Decision and Control

How can we create systems that can learn from their environment, take decisions based on what is learned and navigate in this environment autonomously in the face of uncertainty? Decision and Control has considered aspects of these questions for many years. Applications are found everywhere: robotics, economics, biology, manufacturing and other academic fields such as computer science and communications.

This is a mathematical discipline, drawing on a large range of fields including functional analysis, game theory, probability, statistics and optimization.

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It is commonplace to observe students slinging backpacks across their shoulders, while automatically adjusting their balance to maintain eye contact with the person they are conversing with. Clearly, the balance control system is capable of effortless adaptation to large dynamic loads while maintaining stability. It is easy to overlook the challenges and difficulty of creating and engineering a man-made system with similar capabilities. The central mechanism is feedback, the ability to sense and react to one’s environment. While feedback lies at the heart of most research done in D&C, a significant portion of the group’s research concerns the environmental information required before guarantees can be made about the quality of our solutions.

Networks and Control

Can we wirelessly network cars so they never collide, or operate green buildings so that resource usage and environmental impact are minimized? How should we control networks so information flows efficiently over them? These questions represent challenges in creating future wireless and sensor networks for information flow, or large smart systems that interact with their environment, sometimes called cyberphysical systems, networked control systems or embedded systems.

Social, Economic and Technological Systems

One branch of this research concerns the development of new communication systems and infrastructures. We study the increased use of the electromagnetic spectrum by license-exempt wireless devices, investigating how we can plan for a future that includes ubiquitous communication. Another direction concerns the creation of theory and algorithms to contend with planning and operational decisions in socio-economic systems. A current Department of Energy project concerns the next generation of engineering-economic systems. A key question is, how can we create energy markets that are efficient and reliable?

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Group Contact:
Angie Ellis: 153 CSL
Phone: 217-300-1910

Research Faculty


Decision and Control Research News

Geir E.Dullerud

Center for Autonomy launched to develop research, education in emerging field

12/03/2018 - 14:00   The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has allocated $2.1 million in funds to create a new Center for Autonomy at CSL that will enable high-impact research and develop new educational programs for students and professionals.

Illinois' crop-counting robot earns top recognition at leading robotics conference

07/10/2018 - 10:00   A robot developed by the University of Illinois to find genes that produce high-yielding, hardy traits in crop plants' DNA was recognized by the best systems paper award at Robotics: Science and Systems, the preeminent robotics conference held last week in Pittsburgh.
Cesar Augusto Uribe Meneses

Graduate student, alumna win at Midwest Machine Learning Symposium

06/20/2018 - 12:30   A team of researchers, including ECE ILLINOIS graduate student Cesar Augusto Uribe Meneses, recently won one of three Best Poster Awards at the 2018 Midwest Machine Learning Symposium in Chicago.
Tamer Basar

Basar named College of Engineering interim dean

12/19/2017 - 15:30   Tamer Başar has been named the interim dean of the campus’s College of Engineering, effective Jan. 16. A member of the Illinois faculty since 1981, Basar is a CSL faculty member, director of the Center for Advanced Study, and a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Teachable, ultra-compact, autonomous, phenotyping robot introduced to investors, market

09/19/2017 - 14:30   Investors and executives in the agricultural industry are getting a first look at TerraSentia, a new-to-the-market agricultural robot that autonomously measures crop traits, developed at the University of Illinois.