Control Co-Design: Toward Comprehensive and Holistic Treatment of Physical and Control System Design

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Date(s) - 10/07/2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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Date and Time

  • Date: 07 Oct 2021
  • Time: 12:00 PM to 01:05 PM
  • All times are America/New_York
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  • Starts 23 September 2021 09:18 AM
  • Ends 07 October 2021 02:18 PM
  • All times are America/New_York
  • No Admission Charge


In the development of actively controlled engineering systems, physical system (plant) design decisions influence how plant control systems should be designed to improve performance, and control design decisions affect optimal plant design decisions. This characteristic is known as bi-directional design coupling. Conventional sequential design strategies used in practice (i.e., plant design followed by control design) do not fully capitalize upon this coupling. Mechatronics design philosophy is holistic in nature, but established methods lack the ability to articulate and exploit plant-control design coupling in a comprehensive way. Control co-design (CCD) methods formalize treatment of coupling to achieve system-optimal performance. CCD has been applied to niche applications, such as control-structure interaction, for some time. A resurgence in CCD research, however, has produced more comprehensive theoretical foundations and increasingly practicable CCD methods. Specifically, these methods support rigorous treatment of physical system design elements, provide tools for balancing plant and control design complexity, and enable the discovery of non-obvious superior design solutions. Current CCD research goals include progress toward theory and methods that balance deeper treatment of both physical and control system design, while holistically managing the interface between these design domains. Great progress has been made utilizing open-loop optimal control methods to support increasingly realistic treatment of physical system design, but has left a gap in accounting for the information-based constraints of implementable feedback control systems. Recent efforts to address these open challenges will be discussed after reviewing key CCD concepts and research milestones. Finally, opportunities for coordinated CCD research community efforts to more fully realize the potential of comprehensive and balanced CCD strategies will be explored.


James Allison is an associate professor and the Jerry S. Dobrovolny Faculty Scholar at UIUC. 

He is a faculty member of the Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering and Aerospace Engineering departments, and is the director of the UIUC Engineering System Design Laboratory. He holds MS and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering, and an MS in Industrial and Operations Engineering, all from the University of Michigan. He has co-authored over 125 research publications and is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, the ASME Design Automation Young Investigator Award, ASME papers of distinction, and several teaching, mentoring, and advising awards. His work focuses on the creation and analysis of novel quantitative design methods for engineering systems, primarily CCD optimization. His investigations span a wide range of application domains, including wind/water energy systems, spacecraft control, aircraft cooling systems, intelligent structures, vibration isolation and control, multi-scale scramjet design optimization, automotive systems, power electronics, and complex fluid systems.



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