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NSF CAREER: Decentralization and Parsimony for Implementable Control of Massively Interconnected Systems


Funding Agency 

National Science Foundation


Assistant Professor Michael Rotkowitz (ECE/ISR) is the recipient of a 2014 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award for "Decentralization and Parsimony for Implementable Control of Massively Interconnected Systems." The five-year award is worth $400,000.

The advent of complex interconnected systems has created a need to design and analyze controllers that can observe information from only a small portion of a network but may ultimately affect a large portion of the network. This includes smart building management, multi-vehicle systems and convoys, irrigation networks, large array telescopes, and the power distribution grid. Developing these kinds of controllers is a key challenge in many cyber-physical systems problems. There is currently an enormous disconnect in decentralized control between celebrated theoretical advances and the concepts that are used for implementation, or even for computation. Rotkowitz’s research will produce a novel synthesis of the theory and methods of parsimonious recovery, which has undergone dramatic recent developments, with both the classical results and modern advances in decentralized control. It will further broaden the applicability of elegant and useful aspects of optimization theory to classes of problems that are paramount for the main scope of the project. The fundamental advances pursued in optimization and estimation have the potential to be of use much more broadly and to impact many other fields. This project further seeks to make broad impacts outside of its primary domain through collaborations with industry and with experimentalists, and through the creation of software tools for widespread use by non-experts.