Control Systems Predict Bright Future

Control Systems Predict Bright Future

Dr. David Copp will be sharing his vast knowledge about control systems this fall for those signing up for ECE649 "Topics in Control Systems: Convex Optimization and Optimal Control." The class will take place Monday and Wednesday, in ECE room 237 from 3:30-4:45 pm.

"Control systems are all around us, from the thermostat in your home to robots — like drones and self-driving cars — and the emerging smart electric power grid," said Copp. "Control systems often involve autonomous decision-making, and many incorporate optimization to find the best possible solution."

Copp's interest in control systems was nurtured during his graduate school days at The Center for Control, Dynamical Systems, and Computation (CCDC) at UCSB, ranked #3 in the world. Copp's PhD thesis won the CCDC Best PhD Thesis award for 2017.

Copp sees a bright future for those who learn about control systems.

"Currently, top tech companies are recruiting engineers who specialize in control systems to work on drones, self-driving cars, algorithms for advertising, biomedical devices, among many other things. Government agencies are also interested in control systems for numerous military applications, satellite routing and tracking, power and energy systems, etc," Copp said.

ECE649 will cover the fundamentals of convex optimization, which can be applied to many areas in ECE, including robotics, cyber-physical systems, embedded sensing and computing, state and parameter estimation, circuit design, numerical computation, and others. This class can be beneficial even to students in other disciplines like mechanical engineering or computer science.

"This class is suitable for students who have taken linear algebra and are interested in learning how to mathematically formulate and solve optimization problems," said Copp.

David Copp received the B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona in 2011 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2014 and 2016, respectively, where he was a member with the Center for Control, Dynamical-Systems, and Computation.

Copp currently with Sandia National Laboratories, where he works on grid integration, analysis, and control of energy storage systems. His broad research interests include control, modeling, analysis, and simulation of nonlinear and hybrid systems with applications to power and energy systems, multi-agent systems, robotics, and biomedicine.

If you have more questions about ECE649, please contact Dr Copp at

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