Newsletter October 2017

Message from the DISC office

Dear all,

Fall has officially started now and the first two DISC courses of the fall semester have already finished. Next up is Linear Matrix Inequalities in Control, which is always a popular course.

During the IFAC World Congress several DISC members received an award and their achievements are highlighted in this newsletter. Karel Keesman from Wageningen University has been appointed as full professor, holding a personal chair so congratulations to Karel as well. There are a lot of PhD’s who will be defending their thesis in October and we wish them all the best of luck!

With best regards,

Henk Nijmeijer,
scientific director

Martha Otte,
DISC secretariat

Upcoming DISC courses

In October the following DISC course will start:

Linear Matrix Inequalities in Control
S. Weiland and R.Toth

Register via the DISC course platform or email

This academic year the following courses are scheduled:

Model reduction for Control, from Linear to Nonlinear Systems

Adaptive Control
Linear Matrix Inequalities in Control
Mathematical Models of Systems
Nonlinear Control Systems
Multi-agent Network Dynamics and Games
Design Methods for Control Systems
System Identification


The courses are taught at cursus en vergadercentrum Domstad in Utrecht, location Koningsbergerstraat 9. For more information see their website.

IFAC Fellowship for Arjan van der Schaft (RUG)








During the IFAC 2017 World Congress in Toulouse Arjan van der Schaft received the IFAC Fellow Award. This award is given to persons who have made outstanding and extraordinary contributions in the field of interest of IFAC, in the role as an Engineer/Scientist, Technical Leader, or Educator. Arjan van der Schaft received the award for contributions to the systems theory of nonlinear, Hamiltonian, and hybrid systems.

IFAC Outstanding Service Award for Paul Van den Hof (TUe)








During the IFAC 2017 World Congress in Toulouse Paul Van den Hof received the IFAC Outstanding Service Award. This award is presented to IFAC officials who have served and contributed substantially to IFAC in various capacities.

Paul Van den Hof will also be vice-president of IFAC for the next three years.

Best paper Award IFAC WC for Tom Oomen (TUe)

Tom Oomen, assistant professor in the Control Systems Technology research group, has received the Mechatronics Paper Award at the 20th World Congress of the International Federation of Automatic Control.Together with Dennis Bruijnen, Niels van Dijk and Frank Boeren (who gained his PhD in the Control Systems Technology group in 2016), Tom Oomen co-wrote the article Joint input shaping and feedforward for point-to-point motion: Automated tuning for an industrial nanopositioning system. The jury was so impressed with the article (published in 2014 in Mechatronics) that it decided to reward it with the Mechatronics Paper Award.

New position Karel Keesman (WUR)

Groningen Autumn School on Model Order Reduction

The Groningen Autumn School on Model Order Reduction is aimed at PhD students with an interest in model order reduction. In addition to discussing standard methods, emphasis will be placed on model order reduction techniques for design and optimisation, data-based model reduction, as well as model reduction for networks of interconnected systems.

The school will be held from October 30 to November 2, 2017 at the University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.
The Groningen Autumn School on Model Order Reduction is organised within the COST action EU-MORNET.
Invited speakers are Serkan Gugercin (Virginia Tech) and Paolo Rapisarda (University of Southampton). The list of speakers will be appended with local and national speakers.

More information can be found on To register, please send an email to Johanna Tinga ( In this email, indicate whether you are within the COST action. If so, please also mention the name of your PhD advisor.

Organising committee: Jacquelien Scherpen, Bart Besselink, Arjan van der Schaft

The 3rd IFAC Conference on Advances in Proportional-Integral-Derivative Control

The 3rd IFAC Conference on Advances in Proportional-Integral-Derivative Control will be held at Het Pand Convent and Meeting Centre, in Ghent, Belgium, May 09-11, 2018.

What is IFAC-PID Conference about?
The PID 2018 is the sequel of PID 2000 in Terassa, Spain and PID 2012 in Brescia, Italy. These last two meeting proved to be a great success and have given a significant impulse in research direction of PID Controllers, as seen in the last decade in literature reports. The PID 2018 conference is a timely and necessary event fueled by the challenges and perspectives of Industry 4.0 context and the renewed role of the PID controller in this new environment. In addition to provide the current state-of-art in the field, the meeting aims at providing a perspective of the future requirements for PID controllers within Industry 4.0.

