
  • Multi-Robot Coordination and Control

The main program will consist of various speakers. Keynote lectures will be given by:

  • Alessandro De Luca, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy (to be confirmed)
  • Roy Featherstone, Italian Institute of Technology, Italy
  • Aaron D. Ames, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA
  • Jorge Cortes, University of California, San Diego, USA
  • Angelika Peer, University of the West of England, UK (to be confirmed)
  • Bert Kappen, Radboud University, NL
  • Arjan van der Schaft, University of Groningen, NL
  • Ming Cao, University of Groningen, NL
  • Stefano Stramigioli, University of Twente, NL

The registration fee, which includes full board and lodging, is

  • 800,- euro for DISC students/members (before May 6, 2016 -early bird) and 950,- euro (after May 6)
  • 1000,- euro for non-DISC members (before May 6, 2016 – early bird) and 1150,- euro (after May 6)

You will be staying in a comfort cottage with two or three people. You will have your own bedroom. Sheet package, towel package, kitchen package and swimming pool access are included.

The school is limited to 75 participants based on a first-come first-serve policy. The registration deadline is May 31, 2016 (Early bird deadline May 6, 2016).

Registration is now open.


Benelux Meeting 2016

The 35th Benelux Meeting on Systems and Control took place at  “Kontakt der Kontinenten”, Soesterberg, The Netherlands on March 22-24 2016. Organisers Rafaella Carloni, Mircea Lazar and Dimitri Jeltsema did an excellent job and with over 190 participants it was a very succesful event. There were more than 140 presentations by PhD’s and staff members and Thanos Antoulas, Lars Grüne and Claudio De Persis provided very interesting plenary sessions. In between sessions there was time for socializing and for in depth discussion with fellow researchers. For the second time a “meet the experts” session was organized and especially Phd’s appreciated this low-key way to talk to the professors about their research.

Best Junior Presentation Award

More than 100 junior presenters participated in the 20th edition of the Best Junior Presentation Award.
The jury, consisting of Hans Zwart, Bayu Jayawardhana and Julien Hendrickx, selected 6 finalist:

1. Pepijn Cox (TU/e)
2. Masoud Dorosti (TU/e)
3. Estelle Massart (UCL)
4. Annemiek van der Maas (TU/e)
5. Andreas de Preter (KUL)
6. Constantijn Romijn (TU/e)

The winner was Estelle Massart from Université catholique de Louvian. She will receive the DISC trophy for one year!

DISC certificates





During the Benelux Meeting certificates for a completed PhD course program were awarded to:

Xiaodong Cheng (RUG-ENTEG)
Yuri Kapitanyuk (RUG-ENTEG)
Pouria Ramazi (RUG-ENTEG)
Danial Senejohnny (RUG-ENTEG)
Hadi Taghvafard (RUG-ENTEG)
Tobias Van Damme (RUG-ENTEG)
Erik Weitenberg (RUG-ENTEG)
Hidde-Jan Jongsma (RUG-JBI)
Eelco van Horssen (TU/e-ME)
Nikolaos Kontaras (TU/e-ME)
Mark Rijnen (TU/e-ME)
Jurgen van Zundert (TU/e-ME)

During the year DISC certificates were also obtained by:

Subramanya Nagreshao (TUD-DCSC)
Felix Schwenninger (UT-AM)
Rick van der Maas (TU/e ME)
Laura Ferranti (TUD-DCSC)
Handian Chen (TU/e-EE)
Isaac Castadeno Guerra(TU/e-ME)

Congratulations to all!

DISC Best Thesis Award 2015









DISC Thesis Award 2015 for the best thesis defended by a DISC PhD student in 2015 has been awarded to dr. Bram Hunnekens for his thesis entitled: “Performance Optimization of Hybrid Controllers for  Linear Motion Systems”. Bram defended his thesis at the Technical University of Eindhoven and supervised by prof. Henk Nijmeijer and prof. Nathan van der Wouw.

