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Sensitivity Analysis for Deterministic Controller Design

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Initial training network on control theory

Optimal control is a mathematical tool that can be applied to many fields, such as avionics by optimising rocket trajectories, the automotive industry by minimising collision impact, and telecoms to establish a satellite optimal position. An EU initiative provided theoretical and practical training in this field to young mathematicians and engineers.

Industrial Technologies

With backing from the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), SADCO (Sensitivity analysis for deterministic controller design) aimed to equip young researchers and future science leaders with skills and know-how in control theory. Through an initial training network (ITN), the project trained early-stage researchers in a number of themes, including the sensitivity of optimal strategies to changes in problem specifications and the design of deterministic controllers. The ITN tailored custom training programmes for each individual researcher to make optimal use of their skills and interests, and to tap the partner institution resources to the maximum. In addition, SADCO strived to contribute to the theoretical foundation underpinning the field and to promote knowledge transfer to industry. Fellows explored such themes as optimality conditions and sensitivity analysis, the Hamilton-Jacobi approach, stabilisation methods for non-linear systems, perturbed systems and differential games. The tools developed thanks to SADCO can bring economic and environmental benefits to Europe, and the research carried out should contribute to innovative solutions in key technological fields. For instance, in aerospace, the sparse, large-scale non-linear programming solver WORHP was selected to be the standard solver for European Space Agency (ESA) activities for future projects. A major player in the automotive industry intends to use the newly developed methods as a verification tool for their collision avoidance algorithms. Another part of project work had a great impact in fields beyond the project scope. These related to physical exercises (personalised workout programmes depending on the physiological state of each individual) and macroeconomics models (non-linear model predictive control). During the project, a real collaborative momentum was established between network members through the organisation of common activities and the production of common publications. Over the four years of project duration, numerous training and research events were organised such as workshops, summer schools, research reviews, doctoral days and conferences. The programme also included some complementary training activities organised on a network level with the aim of providing the fellows with a set of skills and tools for their future careers.


Control theory, optimal control, avionics, automotive, SADCO, deterministic controller

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