See the website for more information:

New people

Delft University of Technology


Hi all. I am Erik Steur. I obtained my MSc-degree and PhD-degree in Mechanical Engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology in 2007 and 2011. My PhD research was on the topic of synchronization in networks of systems with time-delayed interaction. From 2012 till 2015 I was a postdoctoral researcher in the Perceptual Dynamics Lab at KU Leuven, where I was studying brain dynamics related to visual information processing. In 2015 I returned to Eindhoven University of Technology to work as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems. Here I was developing dynamical models of (bio)chemical circuits and analyzing their dynamics. Since September 2017 I am an assistant professor (tenure-track) in the Hybrid, Adaptive and Nonlinear Dynamics group at Delft Center for Systems and Control.

My main research interests are in systems theory and bifurcation theory for networks of nonlinear systems and time-delay systems, with applications to neuroscience and biochemistry.

I am married to Riemke and have two sons, Joep (2015) and Gijs (2016). My hobbies are cycling and snowboarding.

Name: Giulia Giordano
Starting date: 01-09-2017
Function: Assistant Professor
Group: Delft Center for Systems and Control

Hello everyone! I am very happy to join the DCSC department. I was born in Udine, Italy, and I received the B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Udine, focusing on systems and control theory. Then, I was a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Automatic Control, Lund University. In the past years I visited the Control and Dynamical Systems group at Caltech and the Institute of Systems Theory and Automatic Control at the University of Stuttgart, and I also had several short-term visits to universities in France, in the UK and in the USA. My main research interests include the analysis and the control of dynamical networks, with application to both engineered and biological systems: I have worked especially on the structural analysis of biological systems and the decentralised control of networked systems. I am particularly fond of interdisciplinary research challenges. In my free time, I like reading, writing poems and novels, listening to classical music and opera, going to concerts and to the theater, cooking, cycling, and traveling.

Name: Hieu Thao Nguyen
Starting date: 01-09-2017
Function: Postdoc
Group: Delft Center for Systems and Control


Dr Hieu Thao Nguyen is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Delft Center for Systems and Control, TU Delft, The Netherlands. He obtained his first PhD degree in variational analysis at Federation University Australia, Australia in 2015 and expects to obtain his second PhD degree in mathematical optimization at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany in 2017. His main research topic is numerical analysis for optimization algorithms with applications in imaging.

Groningen University

Liangming Chen received the B.S. degree in automation from Southwest Jiaotong University, China, in 2015.
Now he is pursuing the Ph.D. degree in Control Science and Engineering
from Harbin Institute of Technology, China, from 2015. Since
September 2017, he is a joint Ph.D. student supported by China Scholarship
Council with the department of Discrete Technology and Production Automation (DTPA) at University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands. His research
interest focuses on coordination of multi-agent systems, rigid formation control.

Eindhoven University of technology

Tom Steentjes was born in Tilburg, the Netherlands, in 1993. He received his BSc degree in Electrical Engineering (Automotive) in 2014, from the Department of Electrical Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). In 2016, he completed the Systems and Control master’s program at the TU/e. The MSc thesis, entitled “Feedback stabilization of nonlinear systems: “universal” constructions towards real-life applications’’, was supervised by dr. Alina Doban and dr. Mircea Lazar. The MSc degree was granted with distinction Cum Laude. He is currently working as a PhD student in the Control Systems group, Department of Electrical Engineering, TU/e.

Hi, my name is Zuan Khalik and I am 24 years old. I have done both my Bachelor’s and Master’s in Automotive at the Eindhoven University of Technology. I have recently finished my Master’s, for which I specialized in control at the Control Systems group. My graduation project concerned the optimization of the velocity of a vehicle over a certain trajectory. I am currently doing my PhD at the TU/e in the Control Systems group. My PhD project is a part of the European Auto Drive project and is about the fast charging of batteries for electric busses, in which I will optimize the charging time and minimize battery degradation. My interests are in technology, and my hobbies are gaming and hanging out with friends.

