The 2015 American Control Conference, July 1–3, Chicago, IL

Sponsoring Organizations

Special Sessions

Special sessions offer a venue for providing exposure to topics of broad interest to the conference attendees, including, but not limited to, emerging research areas, funding opportunities, educational issues, industry applications or opportunities, job-hunting advice, etc. Special sessions often include a panel discussion with significant time for Q&A.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Recent Developments in Advanced Control: Innovation and Collaboration at Honeywell
(Sponsored by Honeywell Automotive Software)

Time: 12:15 - 1:15pm
Location: Wabash Room

Honeywell, a Fortune 100 company, invents and manufactures technologies to address some of the world’s toughest challenges linked to global macrotrends such as energy efficiency, clean energy generation, safety and security, globalization, connectivity, and customer productivity. In this session, you will hear about selected recent advanced control research and development projects across the company, with an emphasis on our recent work in automotive control. The work discussed is leveraging technical advances in control to solve customer problems in diverse domains. The presentations will cover the gamut of the industry R&D experience, from applied research to solution concepts to demonstrations and prototypes to released product. We will first provide you with an overview of the company, including a brief history of our breakthrough developments in control over the last few decades, in areas as diverse as process optimization and control, building management, energy management, avionics and flight management, and, most recently, automotive control. Many of our advances have benefited from collaborations with academic colleagues, two of whom will participate in the session. The concluding presentation will focus on our experience in working with the automotive industry.

The session will consist of the following presentations:

  • Advanced Control at Honeywell: Applications and Impact – Tariq Samad, Corporate Fellow, Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions
  • Control for Automated Driving – Francesco Borrelli, Codirector of the Integrated Vehicle Safety Systems and Control Center & Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley
  • The Enabling Models Behind Every Successful Model-Predictive Controller – Anna Stefanopoulou, Director of the Automotive Research Center & Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan
  • Challenges Experienced by Automotive OEMs and Recent Projects – Michael Uchanski, Technical Leader, Honeywell Automotive Software

All ACC attendees are invited to attend the session. Lunch will be provided.


Simple and Inexpensive Hardware Experiments for the System Dynamics and Controls Curriculum
(Sponsored by Mathworks)

Time: 12:15 - 1:15pm
Location: Salon 12
Presenter: Rick Hill (Associate Professor, University of Detroit Mercy)

Professor Rick Hill will demonstrate and discuss a series of simple hardware-based experiments for the system dynamics and controls curriculum. The experiments have been designed to facilitate integration in courses by leveraging capabilities available in MATLAB and Simulink Student Version and through the use of simple and widely available hardware. Learn how to integrate these activities into your courses to improve student learning and satisfaction, whether you wish to "flip" your classroom, or simply want to assign hardware-based assignments. The activities have been designed to improve student intuition for the theory they are learning in class and to provide exposure to some practical considerations regarding the modeling and control of physical systems. The use of low-cost hardware targets, such as Arduino boards, and inexpensive equipment helps facilitate adoption of the proposed activities. Detailed documentation for the activities have been included as part of the popular web-based Control Tutorials for MATLAB and Simulink (

All ACC attendees are invited to attend the session. Lunch will be provided.


Research Avenues in Network Neuroscience and Controls

Time: 6:30 - 7:30pm
Location: Crystal Room
Organizer: Fabio Pasqualetti
Panelists: Prof. Wassim M. Haddad (School of Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology), Prof. Danielle S. Bassett (Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania), Prof. Steven Schiff (Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Penn State University), Prof. Sridevi Sarma (Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University), Prof. ShiNung Ching (Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis)

One of the most exciting and difficult challenges for contemporary science and engineering is to understand and control the fundamental mechanisms underlying behavior and cognition in the nervous system. Disorders of the nervous system are associated with complex neurobiological changes that lead to profound alterations at all levels of organization, and it remains an outstanding question whether these changes can be reverted by appropriate interventions. The computational principles and strategies of the nervous system may have broader implications for biological and engineered systems alike, opening new avenues for discovery, application, and invention. The theory of controls provides the principles and methods to design and operate dynamical systems. Over the past decades control theory has seen important advances thanks to technological innovations in sensing and computing, and breakthroughs in the underlying principles and mathematics. While a strong link between control theory and network neuroscience has not yet been established, control-theoretic methods are uniquely suited to studying the mechanisms of the nervous systems, and to design groundbreaking controls for the treatment of neurological disorders. This session will bring together experts in computational neuroscience and controls, and will serve as a venue to discuss recent findings and to identify research opportunities for control scientists.


