Newsletter September 2018

Message from the DISC office

Welcome to the September edition of the DISC newsletter. Hopefully you all had a good summer and are ready for the year ahead! The first DISC course has started and registrations for the other courses are also going well.

We are happy to announce that DISC will again take part in a bid to host the IFAC World Congress. At the the beginning of this month Jacquelien Scherpen (RUG) and Paul Van den Hof (TU/e) gave a first presentation for the IFAC council and were selected for the final round, together with Korea.

It is also good to see that that various DISC members have been awarded grants. Congratulations to all and of course welcome to the new people who are joining DISC!

With best regards,

Henk Nijmeijer,
scientific director

Martha Otte,
DISC secretariat

Upcoming DISC courses

In October/ November the following classes will start:

Computational Linear Algebra: a least squares perspective:  (October 1, 8 and 15)
M. Verhaegen and B. De Moor

Underactuated Mechanical Systems: motion planning, motion representation and motion control methods (November 12 and 19)
A. Shiriaev and A. Pogromskiy

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

DISC bid for IFAC WC 2026

DISC has decided to try to bring the IFAC World Congress to the Netherlands in 2026. We are happy to announce that we have made it through the first round! On September 3 Jacquelien Scherpen (RUG) and Paul Van den Hof (TU/e) gave a presentation for the IFAC council. The proposed location is RAI Amsterdam and Jacquelien Scherpen is our proposed president for 2023-2026. Paul Van den Hof would serve as president-elect, from 2020-2023. This has to do with IFAC regulations with regard to years of experience in IFAC. Together with Korea we were selected for the final round, which will take place in Vienna, in September 2019. In the coming year we will be preparing for this and we would appreciate your help!

Benelux Meeting 2019

The 38th Benelux Meeting on Systems and Control is tentatively scheduled to take place from March 19-21, 2019 at Centerparcs Vossemeren, Lommel, Belgium.

ERC starting grant for Jens Kober (TUD)

Dr. Jens Kober (CoR) has received an ERC starting grant for his project Teaching Robots Interactively (TERI): This project will deliver a completely new and better approach: “robot learning will no longer rely on initial demonstrations only, but it will effectively use additional user feedback to continuously optimise task performance”.

For more information see:

ERC starting grant for Sergio Grammatico (TUD)

Dr. ing. Sergio Grammatico (DCSC) has received an an ERC starting grant for his project Game Theoretic Control for Complex Systems of Systems (COSMOS): “COSMOS will develop the theoretical foundations and intelligent control methodologies for the next generation of complex and autonomous systems, with applications in automated driving and power grids”.
For more information see:

Raffaella Carloni (RUG) awarded a Horizon2020 grant

Raffaella Carloni has been awarded 3 ME for the project MAGNIFY within the Horizon 2020 Framework Program of the European Union (FET-Open research and innovation actions call).

MAGNIFY is a collaborative project between the University of Groningen (NL) as coordinator, the University of Bologna (IT), the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IT), and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (FR).

The goal of MAGNIFY is to design and realize a new generation of artificial muscles for robotic systems, characterized by high force-to-weight ratio, high flexibility, fast reacting properties, and intrinsic rigidity tuning. For more information see

NWO Start-up grant for Carlas Smith (TUD)

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, NWO , has awarded almost 3 million euros to seven recently appointed principal investigators in physics and chemistry. One of the laureates of these so-called ‘START-UP’ grants is Carlas Smith, assistent professor at the Smart Optics lab of the Delft Center for Systems and Control and expert in the area of Imaging Physics.

Towards imaging in living tissue at a resolution of 1 nanometre Carlas Smith proposes a new way of overcoming the diffraction limit, so that nanoscopy can be made available as a general tool for the imaging of living tissue. The technology is based on the formation of ultra-small points in time and space that penetrate deep into the tissue and reveal structures at a nanometre resolution.

START-UP is intended for recently appointed associate, assistant or full professors in physics and chemistry. With the START-UP grant, these researchers can elaborate creative, risky ideas within the focus areas of the Physics and Chemistry sector plan.

New people

University of Groningen

Vahab Rostampour received the M.Sc. degree in Automation and Control Engineering from Politecnico di Milano, Italy in 2013. He has been employed as a Ph.D. candidate at the Delft Center for Systems and Control (DCSC), Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) from September 2014, under the supervision of Dr. Tamas Keviczky and Prof. Nathan van de Wouw. He also obtained the certificate of the Dutch Institute of Systems and Control (DISC). His research interests include optimal control synthesis, analysis, stochastic model predictive control, distributed data-driven and learning optimization of dynamical systems, and decision making in uncertain dynamical environments, with applications to large-scale systems such as thermal grids and power networks. His main research focuses on various centralized and decentralized problems with and without communication between subsystems, and finding tractable ways of solving these problems.

Mengbin Ye was born in Guangzhou, China. He received the B.E. degree (with First Class Honours) in mechanical engineering from the University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand in 2013, and the Ph.D. degree in engineering at the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia in 2018. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow with the Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Groningen, the Netherlands.

