Control Seminar

Event-Driven Control, Communication and Control

Christos Cassandras

Boston University, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Center for Information and
Friday, April 04, 2014
3:30pm - 4:30pm
1500 EECS

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About the Event

The event-driven paradigm is an alternative viewpoint, complementary to the time-driven approach, for modeling, sampling, estimation, control, and optimization of dynamic systems. For example, time-driven sampling and communication with energy-constrained wireless devices can be inefficient, unnecessary, and sometimes infeasible. The key idea in event-driven control is that a “clock” should not be dictating actions simply because a time step is taken; rather, an action should be triggered by an “event” which may be a well-defined condition on the system state (including a simple time step) or a random state transition. We will present results in two areas where event-driven control and optimization have made significant progress. First, in distributed multi-agent systems, we will show how event-driven, rather than synchronous, communication can guarantee convergence in cooperative distributed optimization while provably maintaining optimality. Second, in stochastic hybrid systems, we will show how on-line gradient estimation techniques boil down to a set of event-driven Infinitesimal Perturbation Analysis equations (an “IPA calculus”) where the estimates are (under certain conditions) robust with respect to modeling details and noise, and scalable in the number of observed events. We will illustrate how this IPA calculus is used to solve a large class of stochastic optimization problems


Christos G. Cassandras is Head of the Division of Systems Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Boston University. He is also co-founder of Boston University’s Center for Information and Systems Engineering (CISE). He received degrees from Yale University (B.S., 1977), Stanford University (M.S.E.E., 1978), and Harvard University (S.M., 1979; Ph.D., 1982). He specializes in the areas of discrete event and hybrid systems, stochastic optimization, and computer simulation, with applications to computer and sensor networks, manufacturing systems, and transportation systems. He is the recipient of several awards, including the 2011 IEEE Control Systems Technology Award, the Distinguished Member Award of the IEEE Control Systems Society (2006), the 1999 Harold Chestnut Prize (IFAC Best Control Engineering Textbook) for Discrete Event Systems: Modeling and Performance Analysis, a 2011 prize for the IBM/IEEE Smarter Planet Challenge competition, a 1991 Lilly Fellowship and a 2012 Kern Fellowship. He is also a Fellow of the IEEE and a Fellow of the IFAC.

Additional Information

Contact: Ann Pace

Phone: 763-5022


Sponsor(s): Bosch, Eaton, Ford, MathWorks, Toyota, and Whirlpool

Open to: Public