Federal Funding Opportunities for Control Researchers

Time: 6:30 - 7:30pm
Location: Salon 12
Organizer: Jordan M. Berg
Panelists: Dr. Fariba Fahroo (Program Manager, Defense Sciences Office, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)), Dr. Marina Sofos (Technology Manager, Building Technology Office at DOE), Dr. Alex Leonessa (Program Director, Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems, National Science Foundation (NSF)), Dr. Massimo Ruzzene (Program Director, Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation, National Science Foundation (NSF)), Dr. Jordan M. Berg (Program Director, Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation, National Science Foundation (NSF)), Dr. Seta Bogosyan (Program Director, International Science and Engineering Office, National Science Foundation (NSF))

This session will bring together Program Officers from a variety of Federal agencies, representing programs that offer funding opportunities for controls researchers. Each Program Officer will present a brief overview of relevant programs, and describe fundamental objectives, expected products, topics of current interest, and the application process. Following these presentations, the Program Officers will answer questions from the audience.


Industry Job Hunting

Time: 6:30 - 7:30pm
Location: Salon 2
Organizer: Alberto Speranzon
Panelists: Dr. Craig Buhr (MathWorks), Dr. Kingsley Fregene (Lockheed Martin, Advanced Technology Labs), Dr. Anahita MirTabatabaei (Bosch, Research and Technology Center), Dr. Arvind Raghunathan (Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories), Dr. Alberto Speranzon (United Technologies Research Center), Dr. Rogier Blom (GE Global Research)

For PhD students or Postdocs, strongly embedded within an academic environment, a career in industry might appear interesting but at the same time "mysterious". Typical questions are: "Will I be able to do cutting edge research? Will I still be able to publish? What will I be doing in 5 and 10 years?" To answer these and other questions, the session brings together both recent PhD graduates in controls and hiring managers. The session will be divided into two parts: In the first half, each panelist will speak describing their experience and advice for job-seekers. The second half will be open to the audience for Q&A.


Fundamental Challenges and Opportunities in Controls for Buildings-to-Grid Integration

Time: 6:30 - 7:30pm
Location: Wabash Room
Organizers: Karanjit Kalsi, Jakob Stoustrup
Panelists: Dr. Jakob Stoustrup (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), Dr. Sonja Glavaski (Program Director, Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E)), Prof. Kameshwar Poolla (Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of California Berkeley), Mr. George Hernandez (DOE Building Technology Office (BTO)), Dr. Tariq Samad (Honeywell)

Large-scale infrastructure systems, such as our critical energy, power, computing and transportation networks, are becoming increasingly heterogeneous, hybrid and dispersed. Distributed control systems have significant scaling, adaptability and reliability advantages over conventional control systems. New control paradigms based on distributed controls offer significant economic and security benefits compared to existing strategies. Advances in building automation, control technology and the smart grid are supporting the transition to smarter buildings that will being more energy efficient; leading to reduced operational expenses for building owners, but also less stress on the power system for system operators, and lower emissions for society as a whole. The focus of this special session will be to address the complex control challenges in relation to building-to-grid integration, i.e. the challenge of exploiting flexibility in the operation of buildings as a component in the control operation of the electrical power grid. As part of the special session, there will be a panel discussion focused on a series of questions that are aimed to provide different perspectives on complex control aspects of the building-to-grid integration challenge.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Design and Analysis of Biological Networks

