Newsletter March 2021

Message from the DISC Office

Dear all,

The registration for the Summer School is open and already we have quite a few registrations. Javier Alonso Mora, Ming Cao and Ömür Arslan have clearly done a great job with the program. Registration for the ECC is also open, so don’t forget to join in.

Easter is around the corner and we wish everyone a few hopefully sunny days to relax!

With best regards,

Henk Nijmeijer,
scientific director

Martha Otte,
DISC secretariat

Upcoming DISC courses

In March the following courses started. They are offered ONLINE

Stability, Relative Stability and Synchronization of Dynamical Systems with Time-Delay
E. Steur
W. Michiels

Linear Matrix Inequalities in Control
S. Weiland
T. Donkers

For the full list of courses offered in 2020-2021 click here

Benelux workshop for PhD students on June 29, 2021

Due to COVID-19, the 40th Benelux Meeting on Systems and Control, which was supposed to take place in March 2021, has been cancelled. However, to facilitate the possibility for PhD students from the Benelux to meet, discuss, and present their work to fellow PhD students, we decided to organise- if the regulations permit-  a one-day Benelux Workshop on-site in Rotterdam at De Doelen, the location of the European Control Conference 2021, on Tuesday June 29, 2021.

To participate in the workshop we ask you to submit an abstract. We are organising on on-site workshop because the aim of the meeting is to meet and discuss. However, we expect that COVID-19 regulations will still be active and therefore the Organizing Committee can only select a limited number of abstracts (about 100) to be presented, and most likely also a limited number of participants will be allowed. 1st and 2nd year PhD students will be given priority.

Important dates
Abstract Submission Opens: February 1, 2021
Deadline Abstract Submission: March 15, 2021
Notification of Acceptance: April 2, 2021:
May 1, 2021: Deadline Final Abstract Submission & Registration Opens

For more information about the set-up of the meeting and the abstract submission visit the website:

DISC Summer School 2021 “Planning, Learning and Control for Multi-Robot and Multi-Agent Systems”

Javier Alonso Mora, Ming Cao and Ömür Arslan have the pleasure to invite you to participate in the DISC Summer School “Planning, Learning and Control for Multi-Robot and Multi-Agent Systems”.

The main program will consist of a number of international and national speakers, e.g.:

  • Jenjen Chung, ETH Zurich, CH
  • Dimos Dimarogonas, KTH, Sweden
  • Marco Dorigo, Universite’ Libre de Bruxelles, BE
  • Dan Halperin, Tel Aviv University, IL
  • Vijay Kumar, University of Pennsylvania, USA
  • Naomi Leonard, Princeton, USA
  • Eduardo Montijano, University of Zaragoza
  • Daniela Rus MIT, USA

Program and set-up
From June 8-10 the Summer School will be virtual in MS Teams. Every day will include exercises and group work to ensure the Summer School is interactive and engaging. On June 11 we are organizing a physical meeting in Utrecht, at Cursus- en vergadercentrum Domstad. For those participants who are not able to come to Utrecht there will be live streaming.
If the regulations do not allow a meeting in Utrecht, the last day of the Summer School will also be virtual for all participants.
Click here for the tentative program. Please note there may be changes.

PhD students can obtain 1,5 credit for the DISC Summer School. We expect active participation in the assignments and discussions.

DISC members

€175 (before May 9, 2021)
€225 (after May 9, 2021)

Non-DISC members
€225 (before May 9, 2021)
€350 (after May 9, 2021)

Register for the Summer School on the DISC course platform. Registration closes on May 22, 2021. The maximum number of participants is 50. The number of participants on June 11 may be restricted due to COVID-19 regulations.

For more information please visit the website:

European Control Conference 2021

European Control Conference 2021 (virtual conference)
June 29-July 2, 2021.

The registration is now open!

Final submission papers, invited session proposals, invited papers and extended abstracts closes April 6, 2021.

There are several interesting workshops which will take place on June 29, 2021. Please click here to see the full list.

General chair
Henk Nijmeijer (Eindhoven University of Technology)

Jacquelien Scherpen (University of Groningen)
Maurice Heemels (Eindhoven University of Technology)

NOC Chair
Hans Hellendoorn (Delft University of Technology)

ECC 2021 is organised in cooperation with: EUCA, IFAC and IEEE Control Systems Society

The accepted papers will be indexed and published on the IEEE Xplore digital library. We are also working towards a stronger link with the European Journal of Control for publication of selected papers of the conference.

