Newsletter March 2020

Message from the DISC Office

Dear all,

These are difficult times for all of us. The corona virus is impacting all aspects of our daily life. A lot of our DISC activities have been cancelled and we may have to cancel more in the coming months.
From March 10-12 we were able to meet up at Hotel Mennorode for 39th edition of the Benelux Meeting but it will probably be a while before we can have any kind of meeting in person.

In the meantime we wish you and your loved ones the best and hope that you will all stay well.

Best wishes,

Henk Nijmeijer
Scientific director

Martha Otte
DISC secretariat

DISC course program (meetings in Utrecht cancelled until further notice)

Due to the corona virus the meetings in Utrecht have been cancelled until further notice. The course System Identification has been cancelled and will be postponed to academic year 2020-2021.Linear Matrix Inequalities in Control will start on March 30 as an online course.  More courses may have to cancelled, check the DISC website and Course Platform for updates.

For the full list of courses for 2019-2020 see:
Register on the DISC course platform.

DISC Winter Course cancelled-will be rescheduled

Unfortunately we have had to cancel the DISC Winter Course on Numerics and Control.

We will reschedule, so check the website if you are interested. DISC PhD’s will also receive an email when new dates have been planned.

DISC Summer School

At the moment there is much uncertainty with regard to all activities that have been scheduled within the next six months. For now we are going ahead with the organisation of the Summer School. 

Javier Alonso Mora and Ming Cao have the pleasure to invite you to participate in the DISC Summer School “Planning, Learning and Control for Multi-Robot and Multi-Agent Systems”, which is scheduled to take place from June 30-July 3, 2020, at Centerparcs Zandvoort, Zandvoort, The Netherlands.

Multi-robot and Multi-agent Systems

In the (near) future fleets of autonomous cars will coordinate to provide on-demand transportation while making our roads safer; mobile robots will coordinate in manufacturing and logistic processes; and teams of aerial robots will provide automated inspection and surveillance. These applications require novel methods and theoretical developments in the systems and control field that account for the interaction and coordination with other agents in complex environments.

In this summer school, we will present recent developments towards the endeavour of pervasive multi-robot and multi-agent systems. The lectures and tutorials will cover the concepts of communication-based coordination (consensus, distributed optimization and formation control), interaction (decision-making in multi-agent systems), motion planning and learning. The lectures contain both recent control theoretical development, as well as, application within the robotics field. Additional, we are hoping that this summer school will serve to partially bridge the gap between controls and AI research for multi-robot and multi-agent systems

The main program will consist of a number of international and national speakers. Keynote lectures will be given by:

  • Dimos Dimarogonas , KTH, Sweden
  • Jenjen Chung, ETH Zurich, CH
  • Dan Halperin, Tel Aviv University, IL
  • Lorenzo Sabattini, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, IT
  • Frans Oliehoek, TU Delft, NL

Complemented by talks given by DISC lecturers:

  • Javier Alonso-Mora, TU Delft, NL
  • Bart Besselink, University of Groningen, NL
  • Antonio Franchi, Twente U., NL
  • Sergio Grammatico, TU Delft, NL
  • Nathan van de Wouw, TU Eindhoven, NL

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

  • 825,- Euro for DISC students/members (until May 12, 2020-early bird) and 975,- Euro (after May 12, 2020)
  • 1025,- Euro for non-DISC members (until May 12, 2020-early bird) and 1200,- Euro (after May 12, 2020)

For more information  please refer to the website:

39th Benelux Meeting On Systems and Control








From March 10-12, 2020 the 39th edition of the Benelux Meeting on Systems and Control took place at Hotel Mennorode, Elspeet, The Netherlands.

The organisers were Erjen Lefeber (Eindhoven University of Technology), Raffaella Carloni (University of Groningen) and  Bayu Jayawardhana (University of Groningen).








Thomas Schon (Uppsala University) gave a mini course on “Learning nonlinear dynamics using sequential Monte Carlo”. Ming Cao (University of Groningen) and Marcel Heertjes (Eindhoven University of Technology) both gave invited lecturers. Kristin Pettersen (NTNU) unfortunately had to cancel but Henk Nijmeijer and Paul Van den Hof stepped up to fill the slots with interesting lectures.