This year’s jury, consisting of Hans Butler, André Ran and Tamas Keviczky, selected the winner from a group of six finalists:

Joost Bolder (TU/e-ME) Flexibility and Robustness in Iterative Learning Control: with Applications to Industrial Printers
Felix L. Schwenninger (UT-AM) On Functional Calculus Estimates
Mohammad Hajiahmadi (TUD-DCSC) Optimal and Robust Switching Control Strategies : Theory, and Applications in Traffic Management
Bram Hunnekens (TU/e-ME) Performance Optimization of Hybrid Controllers for  Linear Motion Systems
Matin Jafarian (RUG-ENTEG) Coordination with Binary Controllers: Formation Control and Disturbance Rejection
Ewoud Vos (RUG-ENTEG) Formation control in the port-Hamiltonian framework

DISC Winter course “Power Systems Control – from Circuits to Economics”

Also from a social point of view there was much interaction among the PhD students, faculty members and lecturers, with highlight being the joint winter course dinner on Thursday evening (continued by some in the bustling center of Groningen ..).

Farewell lecture Hans Schumacher

ERC Advanced grant Paul Van den Hof

“Dynamic models play a key role in many branches of science. In engineering they have a
paramount role in model-based simulation, monitoring, control and optimization. The accuracy of the models is key to their subsequent use in model-based operations. With the growing spatial complexity of engineering systems, e.g., in power networks, transportation networks and industrial production systems, also referred to as cyber-physical systems of systems, there is a strong need for e ective modelling tools for dynamic networks, being considered as interconnected dynamic systems, whose spatial topology may change over time.
Data-driven modelling and statistical parameter estimation are established elds for estimating models of dynamical systems on the basis of measurement data from dedicated experiments. The currently available methods, however, are limited to relatively simple structures, as open-loop or closed-loop (controlled) system confi gurations.
In this project I will make the fundamental step towards data-driven modelling (identi fication)
methods for dynamic networks by developing a comprehensive theory with the target to identify local dynamical models as well as the interconnection structure of the network. I will incorporate the selection of sensing and excitation locations, data synchronization, and the optimal accuracy of estimated models in view of their use for distributed control.
Solving these problems is by far beyond the current abilities of the existing identi fication frameworks in the systems and control community. My internationally recognized expertise in the fi eld of system identifi cation and model-based control, together with recent work on dynamic networks, warrants the feasibility of the project.
Identi fication methods for dynamic networks will become essential tools in the high-level future ICT environment for monitoring, control and optimization of these cyber-physical systems of systems, as well as in many other domains of science.”

Research team led by Henk Nijmeijer proves Christiaan Huygens was right

The article can found here. There was also an article in the Volkskrant and radio interviews with BNR newsradio and Radio 1.

Call for proposals NWO Zwaartekracht/gravitation program

Second international conference on event-based control, communication and signal processing EBCCSP 2016


From June 13-15 the 2nd International Conference on Control, Communication and Signal Processing will be held in Krakow, Poland. The aim is to bring together researchers and practitioners from the industry and academia and provide them with a platform to report on recent advances and developments in the event-based systems and architectures applied in wide spectrum of engineering disciplines including control, communication, computing, and signal processing.

Click here for the program and for more information.

PhD defenses

Eindhoven University of Technology

Candidate:      R. van der Maas
Group:            Control Systems Technology
Thesis:           Advanced Geometric Calibration and Control for Medical X-Ray Systems
Promotor: M. Steinbuch
Date:               March 3, 2016
Location:        TU/e, Auditorium 4
Time:               4.00 p.m.

Groningen University

Candidate:      Héctor Garcia de Marina Peinado
Group:            Discreet Technology and Production Automation (ENTEG)
Thesis:           Distributed formation control for autonomous robots
Promotors:      prof. dr. Ming Cao, prof. dr. Bayu Jayawardhana, prof dr. Jacquelien Scherpen
Date:              June 24, 2016
Location:        Aula Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Time:             12:45 p.m.

Candidate:      Jieqiang Wei
Group:            JBI
Thesis:           Consensus Dynamics in Distribution Networks and Nonlinear Multi-Agent Systems
Promotors:      prof. dr. A.J. van der Schaft
Date:              March 18, 2016
Location:        Aula Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Time:             11:00 p.m

Next issue of the newsletter

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