We look forward to welcoming you to the ECC 2021!

Appointment Scientific Director DISC extended with two years





Henk Nijmeijer’s appointment as Scientific Director of DISC has been extended with two years, until 31-12-2022.

Cum Laude graduation Ramy Rashad (UT)

On the 21st of Jan. 2021, Ramy Rashad defended his PhD thesis at the University of Twente supervised by prof. Stefano Stramigioli and dr. Frederic P. Schuller.

Based on the decision of the graduation committee including (prof. Arjan van der Schaft, prof. Bernhard Maschke, prof. Bernard Geurts, and dr. Antonio Franchi) he was awarded his PhD degree and graduated with cum laude.

PhD position on Verifiable estimation and control for autonomous systems at TU/e

The Control Systems group at TU/e has a position open for a PhD . Read more

New people

Delft University of Technology

Hello everyone! I am Clara and I am in my first year of PhD at TUDelft. My PhD is part of European H2020 project SeaClear (search, identification and collection of marine litter with autonomous robots). The goal of SeaClear is to develop a collaborative, heterogeneous multi-robot solution engaged in collecting marine waste using autonomous underwater, surface, and aerial vehicles for cost-effective marine litter detection and collection.

I am Laurence Willemet and come from Marseille in France. I am starting a one-year contract as a research engineer. I graduated in Electronics and Computer science in a French engineering school in 2017 and I obtained simultaneously a research master’s in medical engineering in Strasbourg. I am now finishing my PhD program I followed at the Biorobotics Departement of the Institute of Movement Sciences. My research topics focus on tactile scene decoding during exploration from a mechanical point of view and I would like to continue working on these fascinating issues applying my results to robotics. I will be supervised by Michaël Wiertlewski. During my free time, I like running and hiking in the mountains and I also play saxophone in a group.

Hi everybody, I am Maximilian and starting today as a PhD candidate under the supervision of Cosimo at CoR. I did both my BSc and MSc in Mechanical Engineering at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and focused during my masters on the application of machine learning to solve challenging robotics problems. I conducted research for my master thesis during the last six months at ESTEC of ESA in Noordwijk, so I am already a bit familiar with the Netherlands :). I will focus on learning and control for soft robotics during my PhD and I am looking forward to combine both traditional model-based and data-driven control techniques for controlling soft robots of various application areas. In my free time, I enjoy playing basketball and tennis. Let me know if you would like to join me for a session anytime ;). Coming to the Netherlands last September, I also started to try-out surfing, but I am still in the very early stages of this and hoping to make some progress during the next summer…

My name is Hidde and I will be joining the Intelligent Vehicles group as a PhD student on the 15th of March. I undertook my undergraduate studies at the University of Cambridge, obtaining an MEng in Information and Computer Engineering. For my Master’s thesis, I developed a novel deep learning-based approach to 3D human pose and shape prediction from a single image. During this project I became interested in researching deep learning methods to solve Computer Vision tasks, leading me to apply to this PhD position at the TU Delft. My PhD is part of the NWO-funded Efficient Deep Learning program, and I will be working on deep learning-based methods for 3D semantic scene analysis in the context of intelligent vehicles – with a focus on motion prediction of vulnerable road users – under the supervision of Prof. Gavrila and Dr. Kooij.

When I am not working, you can find me outside. I am an avid runner and cyclist, and played basketball pick-up games as often as I could before the pandemic. Finally, I enjoy a good game of chess (despite blundering frequently).

Eindhoven University of Technology

C.A.J. (Caspar) Hanselaar received his M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, in 2016. His M.Sc. graduation work was on ‘Evaporative two-phase micro-flow modelling: a study of vaporizing liquid microthrusters’. Since he has worked in R&D in industry in automotive and robotics, before returning to academia in 2021. He is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree in Control Systems Technology group with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the TU/e. His current research interests include situational aware safe automated driving.

University of Groningen

Zao Fu received the B.S. degree in Communication Engineering from Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang, China, in 2014. He received his M.S. degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Southwest University, Chongqing, China, in 2017. He is currently working towards the PHD degree in Southeast University, Nanjing, China.
He was a shortterm visiting student with BCIT, Vancouver, Canada, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia and University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands in 2016, 2018 and 2019, respectively. His current research interests include smart grid, distributed optimization and game theory.