Best Junior Presentation Award

The Benelux Meeting wouldn’t be complete without the Best Junior Presentation Award! Julien Hendrickx (UC Louvain); Bart Besselink (University of Groningen) and Manon Kok (Delft University of Technology) acted as jury. They called the top six finalists to the stage:







Camiel Beckers (Eindhoven University of Technoology)
Henk van Waarde (University of Groningen)
Oscar de Groot (Delft University of Technology)
Clara Menzen (Delft University of Technology)
Jaap Eising (University of Groningen)
Farhad Merhdifar (UC Louvain)








Clara Menzen was announced as the winner! Congratulations Clara!

DISC Best Thesis 2019

The DISC Best Thesis Award 2019 was won by Stefan Heijmans for his thesis titled “Exploring the Uncharted Territories of Networked Control Systems by Scavenging for Structure in Dynamics and Communication ”. Stefan completed his thesis under supervision of prof. Maurice Heemels at Eindhoven University of Technology.

The Best Thesis Jury was formed by Karel Keesman (WUR), Tom Oomen (TU/e) and Jens Kober (TUD).

Karel announced the winner during the Benelux Meeting and handed him his certificate.







There were four nominations for the Best Thesis 2019:

Stefan Heijmans (TU/e), Exploring the Uncharted Territories of Networked Control Systems by Scavenging for Structure in Dynamics and Communication; supervised by Prof. M. Heemels

Ruben Merks (TU/e), Towards Control Relevant System Design and Constrained Order Controller Synthesis with a Thermal Control Application in Immersion Lithography . Supervised by Prof. S. Weiland & Prof. H. Butler

Arman Sharifi Kolarijani ((TUD), Applications of Trajectory-Based Analysis in Optimization and Control . Supervised by Dr. T. Keviczky & dr. P. Mohajerin Esfahani

Mingming Shi (RUG) , Coordination Networks under Noisy Measurements and Sensor Biases. Supervised by Prof. C. De Persis & dr. P. Tesi

DISC certificates

Once a year, during the Benelux Meeting, we give out DISC certificates during a short ceremony. Since January 2020 students need 21 ECTS (instead of 27) to obtain a certificate. This led to a great increase in the number of certificates: 38 this year! No everyone could be there in person but there were a lot of people on the stage.







Jaap Eising (RUG)
Sumon Hossain (RUG)
Koorosh Shomolzadeh (RUG)
Paul Wijnbergen (RUG)
Muhammad Zaki Almuzakki (RUG)
Carmen Chan-Zheng (RUG)
Rafael Cunha (RUG)
Tabitha Esteves Rosa (RUG)
Mark Jeeninga (RUG)
Ningbo Li (RUG)
Emin Martirosyan (RUG)
Mohamad Agung Prawira (RUG)
Marco Augusto Vasquez Beltran (RUG)
Mattia Bianchi (TUD)
Carlos Samuel Mendez-Blanco (TU/e)
Tom Steentjes (TU/e)
Sebastiaan van den Eijnden (TU/e)
Fahim Shakib (TU/e)
Quentin Voortman (TU/e)

Not on the stage but also entitled to a certificate are:

Alessandro Luppi (RUG)
Monica Rotula (RUG)
Mehran Shakarami (RUG)
Andrew Berry (TUD)
Giuseppe Belgioso (TU/e)
Amritan Das (TU/e)
Feye Hoekstra (TU/e)
David van den Hurk (TU/e)
Shengling Shi (TU/e)
Alex Andriën (TU/e)
Roy Cobbenhagen (TU/e)
Daniel Deenen (TU/e)
Yanick Douven (TU/e)
Enzo Evers (TU/e)
Leroy Hazeleger (TU/e)
Timo Ravensbergen (TU/e)
Azka Muji Burohman (RUG)
Weijia Yao (RUG)

New people

Delft University of Technology

I am Oscar de Groot. I recently finished my MSc Systems & Control on the TU Delft working on multi-robot passivity-based control. I have an Electrical Engineering bachelor and was Chief Electronics of the Formula Student Team Delft in 2016-2017. I am now starting my PhD on autonomous motion planning with Assistant Prof. Laura Ferranti and Assistant Prof. Javier Alonso-Mora, working closely together with the Intelligent Vehicle group.

