Newsletter November/December 2023

Christmas & New Year



From the DISC office: We wish you a lovely

Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2024

Henk Nijmeijer & Renate Kragtwijk



Message from the DISC Office

Dear all,

We are very pleased to inform you that we have added an extra DISC Course on Model Reduction for Control Systems to the course program.

Please also note the item in the newsletter on the Benelux Meeting 2024. It is now already possible to submit your abstracts. The deadline is set for the 12th of January 2024.

With best regards,

Henk Nijmeijer,
scientific director

Renate Kragtwijk,
DISC secretariat

Henk becomes Bayu

After a decade of full commitment, Henk Nijmeijer, our current Scientific Director, resigns. The Board of DISC is delighted to announce Henk’s successor, Bayu Jayawardhana. Bayu takes office as the new Scientific Director from 1 January 2024 on.

We owe Henk a great deal for his never lasting efforts to maintain the activities of DISC and keeping DISC strong and relevant to the Dutch Systems and Control Community and its visibility worldwide. Among the many achievements we want to mention the renewed recognition of DISC by the boards of the participating universities through the Gemeenschappelijke Regeling, the European Control Conference 2021 in Rotterdam, and the assignment of the IFAC World Congress 2029 to the Netherlands. Furthermore, Henk, through his dedication and commitment, has strengthened the role of DISC in the graduate course programme, the annual Summmer and Winter Schools, the strong link with the Benelux Meeting on Systems and Control, and last not but certainly not least, the financial health of DISC.

We hope to see may of you at the upcoming Benelux Meeting in Blankenberge, Belgium, on March 26 – 28, 2024. In the meantime we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

On behalf of the board, Jan Willem Polderman, chairman


This is the last DISC Newsletter under my guidance. Since its early creation in 1987 I have been involved in DISC – and its predecessor the “Netwerk voor Systeem en Regeltechniek”. From 2014 I have acted as scientific director of DISC. DISC has over the years experienced many changes but its main task, a national research school for education of PhD students, has remained unchanged. The course program DISC offers has an international stature and is something all DISC members can be proud of. In addition, the annual Summer and Winter schools and bi-annually organized Benelux meetings are visible parts of DISC and its community.

It is with great pleasure that I hand over the baton to my successor professor Bayu Jayawardhana. I am confident that DISC is healthy as organization and with Bayu as scientific director in good hands.

I wish you all the best!

Henk Nijmeijer

Course program 2023-2024

The DISC course schedule 2023-2024 is finalised.

All courses will take place in Utrecht at Cursus- en vergadercentrum Domstad.

We offer the following courses in 2024:


Deadline for nominating for the European Control Award 2024 has been extended till December 31, 2023

Please, nominate outstanding young researchers for the European Control Award 2024.

More information about the award and eligibility criteria is available at the website

Update on the 43rd Benelux Meeting on Systems and Control, in Blankenberge, Belgium, on March 26 – 28, 2024

  • Abstract submission is open.
  • Registration opens in December 2023.
  • Information on plenary speakers is available.
  • Deadline Abstract Submission January 12, 2024

All this information can be found on the Benelux website.

2024 Spring School on Data-driven Model Learning for Dynamic Systems, Hybrid Edition, 8-12 April 2024

Hybrid Edition, 8-12 April 2024

The seventh edition of the doctoral school in data-based modelling (system identification) will be organized in hybrid mode. Participants can thus attend in person (on the campus of Ecole Centrale de Lyon, Ecully, France) or virtually. This school consists of a series of lectures and of exercise sessions aiming at covering the fundamentals of data-driven modelling approaches as well as more advanced topics. This course is eligible for scientific doctoral modules. The school is thus mainly aimed at an audience of PhD students, but is also open to any other persons interested in the topic of data-based modelling.

The 2024-edition will have the honour to welcome Paul Van den Hof (TU Eindhoven, The Netherlands) that will present a course entitled:

Dynamic Network Identification

More information on this doctoral school can be found at the following website.

The deadline for registration is 31 January 2024.

Workshop on Nonlinear System Identification Benchmarks, in Lugano from April 24th to 26th, 2024

We are pleased to inform you that the 8th Edition of the Workshop on Nonlinear System Identification Benchmarks will be held in Lugano from April 24th to 26th, 2024. For those interested, there is also the opportunity to present their work by submitting an abstract.
The workshop will be preceded by an intensive 2-day course (April 22-23) on Deep Learning for System Identification, targeted at PhD students and researchers.