Time: 6:30 - 7:30pm
Location: Wabash Room
Organizer: Elisa Franco
Panelists: Prof. Calin Belta (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Boston University), Prof. Domitilla Del Vecchio (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Prof. Frank Doyle (Department of Chemical Engineering, UC Santa Barbara), Prof. Elisa Franco (Department of Mechanical Engineering, UC Riverside), Prof. Mathukumalli Vidyasagar (Bioengineering Department, University of Texas at Dallas)

Feedback is present in biological systems at all scales, from gene networks to microbial consortia to entire organisms. Control and dynamical systems theory provides mathematical tools useful several purposes: to validate and analyze complex biological models, to guide experiments, to aid the design and synthesis of novel molecular networks from the bottom up, and to identify novel targets for therapeutic intervention. Challenges include the uncertainty and stochasticity of biochemical processes, the presence of unmodeled dynamics, network scalability and modularity. This special session brings together researchers in our community who work at the interface between theory and experiments. Speakers will give their perspective on the grand challenges in the area of biological networks analysis and design. Questions and interactions with the audience will be encouraged.


What You Need to Know about the Academic Job Market

Time: 6:30 - 7:30pm
Location: Salon 2
Organizer: Jason Marden
Panelists: Prof. Na Li (Department of Electrical Engineering, Harvard University), Prof. Behrouz Touri (Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder), Prof. Jason Marden (Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder), Prof. Francesco Bullo (Chair and Full Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UC Santa Barbara)

This session will provide a forum for students entering the job market to learn about the job application process. The panel will consist of four faculty members at various stages in their career. These faculty members include Na Li (new Assistant Professor at Harvard University), Behrouz Touri (new Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado), Jason Marden (early career Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado), and Francesco Bullo (Chair and Full Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara.)


The Future of Battery Controls

Time: 6:30 - 7:30pm
Location: Crystal Room
Organizers: Scott Moura, Hector Perez
Panelists: Dr. Patrick McGrath (Program Director, Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E)), Prof. Anna Stefanopoulou (Dept of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), Dr. Kandler Smith (Senior Engineer, Transportation Technologies and Systems, National Renewable Energy Laboratory), Dr. Yebin Wang (Research/Technical Staff, Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratory), Dr. Yi Ding (Senior Technical Specialist, Ground Vehicle Power & Mobility, US Army RDECOM-TARDEC)

Energy storage is one of society's grand challenges for the 21st century. As renewable energy generation and electrified transportation become more prominent, electrochemical batteries have emerged as an essential energy storage technology. Broadly speaking, today's batteries are expensive, oversized, and conservatively operated. To counter these limitations, advancements are quickly developing in the areas of materials science, chemistry, and manufacturing. However, electrochemical modeling, estimation, and controls play an equally crucial role to unlocking the full potential of batteries. This special session coalesces a panel of battery control experts to identify the open control system opportunities and challenges in battery management systems. This might include advanced in situ sensing technologies, electrochemical model-based control, state-of-health parameter estimation, thermal management, flexible battery pack controls, second life batteries, or advanced battery chemistries. The goal is to share perspectives on open challenges in battery energy storage that control engineers are uniquely positioned to address. This will hopefully catalyze research directions amongst the session attendees.


ARPA-e: unsolved problems in energy technology

Time: 6:30 - 7:30pm
Location: Salon 12
Organizer: Sonja Glavaski
Panelists: Dr. Sonja Glavaski (Program Manager, Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E))

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) invests in disruptive ideas to create America’s future energy technologies. ARPA-E focuses exclusively on early-stage technologies that could fundamentally change the way we generate, use, and store energy. The aging U.S. electric grid was designed to be a passive, one-directional system delivering power generated at central power plants, via transmission and distribution (T&D) networks to the end-user. To maintain grid's reliability and turn intermittent power sources into major contributors to the U.S. energy mix, we have to think about the grid differently and design it to be smarter and more flexible. We need to more efficiently direct the flow of power on the grid, help stem energy losses, support higher renewables penetration, and enable the grid to be more responsive and resilient. The evolution of the grid faces significant challenges in flexibility if it is to integrate and accept more energy from renewable generation and other Distributed Energy Resources (DERs). To maximize renewables and DERs integration in the future, all grid generators and flexible loads are expected to address and support system reliable operation. The potential impact is significant, with projected annual energy savings of more than 3 quadrillion BTU (quads) and annual CO2 emissions reductions of more than 250 million metric tons, which is roughly 5% of total U.S. annual CO2 emissions. This special session will identify the opportunities and challenges in developing next generation technologies for secure, stable, and reliable transmission and distribution of electrical power that maximize the capacity of today’s infrastructure and improve the overall system efficiency of the grid.