I am passionate about music and guitar and like to do hobby engineering projects.

I love machines and am currently building my own 3D-printed quadruped as a leisure activity (not a good idea to spend your free time working as well). I occasionally do photography too.

Eindhoven University of Technology

My name is Lars Janssen, I will be starting my PHD this March under Professor Nathan van der Wouw.

I have studied Mechanical Engineering where I did both my bachelor and master at the TU Eindhoven. I recently graduated from the Dynamics and Control group when I finished my thesis under Professor Ines Lopez on a project where I looked into the application of using microphone arras in condition monitoring and fault detection. This project made me realize that I really enjoy the type of work and that I would like to continue doing research at the DC group.

I will be working on the TTW project Digital Twin. More specifically, the Model Reduction project titled “Compositional framework for complexity management of multi-disciplinary digital twins” where I will have the task to develop methods for the overall reduction of model complexity within the project.

Name: Prasoon Garg
Starting date: 01-01-2020
Function: PhD student
Group: Controls Systems Technology (CST)
Supervisor: Frank Willems and Emilia Silvas
Project: AI-based control development for future automotive powertrains (P-AI2: PowertrAIn BrAIn)

Hello, my name is Prasoon Garg and I am 27 years old. I was born and raised up in India. I did my Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from India. Last year, I completed my MSc in Automotive Technology from TU/e and during my graduation project, I worked on development of a virtual NOx sensor for heavy-duty state-of-the-art diesel engines. I will start my PhD with CST group at TU/e from March. My research in the PhD will focus on investigating the use of artificial intelligence for reducing calibration effort of the automotive powertrains. This research is important due to increasing complexity of powertrains.In my free time, I love to go on long rides on my road bike.

Introduction: Hi, my name is Sven Nouwens, 26 years old and starting my PhD project this March at the CST group in Eindhoven. I’ve also completed both my pre-master and masters at the TU/e. My graduation projected was on the optimal thermal actuator design for mirrors. The goal was to design a small number of actuators used to satisfy temperature constraints while being perturbed by a large set of load cases. For my PhD I’ll be working on applying Model Predictive Control for hyperthermia in cancer treatments.

My name is Leontine Aarnoudse and I’m a PhD student in the Control Systems Technology (CST) group as of February 1st. I finished my BSc and MSc degrees in Mechanical Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology, during which I developed an interest in control technology. During my internship at the University of Michigan, I worked on an application of iterative learning control in micro-additive manufacturing. After that, I did my master’s project in the CST group on spatial iterative learning control with intermittent data, which I applied to piezo-stepper actuators in collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific. I’m excited to continue working on learning control in the coming years.

My name is Paul Tacx and I am a new PhD-student in the Control Systems Technology group under supervision of Tom Oomen. I started in 2013 with my bachelor mechanical engineering at the TU/e after which I did my master’s mechanical engineering also at the TU/e. During my graduation project, I focused on system identification for control of advanced motion systems. The PhD project is essentially a continuation of the graduation project.

PhD defences March

Eindhoven University of Technology

Candidate: Dhruv Khandelwal
Group: CS
Thesis: Automating Data-driven Modeling of Dynamical Systems. An Evolutionary Computation Approach.
Promotor: Roland Tóth
Co-promotor: Maarten Schoukens.
Date: 04-03-2020

Candidate: R. Beerens
Group:           Dynamics & Control
Thesis:           Reset Control and Control Allocation for High-precision Motion Systems
Promotor: N. van de Wouw & prof. H. Nijmeijer.
Co-promotor:  Prof. M. Heemels
Date:               02-03-2020
Location:        TU/e Atlas 0.710


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