Control Systems for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: An Urgent Call



IC Forum 3:  Control Systems for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: An Urgent Call

Date: 16:00-17:30Thursday, 13th July 2023 (ThC)
Room: Main Hall

Related Technical Committees: IFAC Industry Committee

Tariq Samad (Senior Fellow, Technological Leadership Institute, University of Minnesota, U.S.A.)

Session Chairs:
Chair: Tariq Samad (Senior Fellow, Technological Leadership Institute, University of Minnesota, U.S.A.)
Co-chair: Pramod Khargonekar (Vice Chancellor for Research, University of California, Irvine, U.S.A.)

Masayuki Fujita (Professor, University of Tokyo, Japan)
Iven Mareels (Executive Dean, Federation University, Australia)
Lucy Pao, Professor (University of Colorado Boulder, U.S.A.)
Jakob Stoustrup (Professor, Aalborg University, Denmark)



Climate change is the existential threat facing humanity today. Our time horizon to prevent drastic consequences is steadily shrinking. The effects of global warming cannot be reversed in the foreseeable future and adverse impacts can no longer be entirely avoided. Attention is increasingly turning from a single-minded focus on avoiding climate change to the twin purposes of (a) the mitigation of climate change and (b) adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change. 

This session is organized by the IFAC Industry Committee in collaboration with the IFAC Education Activities Committee, in the interests of accelerating the transition of control technology from research to deployment and of educating our community on this crucial topic. Key messages we will impart, through presentations and discussion, are:

  • The control community has numerous opportunities for addressing the challenges of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Our expertise will be crucial for creating a sustainable, livable planet.
  • We must be engaged in more than fundamental research in this area. The urgency of the problem dictates that research-as-usual is not an option. 
  • Transdisciplinary collaborations are necessary, and not just within the realm of science and engineering. 
  • Much closer partnerships among industry, academia, and government will be required. 

Session Program

16:00 – 16:05    Introductions
16:05 – 16:15    Overview of the challenge—a 2023 perspective on climate change – Pramod Khargonekar
16:15 – 16:25    Summary of opportunity areas for control – Tariq Samad
16:25 – 16:50    Perspective statements – Masayuki Fujita, Iven Mareels, Lucy Pao, and Jakob Stoustrup
16:50 – 17:10    Moderated discussion
17:10 – 17:30    Q&A with the audience

Biography of Speaker

Dr. Masayuki Fujita is Professor at the University of Tokyo, and Professor Emeritus at Tokyo Institute of Technology. Dr. Fujita was the President of SICE in 2021 and the Research Supervisor for the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST) from 2012 to 2020. His research interests include passivity-based control in robotics, robust control, and distributed energy management systems. He was the IEEE CSS Vice President of Conference Activities and a member of the CSS Board of Governors. He is a recipient of the 2008 IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology Outstanding Paper Award and the IEEE CSS Distinguished Member Award in 2021. He is a Fellow of IEEE and SICE. 



Dr. Pramod Khargonekar was Chairman of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of Michigan from 1997 to 2001 and held the position of Claude Shannon Professor of Engineering Science.  From 2001 to 2009, he was Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Florida and, until 2016, Eckis Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. After serving as Deputy Director of Technology of ARPA-E in 2012-13, he led the Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation until June 2016. Currently, he is Vice Chancellor for Research and Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine. He has received numerous honors including the IEEE Control Systems Award, IEEE Baker Prize, IEEE Control Systems Society Bode Lecture Prize, IEEE CSS Axelby Award, NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, and the AACC Eckman Award. He is a Fellow of IEEE, IFAC, and AAAS.



Dr. Iven Mareels is Executive Dean at Federation University Australia since Oct. 2022. He is also a Director of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, and non-executive Director of Rubicon Water. Previously, he was with IBM, inter alia as Director of IBM Research in Australia (Feb. 2018 – Mar. 2021); and Dean of Engineering at the University of Melbourne (2007-2018). Iven received the Ph.D. in Systems Engineering, Australian National University (1987) and the Master of Engineering (Electromechanical), Gent University (1982). He is a Commander in the Order of the Crown of Belgium, and received the Centenary Medal of Australia for contributions to engineering education and research.  He is a Fellow of The Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering; The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the International Federation of Automatic Control and Engineers Australia and a foreign fellow of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts.



Dr. Lucy Pao is Palmer Endowed Chair Professor in the Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering Department and Professor (by courtesy) in the Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department, University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder), USA. Dr. Pao is also a Fellow of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, a joint institute between the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory and CU Boulder. Her research is focused on engineering control systems, with applications ranging from atomic force microscopes to multi-megawatt wind energy systems.  She is a Fellow of IEEE and IFAC and a foreign corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Selected recognitions include the 2017 AACC Control Engineering Practice Award, the European Academy of Wind Energy’s 2017 Scientific Award, the 2019 ASME Nyquist Lecturer Award, and CU Boulder’s 2022 Outstanding Postdoc Mentor of the Year Award. She is an IFAC Technical Board member and an IFAC Pavel J. Nowacki Distinguished Lecturer.



Dr. Tariq Samad holds the W.R. Sweatt Chair in Technology Management at the Technological Leadership Institute (TLI), University of Minnesota. Prior to joining academia, Dr. Samad was Corporate Fellow at Honeywell, where he led several initiatives related to energy and the environment, including in smart grids, energy efficiency in buildings and industry, clean coal technologies, automotive engines, and carbon capture and sequestration. These initiatives addressed technology aspects as well as policy, markets, and deployment. At TLI, Dr. Samad oversees professional graduate programs that encompass technology management and innovation for current and future leaders. He is a Fellow of IEEE and IFAC and the founding chair of the IFAC Industry Committee.



Dr. Jakob Stoustrup is Professor of Automation and Control, Aalborg University, Denmark. In the past he has, e.g., acted as Chief Scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, USA, leading the Control of Complex Systems Initiative. Dr. Stoustrup has served as Chair for the IFAC Technical Committee SAFEPROCESS and the IEEE CSS Technical Committee on Smart Grids, and as member of the IFAC Technical Board. He received the Chivalric Order of the Dannebrog for his research contributions. He is a member of the European Research Council as well as the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Research Councils. He is a member of The Danish Academy of Technical Sciences, where he has acted as Board Member. In addition to his research contributions in areas ranging from robust control theory to power and energy systems, he has been involved in applications with 100+ industrial companies, including acting as CEO for two technological startups.