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

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.
CSL Professor Andrew Alleyne

Alleyne honored for advocating for women engineers

08/28/2017 - 16:15   The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has recognized MechSE Professor Andrew Alleyne for his impact on the engineering community with Advocating Women in Engineering Award.
CSL assistant professor Girish Chowdhary

Robots offer ‘goldmine’ of information for growing crops

08/02/2017 - 11:30   CSL Assistant Professor Girish Chowdhary is the lead robot developer for TERRA-MEPP, a robot that uses sensors and cameras to provide data for seed companies and farmers.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense tours Illinois research facilities

05/18/2017 - 14:15   Work observed Illinois robotics research in progress at the Intelligent Robotics Lab in the Coordinated Science Lab, and visited the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology to learn about research advances in materials.