What should control education look like in 2030?



Control Education 1: What should control education look like in 2030?

Date: 12:00-13:30, Monday, 10th July 2023 (MoLunch)
Room: Room 301

Related Technical Committee: TC 9.4. Control Education

Christos G. Cassandras (Boston University)
John Anthony Rossiter (University of Sheffield)

Session Chairs:
Chair: Christos G. Cassandras (Boston University)
Co-Chair: John Anthony Rossiter (University of Sheffield)

Lucy Pao (University of Colorado, Boulder)
Stefano Di Cairano (Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories)
Antonio Visioli (University of Brescia)
Iven Mareels (University of Melbourne) 
Gireeja Ranade (UC Berkeley)



This panel session will disseminate and interpret the IEEE Control Systems Society Roadmap 2030 report (see congress programme for launch details). This report considered the role of control theory in solving some of the current and future societal challenges, including the roles of education and training. The findings are interpreted in a manner designed to give focus and direction to both future education and research work in control theory. This session will promote discussion within the community and provide a useful starting point for colleagues wishing to re-imagine the design and delivery of control related topics in our education systems. 
Some of the panellist presentations will be based on the Roadmap 2030 report and its recommendations and subsequent publications. It is timely, therefore, to summarise some of the points raised and to promote discussion, input and activity; what should we do next both as individuals and as a community?
1.      It is evident that the impact and relevance of control is far broader than traditional curricula allowed for. Are we prepared to modernise our curricula content to reflect this?
2.      Are we exploiting technology advances effectively in learning and teaching? 
3.      Are we collaborating effectively in the development and sharing of resources?

Session Program

Each panelist will talk for 3-5 minutes to communicate a range of core ideas and possibly controversial opinions as a means of kick starting a dialogue with the audience who will then be invited to join in an active discussion with the panel. The panelists will deliberately cover slightly different foci to ensure a broad ranging discussion. Some indication of the expected foci is given below.


Iven Mareels
The convergence of digitization, AI and control engineering points of view in automation; that is CS and EE perspectives are more closely aligned, and their complementarity is taught (e.g. lack of feedback in CS and lack of systems engineering in EE curricula – understood as a woefully generalized statement).
Automation in education: chatbots as tutors & real-time advisors; Automation in design software: chatbot assistance & auto-code generation & code re-use.
More emphasis on “understanding” than on “techniques”, on “design & synthesis” rather than “analysis”,  on “ethics” (not all problems deserve to be solved).


Antonio Visioli
The increased availability of video lectures and web resources can facilitate personalised education.
In addition to continuously creating and improving educational tools, there is the urgent need to organise and classify them so that they are really usable.
How AI tools will impact on education?


Lucy Pao
How do we balance ensuring students learn the fundamentals in order to be able to effectively design and implement successful control systems versus:
•    conveying broad societal impact (the age-old breadth versus depth trade-off in teaching and inspiring students).
•    introducing students early to the use of computer-aided tools (e.g., Matlab/Simulink) for designing controllers. When is the best time to introduce such tools?
Teaching the importance of control co-design (integrating the mechanism and control design processes).


Stefano Di Cairano
Educational needs for control practitioners in industry, for different functions: industry research, product development, field engineering. 
•    What one must know and may go around without.
•    How should control courses structured be meet all those?
•    How to balance teaching conventional control and numerical approaches?
•    The importance of “teaching to teach” to industry researchers.


Gireeja Ranade
I’m interested in designing scalable and inclusive foundational classes that can introduce students to rigorous technical material and attract them to the field. I believe for young undergraduates it is important to do this by mixing theory and applications, and showing students how mathematical ideas can have impact in the real world. I will share a perspective on designing a first-year course that introduces students to linear algebra and has them complete hands-on labs in imaging, control, machine learning and circuit design in hands-on labs. This approach showcases the interconnections between subjects, which is important understanding for a modern engineer to have.


Biography of Speaker

Iven Mareels: Holder of numerous senior roles (e.g. Executive Dean, ISSS, FUA, Vice President, ATSE, Non-executive Director, Rubicon Water, Life Advisor, IFAC and many others in the past) and an experienced educator, researcher, and research manager. Iven is passionate about: (1) R&D that makes societal impact; (2) education that develops people to make societal impact and (3) Living by the golden rule “treat others as you want others to treat you”.




Antonio Visioli: Chair of IFAC Technical Committee 9.4 on Control Education, he has been IPC chair of the last IFAC Symposium on Advances in Control Education and he has participated to many working groups on different issues in education.






Lucy Pao: is a Palmer Endowed Chair Professor of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering and a Professor (by courtesy) of Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder). She is also a Fellow of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, a joint institute between the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and CU Boulder. She earned B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. She is a Fellow of IEEE and IFAC, a foreign corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, an IFAC Technical Board member, and an IFAC Pavel J. Nowacki Distinguished Lecturer. Selected recognitions include the 2017 AACC Control Engineering Practice Award, 2017 European Academy of Wind Energy Scientific Award, 2019 ASME Nyquist Lecturer Award, 2020 IFAC Application Paper Prize Finalist, 2022 CU Boulder Holland Outstanding Faculty Mentorship Award, and 2022 CU Boulder Outstanding Postdoc Mentor of the Year Award. 



Stefano Di Cairano: is a Deputy Director, and Distinguished Research Scientist at the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories. His research focuses on control strategies for complex mechatronic systems, in automotive, factory automation, transportation systems, and aerospace. He has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed articles in journals and conference proceedings, is an inventor in more than 70 patents, and has developed several training courses for control practitioners in industry used within his organizations. He won several awards within Mitsubishi Electric, especially for his research in ADAS and MPC, some of which resulted in mass-production of novel products. He is an executive member of the IFAC Industry Committee, and the vice-chair for industry of the IFAC TC on Optimal Control.



Gireeja Ranade is an Assistant Teaching Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UC Berkeley. Before joining the faculty at UC Berkeley, she was a Researcher at Microsoft Research AI, Redmond. She has received the NSF CAREER award as well as multiple awards for her teaching. At Berkeley, designed a new introductory course sequence to introduce first-year students to linear algebra, circuit design and machine learning. She regularly teaches courses with 1000+ students and has worked on innovations to teach effectively at this scale.