Newsletter October 2020

Message from the DISC office

Dear all,

With best regards,

Henk Nijmeijer,
scientific director

Martha Otte,
DISC secretariat

DISC course program 2020-2021

In November the following course will start:

Input Design and Parameter Estimation for Non-Linear Systems ONLINE (November 16 until December 7, 2020)
H. Stigter
K. Keesman

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

Call for papers ECC 2021 (submission deadline November 6, 2020)

European Control Conference 2021 (
June 29-July 2, 2021
Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Submission deadlines
November 6, 2020 (papers, invited session proposals and invited papers)
December 21, 2020 (workshop proposals)
January 30, 2021 (extended abstracts)

In 2021 we will organise the first ever HYBRID ECC! You can join the conference either virtually or in person in Rotterdam. Either way, we promise you  a state-of-the art, high quality and engaging  (online) conference. We are proud to announce the following plenary speakers:

  • Alberto Bemporad (IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca)
  • Marcel Heertjes (ASML)
  • Danica Kragic Jensvelt (Royal Institute of Technology, KTH)
  • Dragan Nesic (The University of Melbourne)
  • Karen Willcox (The University of Texas at Austin)
  • Jan Willem van Wingerden (Delft University of Technology)

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!

Launch of new journal Frontiers in Control Engineering




Frontiers in Control Engineering is a newly launched journal that publishes high quality fundamental and applied research across all aspects of Control Engineering.

PhD position modelling and control for sustainable dairy farming at WUR

Systems and Control has been added to research area Mathematics (NWO)

When applying for an NWO grant it may be useful to know that NWO has added Systems and Control to the research area Mathematics.

New people

Delft University of Technology

My research interests are at the intersection of Engineering and Neuroscience. I carry out research in the general areas of human-machine interfaces and biological learning, and, specifically, in the use of robotic devices and virtual reality to aid people in learning motor tasks and for the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of neurological patients.

I am originally from Barcelona, where I did my undergraduate studies in Industrial Engineering, with a specialization in Automation, Robotics, and Control. After a short period of working in the industry, I moved to the USA, where I obtained my M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of California at Irvine. After graduation, I joined the Sensory-Motor Systems, ETH Zurich, as a postdoc researcher. In 2017, I was awarded a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Professorship (the Swiss equivalent to the ERC starting grant) and joined the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Bern as an SNSF Professor. I am the head of the Motor Learning and Neurorehabilitation lab at the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research at the University of Bern. You can find more information about my group on this website. I will continue supervising my six Ph.D. and two Postdocs at Bern until their graduation (I will keep my affiliation at Bern).

I have three children, so I do not have much “free” time. I enjoy biking and hiking. When the children are (finally!) asleep, I enjoy very much reading.

My name is Robert Cornet, and I am glad to announce that I will join CoR as a researcher, starting October 1st.
I just graduated from the faculty of 3ME with a specialization in Vehicle Engineering. In my thesis, I presented how Safe Reinforcement Learning can be used to safely drive a car at the limit of friction. Together with Wei Pan as my supervisor, I will be working on translating the theoretic results of my thesis into tangible results on a scale car.
Outside of work, I keep myself busy with sports (mostly judo), and working on cars.

I am Max Lodel, and I will join the Cognitive Robotics Department from October as a PhD student in the Learning and Autonomous Control group. I studied Automotive Engineering at the TU Freiberg in Germany, where I was part of the Formula Student Electric team, and I recently worked on MPC-based vehicle guidance in shared-control automated driving functions for my MSc thesis.

My research here, under the supervision of Dr. Javier Alonso-Mora, will regard planning, coordination and learning methods for multiple UAVs that aim at gathering information of an unknown, uncertain environment in cooperation with a human operator. I am interested in researching how optimization-based planning methods and machine learning methods such as reinforcement learning can be combined to achieve a safe but also adaptive performance.

