PEFL Brian D.O. Anderson — Lecture

Event Date: April 17, 2024
Speaker: Brian D. O. Anderson, Emeritus Professor, College of Engineering and Computer Science,
The Australian National University
Time: 3:00-4:00 PM EST
Location: Armstrong Atrium
Priority: No
School or Program: College of Engineering
College Calendar: Show
Applications Delivered by Control Theory

Eli Yablonovitch


Control theory is far more than a playground for the applied mathematician. Many control theorists in fact also treat scientifically challenging and intellectually deep applications problems, often formulated by end-users to meet their specific objective. This talks surveys six such applications, each studied in collaboration with an end-user representative, over an approximately 50-year period.

The applications dealt with:

  • Investigation of the effectiveness of water usage restrictions in time of drought
  • Systematic design of low order controllers for a 55th order unstable, nonminimum phase plant (pitch control of a commercial aircraft)
  • Estimated the shape of a sonar array towed in a non-straight-line path behind a submarine
  • Localizing a sea-skimming missile
  • Building macroeconomic models using a mixture of monthly and quarterly data
  • Flying drones in a stable formation with distance-only inter-vehicle measurement


Brian D. O. Anderson was born in Sydney, Australia, and educated at Sydney University in mathematics and electrical engineering, with a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University. He is an emeritus professor at the Australian National University (ANU), having retired as distinguished professor in 2016 after originally being appointed as ANUs first engineering professor in 1981. His awards include the IEEE Control Systems Award of 1997, the 2001 IEEE James H Mulligan, Jr Education Medal, and the Bode Prize of the IEEE Control System Society in 1992, as well as several IEEE and other best paper prizes. He was a recipient of the IFAC Quazza Medal in 1999. He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Royal Society (London) and a foreign member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. He holds honorary doctorates from a number of universities, including Universit Catholique de Louvain, Belgium, and ETH, Zrich. He is a past president of the International Federation of Automatic Control and the Australian Academy of Science. His current research interests are in distributed control and localization, epidemic modelling and social networks. He also served as a director on company boards, including the worlds largest supplier of implantable hearing devices, Cochlear Ltd, and as an advisor to government, including membership of the Prime Ministers Science Council under three prime ministers.

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