He was Highly Commended in the Best Student Paper Award at the 2016 Australian Control Conference, and he has been awarded the Springer Thesis Prize for his PhD thesis. His current research interests include opinion dynamics and social networks, consensus and synchronisation of Euler-Lagrange systems, and localisation using bearing measurements.

Cunha, RafaelName: Rafael Fernandes Cunha
Starting date: 01-09-2018
Function: PhD
Group: ENTEG (Discrete Technology and Production Automation)
Supervisor: Prof. dr. M. Cao and prof. J. Scherpen
Project: Controlling evolutionary network dynamics

Hello! My name is Rafael Fernandes Cunha and I am from Brazil. In 2008, I graduated in Electronic Engineering at Aeronautics Institute of Technology (ITA). I joined Petrobras, a Brazilian petroleum company, right after graduating and in 2010 I concluded an in-company specialization in Petroleum Engineering. In 2018 I concluded a master degree in electric engineering at University of Campinas (UNICAMP) where I developed my research within the topic of Markov Jump Linear Systems subject to sampled-data control law (Hybrid MJLS) in numerical simulation environments. The main objective was to determine the sampled-data optimal control law for problems that fall in the framework of H2 and H-infinity performance of MJLS. I am now starting my PhD at the University of Groningen in the topic controlling evolutionary network dynamics under the supervision of Prof. Ming Cao and Prof. Jacquelien Scherpen.

Delft University of Technology


My name is Hongpeng Zhou. I am now working as a PhD candidate at Robot Dynamics Group as part of the Department of Cognitive Robotics. My promoter is Martijn Wisse and my daily supervisor is Dr. Wei Pan.

Before starting my PhD study, I received both my Bachelor and Master degree at Harbin institute of technology(HIT) in China, with the major of control science and engineering from August 2011 to July 2017. After the six years’ study, I built up knowledge and skills in electronics, automation, and computing skills, which I believe has provided me a solid foundation for the doctoral research in the next years.

Now, as a PhD student, my main concern is about learning structured sparsity for deep neural network. I am excited that I can explore a more in-depth study of this interesting topic at this wonderful faculty. Besides my academic study, I am also keen on sports activities, such as basketball, running, table tennis.

Eindhoven University of Technology

Introduction: Hi, my name is Sofie Haesaert and I have joined the TU/e on the 8th of September.  I received my PhD in Control Systems from the electrical engineering department at the TU/e. The last year and a half I spent as a postdoc at the California Institute of Technology, where I did research together with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.
My research interests lie in the development of tools and methods for safety-critical cyber-physical systems. In my work, I focus on the data-centric verification and controller design with respect to requirements given in temporal logics.

Hi, my name Feye Hoekstra and I’m 23 years old. I received my BSc-degree in Automotive Engineering and MSc-degree in Systems and Control from Eindhoven University of Technology in 2016 and 2018. My MSc-thesis concerned range maximisation of electic vehicles using active cell balancing, which was analysed as a reachability problem. We used dynamic programming and distributed optimisation to find the maximum range and optimal balancing currents, given a predefined power cycle. During my PhD we will research the optimal use of active cell balancing in a scalable environment and the influence of state and parameter uncertainty on the balancing performance.


I am Clarisse Barros, from Brazil. I graduated and did my Master degree in Electrical Engineering at the Universidade Federal de Campina Grande (UFCG – Federal University of Campina Grande). My master’s dissertation was about PID controller design using optimization techniques. Recently, I joined as a PhD student at the Eindhoven University of Technology.

My name is Tom Bloemers and I am 25 years old. I have received my Bachelor’s degree at Fontys University of Applied Sciences in 2014. I have recently received the MSc. degree in Systems and Control from Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The topic of my graduation project was nanometer accurate motion control of a magnetically levitated planar actuator, carried out in the Control Systems Group at Eindhoven University of Technology. Currently, I am working on my PhD in the Control Systems Group on the subject of LPV control under the supervision of Roland Tóth and Tom Oomen. My interests are in technology and my hobbies are football, gaming and hanging out with friends.

PhD defences September

Delft University of Technology

Candidate: Dean Wilding
Group :DCSC
Thesis: Physical and Computational Approaches to Aberration Correction in Fluorescence Microscopy
Promotor: M. Verhaegen and Dr.Ing. R. Van de Plas
Date: 12-09-2018
Location: Aula Senaatszaal, Mekelweg 5
Time: 12.30-14.30

Candidate: Zhou Su
Group: DCSC
Thesis: Maintenance Optimization for Railway Infrastructure Networks
Promotor: B. De Schutter and S. Baldi
Date: 13-09-2018
Location: Aula Senaatszaal, Mekelweg 5
Time: 10.00

Candidate: Vahab Rostampour Samarin
Group: DCSC
Thesis: Distributed Data-Driven Decision Making in Uncertain Networked Systems with Applications in Smart Energy Systems
Promotor: T. Keviczky and N. van de Wouw
Date: 24-09-2018
Location: Aula Senaatszaal, Mekelweg 5
Time: 10.00


Next issue of the newsletter

The next issue of this Newsletter will appear in October 2018.
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