Technology Lecture: Cooperative Control for Synchronisation in Nature and Engineering

Date: 13 Jul 2011 - 13 Jul 2011

Venue: SIMTech Auditorium, Tower Block, Level 3


This lecture by Professor Frank Lewis explores the structure of complex distributed naturally occurring and human engineered systems. Supported by IEEE Robotics and Automation Singapore Chapter, this programme is co-organised by SIMTech and the Division of Control and Instrumentation, School of EEE, Nanyang Technological University. 
Distributed systems of agents linked by communication networks only have access to information from their neighboring agents, yet they are expected to achieve global agreement on team activities to be performed cooperatively. Some of the examples include networked manufacturing systems, the global aircraft routing system, wireless sensor networks, networked feedback control systems, and the internet.  Sociobiological groups such as flocks, swarms, and herds have built-in mechanisms for cooperative control wherein each individual is influenced only by its nearest neighbors, yet the group achieves consensus behaviors such as heading alignment, leader following, exploration of the environment, and evasion of predators.  It is known that groups of fireflies and of crickets align their frequencies, neurons in the brain fall into patterns of interacting burst phenomena, and biological groups fall into the circadian rhythm.  It was shown by Charles Darwin that local interactions between population groups over long time scales lead to global results such as the evolution of species.  This talk explores the structure of complex distributed naturally occurring and human engineered systems.  The basic sorts of graphs including random, small world, and scale free will be reviewed. Participants will be shown how these notions can be used to design cooperative control systems for dynamical systems interacting on communication graph topologies. The fundamental ideas behind cooperative control for networked interacting teams will be presented, including the graph Laplacian matrix, Fiedler eigenvalue, time to consensus, and consensus values reached. Local voting protocols, second-order consensus, control of systems in formations, and synchronisation of distributed interacting oscillators will also be discussed. Local protocols based only on interactions between neighbors lead to global optimal behavior of distributed teams. Results from graph theory show the importance of the communication structure on the agreement reached by the networked team. 


About the Speaker

Professor Frank L Lewis received the BS degree in physics/electrical engineering, the MSEE degree from Rice University, Houston, TX, the MS degree in aeronautical engineering from University of West Florida, Pensacola, and the PhD degree from Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. He works on feedback control, intelligent systems, and sensor networks. He is author of six patents, 209 journal papers, 328 conference papers, 12 books, 41 chapters, and 11 journal special issues. Dr Lewis is a Fellow of IFAC, Fellow of the UK Institute of Measurement and Control, PE Texas, UK Chartered Engineer, a Distinguished Scholar Professor and Moncrief-O’Donnell Chair at the University of Texas at Arlington’s Automation and Robotics Research Institute. He received the Fulbright Research Award, NSF Research Initiation Grant, ASEE Terman Award, the 2008 Int. Neural Network Society Gabor Award, and the Outstanding Service Award from the Dallas IEEE Section. He was selected as Engineer of the Year by the Ft.Worth IEEE Section. Listed in the Ft.Worth Business Press Top 200 Leaders in Manufacturing. He was appointed to the NAE Committee on Space Station in 1995. He is an elected Guest Consulting Professor at both South China University of Technology and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Founding Member of the Board of Governors of the Mediterranean Control Association. He has won several accolades, including the IEEE Control Systems Society Best Chapter Award (as Founding Chairman of the DFW Chapter), the National Sigma Xi Award for Outstanding Chapter (as President of the UTA Chapter), and the US SBA Tibbets Award in 1996 (as Director of ARRI’s SBIR Program).

1.30pm:   Registration

2.00pm:   Lecture by Professor Frank Lewis : Cooperative Control for Synchronisation in Nature and Engineering

3.00pm:   Refreshments & Networking    

3.30pm    End of Programme

Who Should Attend
Research academic staff, students, senior management, R&D managers and engineering professionals. 

Registration for this lecture is free of charge. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  

Contact Us
For technical enquiries:
Ms Zhou Junhong, Senior Research Engineer, Tel: 6793 8289;

For general enquiries:
Alice Koh, Tel: 6793 8249; Email: