Department wins two notable control awards

Many congratulations to Antonis Papachristodoulou, Associate Professor with the Department of Engineering Science, and DPhil student Richard Mason for winning control awards from the European Control Association (EUCA) and the American Automatic Control Council (AACC).

2015 European Control Award

Carlos Canudas de Wit, president of EUCA presents Professor Antonis Papachristodoulou with his Award
Carlos Canudas de Wit, President of EUCA presents Professor Antonis Papachristodoulou with his Award (pictured right).
Professor Antonis Papachristodoulou has just been announced as the winner of the 2015 European Control Award. This award is given to recognise outstanding contributions by a young researcher (under the age of 40) in the area of systems and control. Professor Papachristodoulou received this award for his ‘fundamental contributions to robustness analysis and applications to networked control systems and systems biology’. The award is sponsored by the European Control Association (EUCA), and was presented during the annual European Control Conference in Linz, Austria.

The European Control Award committee highlighted Professor Papachristodoulou’s “…outstanding contributions in three major areas: Sums of Squares (SOS) techniques for non-polynomial, time-delayed and PDE-based dynamical systems; Lyapunov-like techniques for networked nonlinear systems; and systems biology”.

The ECA committee also noted that Professor Papachristodoulou’s “…theoretical work has had a deep impact in several application domains, essentially due to his development of a software package called SOSTOOLS, which is widely used by important agencies and industries such as Honeywell (for safety verification of a life support system), NASA (for robust stability analysis of highly flexible aircraft) and ESA/ESTEC (for safety verification of a Mars mission)”.

Professor Antonis Papachristodoulou received his Award at the recent European Control Conference Banquet, and he also gave a plenary lecture, titled “SOS for Nonlinear Systems Analysis”.

Professor Papachristodoulou is currently EPSRC Fellow in the area of Synthetic Biology. He holds an MA/MEng degree in Electrical and Information Sciences from the University of Cambridge (2000) and a PhD in Control and Dynamical Systems from the California Institute of Technology, with a PhD Minor in Aeronautics (2005). His research interests include large-scale nonlinear systems analysis, sum of squares programming, synthetic and systems biology, networked systems and flow control. He is associate editor for “Automatica” and “IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control”.

O. Hugo Schuck Best Paper Award

Richard Mason (centre), Tariq Samad, President of AACC (on his left) and William S. Levine, Chair of the AACC Awards Committee (on his right)
Richard Mason (centre), Tariq Samad, President of AACC (on his left) and William S. Levine, Chair of the AACC Awards Committee (on his right)
Richard Mason and Antonis Papachristodoulou are this year’s winners of the American Automatic Control Council (AACC) O. Hugo Schuck Best Paper Award (Theory-Oriented Paper) for their paper titled: “Chordal Sparsity, Decomposing SDPs and the Lyapunov Equation”.

The American Automatic Control Council (AACC) sponsors five awards, which are awarded in recognition of ‘excellence in scientific, technological, or educational contributions to automatic control’. The O. Hugo Schuck Award is given to recognise the best two papers presented at the previous American Control Conference and criteria for the awards include the quality of the written and oral presentation, the technical contribution, timeliness, and practicality. One award is for a paper emphasising contributions to theory and the other for a paper emphasising significant or innovative applications.

The paper, which also received the Best Student Paper Award at the American Control Conference last year, provides a framework for decomposing Semidefinite Programs that arise in Control Theory, paving the way for scalable analysis of linear and nonlinear systems.

Richard Mason (Lincoln College) received the MEng degree in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford in 2010. At present, he is working towards his DPhil degree in the Department of Engineering Science under the supervision of Professor Papachristodoulou. His PhD research is focussed on exploiting sparsity within optimisation problems in control theory.

For more information on the Department’s work related to these awards please visit: