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:
Stephanie McCullough: 153 CSL
Phone: 217-244-1033

Research Faculty


Decision and Control Research News

Manufacturing robot

UIUC, ZJUI to create smart, flexible manufacturing networks

10/14/2020 - 09:46   Driggs-Campbell is co-leading a team that is creating smart and highly flexible manufacturing networks, enabling adaptability from the component to supply chain level.
Photo of Sayan Mitra

CSL professor contributes to aircraft control research

05/27/2020 - 15:19   CSL Professor Sayan Mitra is working with industrial collaborators to develop an algorithm to test and certify software for certain aircraft control systems.
Girish Chowdhary

Chowdhary group uses AI to improve stability of autonomous aircraft

05/05/2020 - 14:12   CSL student Girish Joshi and his adviser, CSL Assistant Professor Girish Chowdhary, are working to improve the stability of autonomous aircraft in their new project, funded by Sandia.
Photo of Converge Team

Illinois ECE tech start-up launches new app; simplifies decision making

12/18/2019 - 01:00   Illinois tech start-up Converge has launched a new application that helps groups make decisions, gets to know your preferences, and offers more personalized recommendations.
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.