Wednesday 30 November 17:30 - 18:30

Virtual event/Lecture Theatre 200, City and Guilds Building (dependent on ticket type)
Imperial College London


Making decisions with known unknowns.

Science & Technology

Join Professor Eric Kerrigan from the Department of Electric and Electronic Engineering for his Imperial Inaugural.


Every second, humans and machines are making difficult decisions. Should I buy some energy now or wait till next week? Should the car speed up or slow down? These decisions are difficult because there is some form of uncertainty that needs to be considered.

This brings us to the big question: If I know what I know and what I don’t know, what is the best course of action to take? The answer, for both humans and machines, can be obtained in a systematic way by combining powerful tools from the areas of control engineering and mathematical optimization. Control engineering is the process of designing feedback systems to provide guarantees on the behaviour of a dynamical system in the presence of uncertainties, such as an aeroplane subject to wind gusts. Optimization methods, on the other hand, allow one to compute the best strategy to satisfy given design specifications, such as the route and minimum fuel needed to fly to a destination.β€―β€―

β€―Eric Kerrigan is Professor of Control and Optimization at Imperial College London, where he looks at different interesting ways in which control and optimization complement each other. In his inaugural lecture he will highlight how, by combining these two areas, he has developed numerical methods for the computation of safe and efficient feedback strategies. In particular, he will make the case for the use of suitable mathematical models not just of what is known, but also of what is not known.β€―


Eric Kerrigan is Professor of Control and Optimization at Imperial College London, and is lucky to have an appointment in both the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Department of Aeronautics. His research focuses on the design of efficient numerical methods and computing architectures for solving optimal control and estimation problems in real-time, with applications in the design of aerospace, renewable energy, and information systems.

He graduated with a BSc(Eng) in Electrical Engineering from the University of Cape Town in 1996, and a PhD in Control Engineering from the University of Cambridge in 2001. He was a Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge from 2001 and has been at Imperial College since 2006. He was a Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow from 2002 to 2007. Prof. Kerrigan has been the chair of the UK Automatic Control Council, and is currently on the IEEE Control Systems Society Board of Governors and is Chair of the IFAC Technical Committee on Optimal Control. He is a Senior Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Control System Technology and an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control and European Journal of Control.


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