Keynotes: We can already announce the following preliminary list of keynote speakers

  • Melanie Zeilinger (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
  • Mario Sznaier (Northeastern University, USA)
  • Roland Tóth (Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands & Sztaki, Hungary)
  • Alberto Bemporad (IMT Lucca, Italy)

Important dates:
Registration deadline: February 15th
Abstract submission deadline: March 15th

Please visit the website for more information about the workshop or about the 2-day course.

Given that the dates coincide with Italian National holiday (April 25th), and Lugano’s proximity to Italy, we advise those interested to book their accommodation well in advance.


New people

Groningen University

Name: Huiyuan Guo
Starting date: 01-11-2023
Function: PhD
Group: RUG-BI
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. J.G. Peypouquet
Project:  Asymptotic behavior of dynamical systems and its applications in optimization

I’m Huiyuan Guo, a new PhD student in the Bernoulli Institute – System, Control and Optimization under the supervisor of Prof. Peypouquet. My PhD research will focus on convergence analysis of continuous and discrete-time dynamical systems, with an emphasis in the study of convergence rates and complexity, especially in the presence of uncertainty. My research during the master period is sparse and low-rank matrix optimization, which helped me lay the foundation for the optimization.

Name: Xueyi Wang
Starting date: 01-12-2023
Function: Postdoc
Supervisor: dr. Elisabeth Wilhelm.

Xueyi Wang is a dedicated researcher with a keen interest in the field of smart health, focusing on learning from multi-modal time series data. His work aims to harness the power of diverse data types to advance healthcare technologies and improve patient outcomes. Outside of his academic pursuits, He is an avid sports enthusiast. He actively participates in a variety of athletic activities, including basketball, running, skiing, and scuba diving. These hobbies not only reflect his dynamic and adventurous spirit but also complement his dedication to understanding and promoting health and wellness through his research.


Delft University of Technology

Name: Aditya Natu
Starting date: 01-09-2023
Function: PhD
Group: TUD – 3mE – PME
Supervisor: Hassan HosseinNia

Hi, I am Aditya, and I commenced my PhD this September in the Mechatronics System Design group at the Precision and Microsystems Engineering (PME) Department, TU Delft. I graduated with MSc in Mechanical Engineering (High-Tech Engineering Track), Cum Laude, in August.
During my PhD, I will be collaborating with the Physik Intrumente (PI), to research and implement reset control in combination with active damping in high-precision nanopositioning stages to enable higher control bandwidths and improve the tracking and disturbance rejection capabilities of such systems with inherent nonlinearities.

Name: Jesse Hummel
Starting date: 01-10-2023
Function: PhD
Group: TUD – 3ME – DCSC
Supervisor: Sebastiaan Mulders and Jens Kober

Hi all, I’m Jesse. I was born in Amsterdam and have done my BSc and MSc at Aerospace Engineering in Delft. I finished my thesis last June and have since then enjoyed some time off at home, Germany, and Sweden. I really like wind energy and control so I’m excited to do a PhD on data-enabled system and control co-design of large scale wind turbines with Sebastiaan Mulders and Jens Kober as my supervisors. Some of my other interests are: space, bread, cycling, gardening, home automation, and music.

Name: Luca Ballotta
Starting date: 1-12-2023
Function: Postdoc
Group: TUD – 3ME – DCSC
Supervisor: Riccardo Ferrari

I am Luca, a freshly hired postdoc in the group of Riccardo Ferrari at DSDC where I will be working on secure algorithms for the control of wind farms.

I have earned both my Master’s degree in Automation Engineering and my PhD (last year) at the University of Padova (Italy) under supervision of prof. Luca Schenato, doing research on sensing and control design of network systems subject to resource constraints. During the PhD, I was also fortunate to collaborate with prof. Luca Carlone at MIT on algorithms for multi-robot systems.

Besides research, I enjoy reading (sci-fi and fantasy mostly) and playing beachvolley/volleyball (even though I may be a bit rusty now). I’ll most likely be looking for a team to join in Delft.

Name: Silvia Cianchi
Starting date: 15-12-2023
Function: PhD
Group: TUD – 3ME – DCSC
Supervisor: Sergio Grammatico

I am Silvia Cianchi, I am 24 and I am from Florence (Italy).

I received my Master’s degree in Automation and Robotics Engineering from University of Florence in October, 2023, and last year I spent a 6 months visiting period at University of California, Riverside.

I am starting my PhD at TU Delft under the supervision of Professor Sergio Grammatico, in collaboration with VITO Belgium. I will work on the development of demand response mechanisms in electrical networks under a game-theoretic framework.