Hi! My name is Maarten and I have recently joined the TU/e’s Control Systems group as a post doc working on Roland Toth’s ERC project APROCS. I obtained my PhD in Engineering from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium in 2015. After obtaining my Phd, I continued to work for two years (2015-2017) as a post doc at the ELEC Department at the VUB (Belgium).

My research interests are primarily in the field of (nonlinear) system identification using both frequency- and time-domain approaches. Recently, I have been promoting the use of benchmark and real-life measurement datasets in the data-driven nonlinear modelling communities (see

Wageningen University & Research

Hello, my name is Caspar Geelen. I did my BSc Biotechnology and MSc Biotechnology – Process Engineering at the Wageningen University (WUR). During my master thesis at Biobased Chemicals & Technology (BCT), WUR, entitled “Dynamic Model of an INAPRO Demonstration Aquaponic System”, I modelled the water & solute dynamics in a combined fish & crop growth system.

In addition to Biotechnology, I also did a MSc Bioinformatics in Wageningen, in order to improve my computational skills (programming, some Linux experience). For this master, I developed IGSEA: an Interspecies Gene Set Enrichment Analysis method comparing species based on each species’ differential expression of gene sets between two experimental conditions.

In September 2017 I started a PhD-project at BCT WUR, working on “SMART detection and real-time learning in water distribution: an integrated data-model approach”: combining prior knowledge and big & fast real-time data from sensors in the Dutch drinking water supply grid and other sources to optimize grid monitoring and management, minimize costs and determine optimal actuator-sensor placement. Using data mining and modelling techniques, I will use the vast amount of data collected about the Dutch drinking water supply network to obtain insight and understanding of the complex dynamic behavior of water distribution networks.

PhD defences October

Delft University of Technology

Candidate: Jan Comans
Group: Aerospace Engineering (Control and Simulation)
Thesis: Visualizing Rules, Regulations, and Procedures in Ecological Information Systems
Promotor: M. Mulder
Date: 5 oktober 2017
Location: Aula, TU Delft
Time: 15.00 h.

Candidate: Tommaso Mannuci
Group: Aerospace Engineering (Control and Simulation)
Thesis: Safe Online Robust Exploration for Reinforcement Learning Control of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Promotor: M. Mulder
Date: 12 oktober 2017
Location: Aula, TU Delft
Time: 15.00 h.

Eindhoven University of Technology

Candidate: Constantijn Romijn
Group: Control Systems group TUe
Thesis: A distributed Optimization Approach to complete Vehicle Energy Management
Promotor: prof.dr. S. Weiland
Date: 5 oktober 2017
Location: Auditorium  TUe
Time: 16.00 h.

Candidate: Mohamed Darwish
Group: Control Systems group TUe
Thesis: Bayesian Indentification of Linear Dynamic Systems
Promotor: P.M.J. Van den Hof
Date: 10 oktober 2017
Location: Auditorium 5 TUe
Time: 16.00 h.

Candidate: Ruxandra Boboti
Group: Control Systems group TUe
Thesis: Sampling-driven stability domains computation and predictive control of constrained nonlinear systems
Promotor: P.M.J. Van den Hof
Date: 25 oktober 2017
Location: Auditorium  TUe
Time: 16.00 h.

Candidate: Ir. Arjo Bos
Group: Control Systems Technology
Thesis: Position Actuator for the ELT Primary Mirror M. Steinbuch
Date:26 oktober 2017
Location: TU/e Auditorium
Time: 16.00 uur

University of Twente

Candidate: A.Q.L. (Arvid) Keemink
Group: ET – BW
Thesis: Haptic Physical Human Assistance
Promotor: Herman van der Kooij
Date: 26 October 2017
Location: Waaier
Time: 16:45

Wageningen University and Research

Candidate: Simon Goddek
Group: Biobased Chemistry & Technology
Thesis: Opportunities and Challenges of Multi-Loop Aquaponic Systems
Promotor: Prof.dr. J. Verreth (Aquaculture and Fisheries) and K.J. Keesman
Date: 24 oktober 2017
Location: Aula, Wageningen University & Research
Time: 16.00 h.

Next issue of the newsletter

The next issue of this Newsletter will appear in November 2017.
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.
Please send your contributions to: