CDS Lecture Series 1998


John Baillieul
Boston University

John Baillieul holds a joint appointment as Professor of Aerospace/Mechanical Engineering and Professor of Manufacturing Engineering at Boston University. He also serves as Associate Dean for Academic Programs. After receiving the Ph.D.\ from Harvard University in 1975, he joined the Mathematics Department of Georgetown University. During the academic year 1983-84 he was the Vinton Hayes Visiting Scientist in Robotics at Harvard University, and in 1991 he was visiting scientist in the Dpeartment of Eletrical Engineering at MIT. Professor Baillieul has been an active member of the IEEE Control Systems Society for many years. From 1984 through 1985 he was an Associate Editor of the Transactions on Automatic Control, and in 1987 he served as Program Chairman of the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control in Los Angeles. He is past Associate Editor of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Newsletter and was a member of the editorial board of the journal Bifurcation and Chaos in Applied Sciences and Engineering. He was Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control for six years from 1992 through this past June. He has been named Fellow of the IEEE for his contributions to nonlinear control theory, robotics, and the control of complex mechanical systems. John Baillieul's research deals with robotics, the control of mechanical systems, and mathematical system theory. His PhD dissertation, completed at Harvard University under the direction of R.W. Brockett in 1975, was an early work dealing with connections between optimal control theory and what has recently been called ``sub-Riemannian geometry.'' After publishing a number of papers developing geometric methods for nonlinear optimal control problems, he turned his attention to problems in the control of nonlinear systems modeled by homogeneous polynomial differential equations. Such systems describe, for example, the controlled dynamics of a rigid body. His main controllability theorem applied the concept of finiteness embodied in the Hilbert basis theorem to develop a controllability condition which could be verified by checking the rank of an explicit finite dimensional operator. During the mid 1980's, Baillieul collaborated with M. Levi to develop a control theory for rotating elastic systems. Recently, he has written a number of papers on motion planning and control of kinematically redundant manipulators, and he has become interested in problems associated with anholonomy in planning motions for robots which have elastic joints and other components which store energy. Much of his current research is devoted to applying the methods of dynamical systems theory and classical geometric nonlinear control theory to problems of current technological interest. Applications of interest include the control of molecular dynamics, microelectromechanisms, aerospace structures, rotating shafts, turbine dynamics, etc.

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