This award supports travel for participants in a Conference on Perspectives and Future Directions in Systems and Control Theory, to take place at Rutgers University, NJ, May 23-27, 2011. A primary goal of this conference is to bring together leaders and junior researchers in the field of control theory, in order to exchange ideas and results contrasting different theoretical approaches, and to explore and discuss emerging application areas such as systems biology and networks. Expository talks, technical presentations, and panel discussions will provide opportunities for fostering collaborations among researchers working in various different subfields, as well as for junior researchers, postdocs, and graduate students interested in system and control theory to interact with the established control theory community. The conference will cover a variety of topics including nonlinear stability analysis, construction of feedback mechanisms, systems with impulses, networked systems, control with communication constraints, monotone systems, graph-theoretic approaches to biological networks, and synchronization of interconnected systems.

Control systems and feedback loops are ubiquitous in engineering, in areas such as aerospace control, manufacturing and robotics, active damping, climate control of buildings, process control in chemical plants, electrical power systems, bioengineering, consumer products, and active suspensions, automatic braking systems, and engine timing in the automobile industry. One finds control and feedback in nature, as well, for example in the homeostatic mechanisms that allow organisms to finely tune their internal variables such as temperature, pressure, or chemical levels. The mathematical theory of control formulates the basic theoretical principles and provides tools to study problems in these fields. The conference will highlight the interplay between theory and applications, will review some of the main past achievements in the field, and will lead to discussions of future research directions.

Project Report

. The workshop was held from May 23-25, 2011, at the Center for Discrete Mathematics & Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS), Rutgers University, followed by a two-day working group meeting. The workshop's invited participants were junior, mid-career, and senior researchers in the fields of systems and control, signal processing, and systems biology. The total of about 100 attendees also included graduate students from several institutions, many of whom presented posters. The workshop consisted of half-hour lectures as well as spirited and sometimes controversial discussion panels on theoretical challenges, new application areas, and control education. The topics covered in the lectures represented a cross-section of theoretical fields, from by now well-established areas (sampled-data control and signal processing, control of PDE's, hybrid and switched systems, singular perturbations, model reduction, model predictive control, nonlinear stabilization, monotone systems, differential-geometric aspects of nonlinear control systems), to emerging application directions such as systems biology (models of the cell cycle, biological adaptation, chemotaxis, stochastic and deterministic modeling and analysis of biochemical networks, noise attenuation in molecular biology signaling pathways, gene regulatory networks, synthetic biology), social networks, swarming and flocking in animal behavior, systems-theoretic approaches to optimization, and the relations between computation, control, and information theory. On the two days following the formal workshop, about two dozen participants stayed on for informal discussion sessions, on topics ranging from automated traffic management and models of cell movement to control under actuator saturation. The workshop website has complete information, including the final program and slides of most of the presentations. This conference has contributed to the enhancement and improvement of scientific and educational activities by promoting more intense interdisciplinary research between mathematicians and engineers working with theoretic tools from different mathematical branches. It provided a rich source of mathematical tools that will allow progress towards a deeper understanding of various problems, thereby becoming an intellectual landmark in the advancement of knowledge and interactions among researchers. By bringing together prominent world experts as well as young researchers, the workshop provided an ideal forum for junior researchers, post-doc's, and graduate students interested in control theory to interact with the established control theory community, and hence, stimulating the growth of graduate student and beginning researchers.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS)
Standard Grant (Standard)
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James Alexander
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Rutgers University
New Brunswick
United States
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