University of Pennsylvania, General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception

The structure control system design consists mainly of two steps: input/output (I/O) selection and control configuration (CC) selection. The first one is devoted to the problem of computing how many actuators/sensors are needed and where should be placed in the plant to obtain some desired property. Control configuration is related to the decentralized control problem and is dedicated to the task of selecting which outputs (sensors) should be available for feedback and to which inputs (actuators) in order to achieve a predefined goal. The choice of inputs and outputs affects the performance, complexity and costs of the control system. Due to the combinatorial nature of the selection problem, an efficient and systematic method is required to complement the designer intuition, experience and physical insight.
Motivated by the above, this presentation addresses the structure control system design taking explicitly into consideration the possible application to large - scale systems. We provide an efficient framework to solve the following major minimization problems: i) selection of the minimum number of manipulated/measured variables to achieve structural controllability/observability of the system, and ii) selection of the minimum number of measured and manipulated variables, and feedback interconnections between them such that the system has no structural fixed modes. Contrary to what would be expected, we showed that it is possible to obtain the global solution of the aforementioned minimization problems in polynomial complexity in the number of the state variables of the system. To this effect, we propose a methodology that is efficient (polynomial complexity) and unified in the sense that it solves simultaneously the I/O and the CC selection problems. This is done by exploiting the implications of the I/O selection in the solution to the CC problem.

Sérgio Pequito is a postdoctoral researcher at University of Pennsylvania. He obtained his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and Instituto Superior Técnico, through the CMU-Portugal program. Furthermore, he received his BSc and MSc in Applied Mathematics from the Instituto Superior Técnico. Pequito's research consists in understanding the global qualitative behavior of large scale systems from their structural or parametric descriptions and provide a rigorous framework for the design, analysis, optimization and control of large scale (real-world) systems. Pequito was awarded with the best student paper finalist in the Conference on Decision and Control 2009, the ECE Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award at Carnegie Mellon University, and the Carnegie Mellon Graduate Teaching Award (university-wide) honorable mention, both in 2012.