Armin is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Groningen; his research work concerns developing compositional tools for large-scale integrated systems based on specifications of their components. He has received both his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering (Control Systems major) from University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran, in 2017 and 2020, respectively. His B.Sc. thesis, entitled “Mathematical Modeling of Cancerous Tumors with an Emphasis on Tissue Mechanics and Cell Heterogeneity,” focused on developing an agent-based hybrid model of cancerous tumor growth. Additionally, his M.Sc. thesis, entitled “Analysis and Investigation of Approximation Techniques for the Solution of Nonlinear Regulator Equations,” dealt with proposing a successive pseudo-spectral-based approximation technique so as to obtain the approximate solution of zero-error constrained manifolds (comprehensive error analysis was provided in order to evaluate the performance of the proposed technique) for the Output Regulation Problem—a well-known differential geometric framework with numerous industrial applications, such as crane control.

Hi everyone, my name is Jiahao Pan. I received my BSc and MSc both in Shandong University in P. R. China. Throughout my bachelor’s and master’s, my major is Mechanical Engineering, specialized in mechanics and control. I am into soft robotics and I am currently working on control of soft manipulators with model-free methods. I usually play football in my free time and I also enjoy hiking. Hope to become friends with you!

Ping Liu received the B.S. degree in Computer Science and Technology from Jiangxi Normal University, Nanchang, China, in 2015. She received the M.S. degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Southwest University, Chongqing, China, in 2017. She is currently working towards the PHD degree in Southeast University, Nanjing, China.
She visited BCIT in Vancouver, Canada and University of Groningen in the Netherlands for short-term study in 2016 and 2019, respectively. Her current research interests include distributed optimization algorithm design, game theory and transportation network analysis.

Hi everyone! I am Haojun MA from China. I have received my bachelor’s degree from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2017 and then entered the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences to pursue my Ph.D. degree. My host institute is National Space Science Center, CAS and now I will join Prof. Jacquelien Scherpen’s s group at the University of Groningen as a visiting Ph.D. student under the funding from China Scholarship Council. My future work will focus on designing the drag-free and attitude control system for future space-based gravitational wave detectors with nonlinear control theory. ”

PhD defences March 2021

Delft University of Technology

Candidate: Orestis Kazasidis
Group: DCSC
Thesis: Methods for Controlling Deformable Mirrors with Hysteresis
Promotor: M. Verhaegen
Date: 01-03-2021
Location: online
Time: 10:00

Candidate: Joeri Frederik
Group: DCSC
Thesis: Pitch control for wind turbine load mitigation and enhanced wake mixing A simulation and experimental validation study
Promotor: J.W. van Wingerden
Date: 04-03-2021
Location: Online
Time: 12:30

Candidate: Werner van Westering
Group: CoR
Thesis: Simulations of Large Scale Distribution Networks and its Applications
Promotor: prof. dr. ir. J. Hellendoorn
Date: 04-03-2021
Location: Online
Time: 10.00

Candidate: S. Barendswaard
Group: CoR
Thesis: Modelling individual driver trajectories to personalise haptic shared steering control in curves
Promotores: D.A. Abbink, D.M. Pool and E.R. Boer
Date: 16-03-2021
Location: online
Time: 15:00

Candidate: Y.B. Eisma
Group: CoR
Thesis: Visual Attention in Human-Machine Interaction
Promotores: J.C.F. de Winter & M.M. van Paassen
Date: 29-03-2021
Location: online
Time: 15:00

Candidate: J.C.J. Stapel
Group: CoR
Thesis: On-Road assessment of driver workload and awareness in automated vehicles
Promotores: Prof.dr. D. Gavrila and R. Happee
Date: 25-02-2021
Location: online
Time: 12:30

Candidate: Cong Xiao
Group: Mathematical Physics
Thesis: Surrogate-Assisted Reservoir History Matching
Promotor: A.W. Heemink en H.X. Lin
Date: 27-01-2021
Location: TU/aula
Time: 12:30

Eindhoven University of Technology

Candidate: W.J.P. (Wouter) Kuijpers
Group: TU/e-CST
Thesis: Model Selection and Optimal Control Design for Automatic Greenhouse Climate Control
Promotor: dr. ir. René van de Molengraft and E.J. van Henten
Date: 8-3-2021
Location: online
Time: 16:00

Next issue of the newsletter

The next issue of this Newsletter will appear in April 2021. We encourage the contributors to provide newsworthy information. In principle, we intend to publish any message offered. However, we reserve the right to edit certain parts of a submission.
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