Personally, some of my hobbies are playing volleyball and bouldering, and I also like to do trips to the alps for hiking or skiing.

Hi! I am Elia Trevisan, 24 years old, and I’ve just started my PhD at CoR in “Learning of Socially Compliant Motion Planning for Autonomous Vehicles” with Javier Alonso-Mora.

I come from Italy where, at the University of Bologna, I have obtained my bachelor’s degree in Automation Engineering. After that, looking for a more research-oriented program, I came here to TU Delft to follow the MSc in Systems and Control, which I have recently completed.

I love to cook, especially when I can then share the meal with my family and friends. I like nature, hiking, visiting remote places, and I have spent quite some time living and travelling in Asia. In my spare time, I grow chillies and tomatoes in my apartment and, generally speaking, I like to build and fix things.

Hello everyone, my name is Jetze Schuurmans. On October 1, I started as a Ph.D. candidate in the Intelligent Vehicles group.

So let me introduce myself. At the Erasmus University Rotterdam, I completed my BSc and MSc in Econometrics. Followed by a year as Machine Learning Engineer at CaptainAI, a startup that tries to make ships autonomous. At CaptainAI I worked on Computer Vision (CV), mainly object detection and localization. After this, I worked as a Data Scientist focussing on Natural Language Processing and Cloud Infrastructure.

The coming 4 years I will work on Computer Vision again. This time trying to make CV more efficient with the use of Tensor Decomposition. In my work, I will hopefully build a bridge between the Tensor techniques developed in the Delft Center for Systems and Control (DCSC) and the perception algorithms and applications encountered by the Intelligent Vehicles (IV) group. Therefore, my work will be supervised by both Julian Kooij (IV) and Kim Batselier (DCSC) and promoted by Jens Kober.

When I am not coding away or reading state of the art papers, you will probably find me in the water. I grew up sailing competitions and nowadays I am a vivid wave surfer. To be honest, I like most outdoor sports. Besides that, I also like (cooking) good food and traveling.

Hi everyone! I am a graduate from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and in September I will be starting a Ph.D. in underwater localization using magnetic fields, under assistant professors Manon Kok and Rudy Helmons. I have spent both years of my master on exchange in the Netherlands, so I already know the university – and I am curious and excited to get to know the department better in the coming time

My name is Pedro Zattoni Scroccaro from Brazil, and I’ll be joining DCSC as a PhD candidate under the guidance of Prof. Peyman Mohajerin Esfahani and Prof. Bilge Atasoy (from MTT). Currently, I am finishing my master’s degree in Systems and Control at DCSC. During my PhD, I’ll be working on the topics of (robust) optimization and real-time decision-making applied to transportation systems. Outside work, I enjoy playing sports, board-games and my guitar.

My name is Daniel van den Berg, I’m 26 years old and have followed the bachelor program of Applied Physics and master program of Systems and Control at the TU. During my years as a student I was also involved with the Formula student project for 2 full-time years. This coming October/November I will be starting my PhD in the department of Professor Jan-Willem van Wingerden. The topic of my research is floating wind turbines, and if the fact that the system floats can be used to influence the wake coming from the windmill.

I received my Diploma in Mechanical Engineering and my Master’s and PhD degree in Applied Mathematics from the National Technical University of Athens. My doctoral thesis was specialized in nonlinear observer design. After the PhD, I held postdoctoral positions with the Division of Decision and Control Systems at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. My relevant research directions revolved around the derivation of distributed abstractions of multi-agent systems for control synthesis under complex specifications, and the characterization of time-varying ambiguity sets under limited access to dynamic data, to aid reliable distributionally robust optimization problems.

Within the Delft Center for Systems and Control, I look forward to exploring quantitative aspects in the data-driven control of complex systems, that are accompanied by rigorous performance guarantees. The goal is to develop methods and algorithms that account for environmental and model uncertainty, computational tractability, and system constraints, and apply them to domains such as robotics, transportation, and energy. To this end, I aim to integrate tools from uncertainty quantification, estimation, control theory, formal verification, and optimization.
In my free time, I enjoy the outdoors, playing guitar, and cooking.

