Biographical Data, David L. Elliott

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David Elliott learned automatic control theory as a working applied mathematician at the Naval Ordnance Test Stations Underwater Ordnance Department (now part of USNOSC San Diego) 1955-69, and obtained Masters and Doctoral degrees with Navy support and Fellowships. His dissertation was the first to apply a differential geometric (Lie algebra) approach to stochastic dynamic systems, and his work on nonlinear control systems has been foundational.

After UCLA he moved to the Control Systems Science and Engineering Laboratory at Washington University, which became the well-known Dept. of Systems Science and Mathematics. Among his students were Nick Kalouptsidis ( University of Athens), Dirk Aeyels ( University of Gent), Riccardo Marino (University of Rome II), and W. P. Dayawansa (Texas Tech University).

He accepted a two-year pre-retirement sabbatical in 1992, becoming Professor Emeritus and moving to the Institute for Systems Research. There he continues to advise doctoral students and perform research in nonlinear systems.

Present Positions and Addresses:

Visiting Senior Research Scientist, Institute for Systems Research,

University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742

Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Systems, Washington University, St. Louis

Home address: 9348 Cherry Hill Road, #510, College Park, MD 20740

Phone and FAX: 301-345-4941; e-mail


Ph.D. 1969 Engineering (Mathematical Theory of Systems), University of California at Los Angeles.

M.A. 1959 Mathematics, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

B.A. 1953 Mathematics, Pomona College, Claremont, California

Employment History

1993-1999 Senior Research Scientist, NeuroDyne, Inc., Cambridge, Mass.

1992-Present Visiting Senior Research Scientist, Institute for Systems Research,

University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland

1994-Present Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Systems, Washington University, St. Louis

1980-1994 Professor of Mathematical Systems, Washington University, St. Louis

1971-1994 Faculty member, Dept. of Systems Science and Mathematics,

Washington University, St. Louis

1987-1989 Program Director ( Systems Theory) National Science Foundation, Washington DC

1986-1987 Visiting Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles

Fall 1979 Visiting Associate Professor, Lefschetz Center, Brown University, Providence, RI

1969-1971 Lecturer, Department of System Science, UCLA

Summer 1969 Senior Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

1955-1969 Mathematician and Physicist, U.S. Naval Ocean Systems Center

Professional Societies:

IEEE Control Systems Society; American Mathematical Society ; Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics; Mathematical Association of America; Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society

Professional Activities:

Associate Editor for Book Reviews, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 2000-Present.


Associate Editor at Large, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 1990-1998

Associate Editor, Systems and Control Letters, 1990-1998

Associate Editor, Mathematical Systems Theory, 1977-1989

Reviewer, Mathematical Reviews, 1970-Present 

Research Interests:

Nonlinear control systems

Dynamical systems

System Identification and Approximation

Selected Research Grants:

NSF Grant No. ECS-8306789 (w. W.M. Boothby), State-Feedback Equivalence of Nonlinear Systems, 1983-85

NSF Grant No. ECS-8518832 (w. W.M. Boothby), Geometric Problems in Nonlinear Systems,1986-88

McDonnell Douglas Missile Systems Grant, Blended Fin and Reaction Jet Control, 1990

NSF Grant No. ECS-9022539, Workshop on Aerospace Applications of Neurocontrol, 1990-91

NSF Grant No. DMS-9105272 (with C.I. Byrnes), Math. Sci. Computing Research Environment, 1990-93

NSF Grant No. ECS-9204612 (with C.I. Byrnes) Workshop on Nonlinear Control Theory, May 2731, 1992, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

NSF Grant No. ILI-9251452 (with H. Mukai) Engineering Systems Laboratory 1992-95

NSF Grant No. ECS-92-23463, Workshop on Neuroengineering, University of Maryland, October 25-27, 1992

Doctoral Advisees:

W. P. Dayawansa, Riccardo Marino, Ellen Livingston, RenJeng Su, Nikos Kalouptsidis, J. L. Sedwick, R. E. Mullans, Dirk Aeyels, N. R. Vemula, Olive Liu, GenSen Cheng, Robert Kou

Research Support through NeuroDyne, Inc.:

NSF Grant ECS-9216530, (E. Hanzevack, PI) "Reducing Pollution and

Increasing Fuel Economy Using Intelligent Control" [1993-96]

NSF Grant DMI-9461400, (D. A. Sofge, PI) "Identification and Energy Management for Next Generation Vehicles" (1995)

NASA Contract NASW-4921, (D. A. Sofge, PI) "Intelligent Adaptive Structural Integrity Assessment System"

NSF Grant III-9360372, (D. A. Sofge, PI) "Nonlinear System Identification for Real-Time Structural Health Monitoring in Composite Materials ," (1994)

NSF Grant DMII 9561130, [D. A. Sofge, PI] Adaptive Critic Design for Reducing Cold Start Emissions, [1996]

NSF Grant DMII 9561171, [D. A. Sofge, PI] Advanced Adaptive Critic Designs for Optimization and Control of Complex Nonlinear Dynamic Systems, [1996]

Selected Publications

"A consequence of controllability," J. Diff. Eqs., Vol. 10, pp. 364-370, 1971.

"Observability of nonlinear systems," (with S.R. Kou and T. J. Tarn),

Information and Control, Vol. 22, pp. 89-99, Feb. 1973.

Controllability of discrete bilinear systems with bounded control,

(with T. Goka and T.J. Tarn), IEEE Trans. Auto. Control, Vol. AC-18, pp. 298-301, 1973.