Friday, July 3, 2015

MOOCs in Control Education

Time: 12:15 - 1:15pm
Location: Crystal Room
Organizer: Todd Murphey
Panelists: Prof. Pedro Albertos (Systems Engineering and Control Department, UPV, Spain), Dr. Kishan Baheti (Program Director, Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems, National Science Foundation (NSF)), Prof. Magnus Egerstedt (School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology), Prof. Sandipan Mishra (Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering Department, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Prof. Todd Murphey (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University)

This special session will focus on the role that massive open online courses (MOOCs) should, or should not, play in control education. The session will bring together perspectives from researchers who have already run control-oriented MOOCs, those who have used online content to "flip" the classroom, and national educational policy implications. Three MOOCs, one for general audiences, one on mobile robotics, one on introductory systems theory, will be discussed, focusing on both successes and failures. Pedro Albertos will discuss his "MOOC on Dynamics and Control," which is intended to be a platform for spreading basic concepts about systems dynamics and feedback and control to freshmen students and non specialists in control. Magnus Egerstedt will discuss his "Control of Mobile Robots" MOOC, which focused on bridging the theory-practice gap on a massive scale. Todd Murphey will discuss his "Everything Is The Same: Modeling Engineered Systems" MOOC, which introduces first-year undergraduates to linear systems modeling and analysis, including inexpensive at-home laboratories. Both Prof. Egerstedt's and Prof. Murphey's online classes were also used in on-campus classes in the context of "flipping" the classroom. To add to this oncampus perspective, Sandipan Mishra will discuss MOOCs and online content from the perspective of the challenges associated with delivering on-campus pedagogical innovation with take-home experimental equipment in the form of a Mini-Segway and a flipped laboratory concept. Moreover, he will explore the risks and rewards of test-taking and student learning evaluation methodologies in an "open-textbook & open-internet" setting. Lastly, Kishan Baheti will discuss how MOOCs fit within the priorities at the U.S. National Science Foundation, and how MOOCs generally impact the academic teaching and research landscape.


Engineering the Future: Controls Systems at Ford
(Sponsored by Ford)

Time: 12:15 - 1:15pm
Location: Wabash Room
Presenter: Craig Stephens (Chief Engineer: Control Engineering, Ford)

The automobile has been dependent on Electronic Control Systems for decades and innovation in Controls has enabled most of the major advances in safety, emissions, and fuel economy. We have progressed from single-input, single-output (SISO), through complex domain strategies for fuel control, anti-lock brakes, transmission shift control, etc. to cross-domain control features such as Adaptive Cruise Control and Parking Assistance. With increasing trends towards autonomous vehicles that are connected via the cloud, the need for innovation in controls is greater than ever. This presentation will review the current state of the art and showcase how Ford is responding to some of these challenges facing the future of mobility.

All ACC attendees are invited to attend the session. Refreshments will be provided.

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Key Dates

Draft Manuscripts:
due September 26, 2014

Best Student Paper Nominations:
due October 10, 2014

Workshop Proposals:
due October 17, 2014

Acceptance/Rejection Notice:
by January 31, 2015

Final Manuscript Submission:
due March 15, 2015

Sponsorship Opportunities
Sponsor the 2015 ACC and
have your logo featured here.

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Contacts for Sponsors:

Jianbo Lu
(Vice Chair for Industry & Applications)

Randal W. Beard
(Exhibits Chair)

Richard D. Braatz
(General Chair)