Eindhoven University of Technology

I’m looking forward to joining the D&C group as a part-time UHD for one day a week starting this month, working on soft (autonomous) robots. Besides this appointment, I am a scientific group leader at AMOLF (an NWO-I institute for the physics of complex and functional matter), where I lead the Soft Robotic Matter Group, which I initiated about 4.5 years ago as a tenure-track group leader after finishing my PhD at Harvard University.

The Soft Robotic Matter Group focuses on research at the crossroads of soft robotics and mechanical metamaterials. Combining computational, experimental and analytical tools, the group explores how shape, nonlinearities and feedback can be harnessed to embody intelligence in mechanical systems. We aim to bridge fundamental scientific and application-driven research to have direct societal impact. For example, one of the main projects of the Soft Robotic Matter Group is the European Hybrid Heart collaboration in which we are developing fluidic control for a fully soft robotic heart that will be tested in vivo in an animal model. Besides this, we are also interested in more fundamentally oriented research, ranging from the exploration of reconfigurable and multistable mechanical metamaterials that harness buckling, to the design of distributed/embodied control algorithms for soft robotic materials that are capable of adapting to dynamic environments.

My name is Yorick Broens and I am 25 years old. From September 7th, i’ll start my PhD project in the Control Systems group at Eindhoven University of Technology. During my PhD, I will be researching intelligent commutation methods (advanced coil callibration methods) together with compensation of disturbances via self-learning methods, which allows for higher position tracking performance. To further improve position tracking performance, I will be replacing the current LTI (rigid body decoupled) control structure by a parameter varying control structure, such that rigid body positioning tracking is improved in combination with suppression of flexible dynamics. I received my BSc degree in Mechatronics from Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Venlo and my MSc degree in Systems & Control in the Control Systems group at Eindhoven University of Technology. During my master’s degree, I have designed and implemented an additional feedback control loop for the wafer stage of the NXE 3600 at ASML, consisting of a parameter varying state observer and an active damping controller, which allowed for active compensation of the effects of critical flexible dynamics and hence improving position tracking performance.
Besides the professional work, I like to play electric guitar and I like to go for a run. I’m also a big Ajax fan, so in the weekends, I like to watch football games with friends.

My name is Chris Verhoek and I am currently 26 years old. From October 6th (2020) I start as a research assistant in the Control Systems Group at Eindhoven University of Technology, and will start with a PhD trajectory around December. My PhD project (and current research) will be on data-driven control with guarantees, so controller design based on data, such that you can give guarantees on the closed-loop system. I received my BSc degree in Mechatronics from the Avans University of Applied Sciences in Breda and my MSc degree in Systems & Control (cum laude) in the Control Systems group at Eindhoven University of Technology. Parallel to my bachelor and master I worked parttime at Prodrive Technologies and Sioux CCM as Test Designer and Mechatronic Designer, respectively. My MSc thesis is on “Incremental Dissipativity based Control of Nonlinear Systems”. In this thesis, I aim at defining a systematic control design framework for nonlinear systems, which is generic, systematic and intuitive, just as the LTI control framework. The key aspects of this control framework for nonlinear systems include global stability and performance guarantees, computationally attractive controller design methods and an intuitive performance shaping framework. The results of my thesis include global analysis and controller synthesis tools for nonlinear systems and the first steps towards a performance shaping framework for nonlinear systems.
Next to professional work, I have a passion for jazz music in the sense of playing (drums) and listening. Furthermore, I’m quite into hiking and swimming.