Diffusions on manifolds, arising from controllable systems, in Geometric Methods in System Theory, D.Q. Mayne and R.W. Brockett, editors, D. Reidel Pub. Co., Dordrecht, Holland, 1973.

Linear systems on partially ordered time sets, (with R.E. Mullans), Proc. 1973 IEEE Conf. Decision & Control, pp. 334-337, San Diego, Calif., December 1973.

Finite-time observer for nonlinear dynamic systems, (with S.R. Kou and T.J. Tarn), Proc. IEEE Conf. Decision & Control, December, 1973.

Nonlinear systems equivalent to controllable bilinear systems, (with J.L. Sedwick) Proc. 1974 IEEE Conf. on Decision & Control, pp. 193-194, Nov. 1974.

Optimal observation for variable-structure systems, (with B.A. Frelek), Proc. VI IFAC Congress, Boston, Massachusetts, 1975.

Ambiguous behavior of logic bistable systems, (with M. Hurtado), 13th Allerton Conf. on Circuits and System Theory, pp. 605-610, U. of Illinois, 1975.

Controllability of bilinear systems, (with G.-S. J. Cheng and T.J. Tarn) in Variable-Structure Systems, edited by R. Mohler and A.Ruberti, Springer LN Econ. & Math. Systems Vol. 111, pp. 83-100, 1975.

Exponential observers for nonlinear dynamic systems, (with S.R. Kou and T.J. Tarn), Information & Control, Vol. 29, pp. 204-216, 1975.

Linearization of analytic vector fields in the transitive case, (with J.L. Sedwick), J. Diff. Eqs., Vol. 25, pp. 377-390, 1977.

Accessibility properties of smooth nonlinear control systems, (with N. Kalouptsidis), Proc. 1976 Ames Res. Ctr. (NASA) Conf. on Geometric Control Theory, edited by C. Martin and R. Hermann, pp. 437-446, Math Sci. Press, 1977.

Mathematical models of blood coagulation kinetics, Proc. U.S.-Italy Sem. on Variable-Structure Systems, Economics and Biology, Springer LN Econ. & Math. Systems, Vol. 162, pp. 118-122, 1978.

Models for the human throat-wall and a study of the vocal tract from input/output measurements, (with N.R. Vemula and A.M. Engebretson), Proc. 1978 IEEE

Conf. on Decision & Control, San Diego, California, pp. 946-948, Jan. 1979.

Global observability for nonlinear autonomous differential equations, (with D. Aeyels), Proc.1978 IEEE Conf. on Decision & Control, pp.1057-1061, San Diego, Calif., Jan. 1979.

An instructional laboratory for direct digital control, (with B. Joseph) TP-2C, Proc. 1981 Joint Automatic Control Conference, Charlottesville, Virginia, June 1981.

Stability analysis of orbits of control systems, (with N. Kalouptsidis), Math. Sys.

Theory, Vol. 15, pp. 323-342, 1982.

Linearization of families of vector fields, (with E.S. Livingston) J. Diff. Eqs.,Vol. 55, pp. 289-299, 1984.

Bilinear systems, Proc. Beijing Conf. on Systems and Control, May 24- June 6, 1984.

Experiments in temperature measurement and control by micro-computer, (with B. Joseph) IEEE Control Systems Magazine, Vol. 5, pp. 26-28 (Aug. 1985).

Global state and feedback equivalence of nonlinear systems, (with W. P. Dayawansa and W.M. Boothby) Systems & Control Letters, Vol. 6, pp. 229-234, 1985.

Geometric properties of linearizable control systems, (with R. Marino and W. M. Boothby) Mathematical Systems Theory, Vol. 18, pp. 97-123, 1985.

Invariant manifolds for discretizations of nonlinear systems, Proc. 24th IEEE Conf. on Decision & Control, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Dec. 1985, pp. 724-726.

Time-discretizations of nonlinear systems, in Recent Advances in Communication and Control Theory, R.E. Kalman et al., editors, New York: Optimization Software, Inc., 1987, pp. 390-400.

Some sufficient conditions for global feedback equivalence of a nonlinear system to an invariant system on a torus, (with W.P. Dayawansa and C.F. Martin) pp. 399-402 in Analysis and Control of Nonlinear Systems, C.I. Byrnes, C.F. Martin, and R.E. Saeks, editors, North-Holland, Amsterdam/New York, 1988.

Stochastic time-optimal control problems, (with Weijian Zhang) IEE Proceedings

(London) Part D: Control Theory and Applications, Vol. 135, pp. 395-404, 1988.

Discrete-time systems on manifolds, pp. 1908-1909 in Proc. 29th IEEE Conference on Decision & Control, Honolulu, Hawaii, Dec. 5-7, 1990.

"The geometry of nonlinear control systems," in Mathematical Theory of Control, M.C. Joshi and A.V. Balakrishnan, editors, Marcel Dekker, New York, 1992.

Report "A better activation function for artificial neural networks" ISR TR 93-8, Institute for Systems Research, University of Maryland, January 29, 1993.

"Systems Engineering Laboratory Experiments at Washington University," Proceedings 3rd IFAC Symposium on Advances in Control Education, Tokyo, August 1-2, 1994 (with H. Mukai).

Article "Reconstruction of Nonlinear Systems with Delay Lines and Feed Forward Networks," Proc. 1995 American Control Conference, Seattle, WA, June 21 -23, 1995

Neural Systems for Control (editor, with O.M. Omidvar) Boston, Academic Press, 1997:

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