I am interested in multiagent systems, game-theoretic control, and cooperative and competitive optimization. In my free time I love playing volleyball, trekking and knitting!


Eindhoven University of Technology

Name: Jan Hoekstra
Starting date: 1-11-2023
Function: PhD
Group: Control Systems – EE
Supervisor: dr. Maarten SchoukensProject: Model Completion through Nonlinear Identification

My name is Jan Hoekstra. I will start as PhD student in the CS department at the TU/e. Under the guidance of dr. Maarten Schoukens and dr. Roland Toth I will work on furthering the field of model completion through nonlinear identification.

My bachelor and master were both completed at the TU/e. For my master thesis and internship I did research into using ANN models for LPV MPC. In the spare time that I still have, I like to read, dance, play some video games, and of course meet up with some friends.

Name: Javier Olucha
Starting date: 15-11-2023
Function: PhD
Group: Control Systems – EE
Supervisor: dr. ir. Roland Tóth & dr. ir. Amritam Das
Project: Automatic extraction of reduced order LFT models in terms of various physical variables from pre-built Simulink models.

My name is Javier Olucha and I recently joined the Control Systems (CS) group at the Technical University of Eindhoven (TUe) as a PhD candidate. I just finished my MSc degree in Mechanical Engineering at the TUe, in the Control Systems Technology (CST) group. Before that, I obtained two years of work experience in industry, first in an architecture bureau in Tarragona, Spain, to follow as a field service engineer at Philips in Eindhoven. I previously obtained my bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) in Tarragona. Space, cooking, traveling, martial arts, music, video and tabletop games are all topics and activities on which I enjoy spending my thoughts and my free time.”

Name: Zhijian Wang
Starting date: 27-11-2023
Function: PhD
Group:  TU/e – ME  – Dynamics and Control
Supervisor: Dr. Cortes Garcia, Idoia, Dr Stoter, Stein, and Dr. Verhoosel, Clemens

Hi, I am Zhijian Wang. I am from Zhejiang, China. I studied (actually, am studying) my Master in Built Environment department of TU/e.  During my PhD, I am going to do research on designing a sensor network and thermal digital twin of the Gemini building. I will start my PhD on November 27.
My supervisors are Dr. Cortes Garcia, Idoia, Dr Stoter, Stein, and Dr. Verhoosel, Clemens.


Wageningen University & Research

Name: Jinrui Zhang
Starting date: 02-12-2023
Function: PhD
Group: Agricultural Biosystems Engineering
Supervisor: dr. ir. Andre Aarnink
Project: Lowering ammonia emission from dairy houses by floor cleaning

Name: Shuyi Peng
Starting date: 30-11-2023
Function: PhD
Group: Agricultural Biosystems Engineering
Supervisor: dr. ir. Congcong Sun
Project: Zero-emission indoor horticulture production using renewable energy system


PhD defences

Groningen University

Candidate: Jiaming Hu
Group: RUG – BI
Thesis: High performance control for relative degree one and relative degree two systems
Promotor: Stephan Trenn en Bart Besselink
Date: 14-11-2023
Location: Academiegebouw Groningen
Time: 09:00

Candidate: Sutrisno Sutrisno
Thesis: Singular Switched Systems in Discrete Time: Solvability, Observability, and Reachability Notions
Promotores: Stephan Trenn en Bayu Jayawardhana
Date: 16-11-2023
Location: Aula Academiegebouw, Groningen
Time: 09:00

Candidate: Brayan Shali
Group: Rug Bernoulli institute Systems, Control and Applied Analysis
Thesis: Contract theory for linear control systems
Promotores : Bart Besselink and Arjan van der Schaft
Date:  5-12-2023
Location: Academy building

Candidate : José Maulén Munoz
Group: Rug Bernoulli institute Systems, Control and Applied Analysis
Thesis:  Acceleration of optimization algorithms
Promotor :  Juan Peypouquet
Date: 12-12- 2023
Location: Academy building

Delft University of Technology

Candidate: Daan van der Hoek
Group: TUD – 3ME – DCSC
Thesis: Advances in actuation techniques for wind farm flow control
Promotor: J.W. van Wingerden
Date: 24-11-2023
Location: Aula, Senaatzaal
Time: 12:30

Eindhoven University of Technology

Candidate: B.J. Caasenbrood
Group: Dynamics & Control
Thesis:Design, Modeling, and Control Strategies for Soft Robots
Promotor: Prof.dr. H. Nijmeijer
Date: 10-01-2024
Location: TU/e, Atlas room 0.710
Time: 16:00

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The next issue of this Newsletter will appear in January 2024.

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