University of Groningen

Hi, I am Arijit, I have completed my Master of Technology(M.Tech) from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in Systems and Control Engineering and joined the University of Groningen as a PhD student. I am quite passionate about mathematics and its applications in real life especially in control systems. In RuG I will be working in the fascinating domain of Model Reduction under the Digital Twin project. I will be focusing on reduction of networks of subsystems in a nonlinear setting and considering inherent heterogeneity of the subsystems. Prior to this I have worked in the area of geometric control during my masters with Debasish Chatterjee. Apart from academics I love to involve myself in sports(especially cricket and football) and music.

Hello, my name is Teimour Hosseinalizadeh and I am a Ph.D. Student at the smart manufacturing systems group of the University of Groningen. I received my B.Sc. and M.Sc. from K.N.Toosi(2015) and Tehran University(2018) both in the control systems theory. I’m currently working on the control issues in cyber-physical systems(CPS). The main focus is to develop methods for controlling CPS and to guarantee a certain level of privacy at the same time. Smart grids, which were my master’s program main platform will be the domain for assessment of proposed ideas.

Background: “A full-stack control engineer working on the combination of control systems and AI, focused on deep generative networks and game theory with research experience on the applications in robotics, cognitive science, and intelligence banking solutions.”

Hi, my name is Amin Maghami born in Mashhad-Iran. I received my B.Sc. degree in power systems from Sharif university of Technology and my M.Sc. degree in energy systems from university of Tehran. I have recently started my PhD in Optimization and Decision Systems (ODS) group at university of Groningen. I am going to work on stochastic optimization in power systems planning with respect to the increasing share of renewable energy sources

PhD defences October

Eindhoven University of Technology

Candidate: D. Veldman
Group: Dynamics & Control
Thesis: Modeling and Control of Thermomechanical Systems
Promotor: prof.dr.H.Nijmeijer  & prof.dr.H. Zwart,
Date: September 11, 2020
Location: Atlas, TU/e
Time 4pm

Candidate: Ir. L. Hazeleger
Group: Dynamics & Control
Thesis: Extremun-Seeking Control for Data Based Performance Optimization of High-Tech Systems
Promotor: N. van de Wouw & prof.dr.H.Nijmeijer
Date: October 15, 2020
Location: Atlas, TU/e
Time: 11am

Candidate: Ir. F.N. Hoogeboom
Group: Dynamics & Control
Thesis: Safety of automated vehicles: design, implementation, and analysis
Promotor: Prof.dr. H. Nijmeijer & dr. T.S.P. van der Sande
Date: October 27, 2020
Location: TU/e
Time: 16.00

Candidate: David van den Hurk
Group: Control Systems
Thesis: Active wafer clamp control for extreme ultraviolet lithography
Promotor: prof.dr. Siep Weiland
Date: 21 October 2020
Location: TU/e Atlas 0.710
Time: 13.30 h.

Delft University of Technology

Candidate: Cees Verdier
Thesis: Formal synthesis of analytic controllers: an evolutionary approach
Group: DCSC
Promotores: M. Mazo and Prof.dr. R. Babuska
Date: 21-10-2020
Location: TU Delft, Aula
Time: 15.00

Candidate: S.M.A.A. Kerst
Group: CoR
Thesis: Wheel Load Reconstruction for Intelligent Vehicle Control
Promotores: R. Happee  & B. Shyrokau
Location: Aula, TU Delft
Time: 12.30

Twente University

Candidate: F.R. Halfwerk
Group: Biomechanical Engineering
Thesis: Innovations in cardio-thoracic surgery: predicting and optimising outcome with state of the heart technology
Promotor: H.F.J.M. Koopman and J.G. Grandjean
Date: 29 October 2020
Time: 16:45

University of Groningen

Candidate: Junjie Jiao
Group: Bernoulli Institute
Thesis: Distributed linear quadratic control and filtering: a suboptimality approach
Promotor: prof. dr. H.L. (Harry L.) Trentelman, prof. dr. M.K. (Kanat) Camlibel
Date: 23-10-2020
Time: 12.45

Next issue of the newsletter

The next issue of this Newsletter will appear in November 2020.
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