Feedback everywhere


Speaker: Professor John Lygeros, Professor of Computation and Control and Head, Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, ETH Zurich |

Date/Time: Tuesday 21 May, 6.30-7.30pm, refreshments from 6pm Location: Woodward Conference Centre, 10th floor, Melbourne Law (Building 106), 185 Pelham St, Carlton VIC 3053 | Registration:

Abstract: What do self driving cars, power grids and homeostasis in biology have in common? Seemingly not much. If one looks “under the hood”, however, one discovers that they all rely on a common principle that renders their operation robust and reliable. This principle, known as feedback, is intuitive: see where you are, compare to where you want to be, and move in the direction that reduces the difference between the two. Though the feedback principle itself is simple to explain, understanding its implications, uses and limitations is far from it and forms the topic of a branch of engineering known as automatic control. The talk will outline the main ideas of feedback, automation and control motivated by examples of their use in biology, transportation, energy systems and beyond.

Bio: John Lygeros grew up in Athens, Greece where he graduated from Athens College in 1987. He completed a B.Eng. degree in electrical engineering in 1990 and an M.Sc. degree in Systems Control in 1991, both at the Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine, London, U.K.. In 1996 he obtained a Ph.D. degree from the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences Department, University of California, Berkeley. In the period 1996-1999 he held a series of research appointments at the National Automated Highway Systems Consortium, M.I.T., and U.C. Berkeley. In parallel, he also worked as a part-time research engineer at SRI International, Menlo Park, California, and as a Visiting Professor at the Department of Mathematics of the Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest, France. Between 2000 and 2003 he was a University Lecturer at the Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, U.K., and a Fellow of Churchill College. Between 2003 and 2006 he was an Assistant Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Patras, Greece. In July 2006 he joined the Automatic Control Laboratory of ETH Zurich where he is currently serving as the Professor for Computation and Control and the Head of the laboratory.

His research interests include modeling, analysis, and control of dynamical systems, with applications to biochemical networks and large-scale systems such as power networks, surveillance systems and air traffic management. He has received several awards both for his research and for his teaching, including the George S. Axelby Outstanding Paper Award of the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control and the Credit Suisse Award for Best Teaching of ETH Zurich.

John Lygeros is a Fellow of the IEEE, a member of the IET and the Technical Chamber of Greece, and serves as the Treasurer of the International Federation of Automatic Control.

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