Distributed Control

Scuola di dottorato SIDRA 2016

Coordinator: Ruggero Carli (University of Padova)
Luca Schenato (University of Padova)


Confirmed Speakers: Ruggero Carli (Univ. of Padova)
Marcello Farina (Polytechnic Univ. of Milan)
Giuseppe Notarstefano (Univ. of Salento, Lecce)
Luca Schenato (Univ. of Padova)
Sandro Zampieri (Univ. of Padova)

School Objectives

The school has been designed with the aim to give to the PhD student a background in distributed algorithms for estimation, control and optimization for next-generation engineering systems such as Smart Cyber-Physical Systems. The main aspects that characterize distributed control systems are presented both from the theoretical and applicative perspective. Specific attention will be placed in illustrating the main mathematical tools needed in this area and in illustrating which are the most important open problems and current research avenues.

The “Introduction to distributed control” module will start by motivating the need for
distributed algorithms with respect to different objectives (control, estimation, optimization) and different application realms (sensor networks, smart energy grids, robotic networks, traffic networks, etc..), and by illustrating the challenges that have to be faced. The Introduction will then provide an overview of the classical results on distributed and decentralized control developed in the last century (70-90’s), and will touch upon the most promising approached in the last 15 years such as plug-and-play control and Distributed Model Predictive Control.

The “Consensus – Sensor Networks” module will introduce the main results available about the celebrated consensus algorithms that have been successfully used in many realms of control systems ranging from flocking to load balancing, from camera networks to sensor networks. In particular, several applications of these algorithms in the context of wireless sensor networks will be presented such as distributed sensor calibration, distributed parameter identification and distributed clock synchronization.

The “Distributed optimization algorithms” module will present some of the most popular algorithms that have been proposed recently for distributed optimization and specifically for convex distributed optimization. Particular emphasis will be placed on the mathematical machinery necessary to characterize these algorithms and on the open problems and challenges.

The “Distributed Control in Smart Grids” module will focus specifically on Smart Energy Grids. It will start by providing the necessary background and modeling necessary to understand this engineering field and to motivate the need for distributed algorithms. Different problems will be addressed in this context as transmission loss minimization, voltage support and reactive power control.

The last module “Distributed Control in Robotics” will provide the main challenges posed by multi-agent robotics and the most recent approaches and results in this field to address them such as coverage, map-building and cooperative localization.


Teaching aids and instructional materials

According to the spirit of the latest editions, the teaching style of the lectures will be a traditional one, making use as much as possible of the blackboard for derivations, complemented as appropriate by videos, simulations, and diagrams. The speakers will provide a collection of handouts as material supporting the lectures. This material will be available at least one week before the start of the School.

Course Language

The PhD School will be taught in English.


Day 1 – Thursday July 14th 2016
8:30 – 10:15 Introduction to distributed control Marcello Farina
Coffee break
11:00 – 12:45 Introduction to distributed control Marcello Farina r
15:00 – 16:30 Consensus – sensor networks Luca Schenato
Coffee break
17:00 – 18:30 Consensus – sensor networks Luca Schenato
Day 2 – Friday, July 15, 2016
8:30 – 10:15 Distributed optimization algorithms Giuseppe Notarstefano
Coffee break
11:00 – 12:45 Distributed optimization algorithms Giuseppe Notarstefano
15:00 – 16:30 Distributed control in smart grids Sandro Zampieri
Coffee break
17:00 – 18:30 Distributed control in smart grids Sandro Zampieri
Day 3 – Saturday, July 16, 2016
8:30 – 10:15 Distributed control in robotics Ruggero Carli
Coffee break
11:00 – 12:45 Distributed control in robotics Ruggero Carli

Here it is possible to download the program (pdf version).