IPAM 10th Anniversary Lecture: “Mathematics for Air Traffic Control and Other Hybrid Systems” by Claire Tomlin

November 3, 2010

The Lecture

Presented by Dr. Claire Tomlin, Professor of Electrical Engineering at UC Berkeley and Professor of Aeronautics at Stanford

The lecture will begin at 4:30 pm in Franz 1178. A reception at IPAM (adjacent to Franz) will follow each lecture.

This lecture is part of IPAM’s 10th Anniversary Conference.

Abstract: Updating the Air Traffic Control system with new algorithms, automation, and decision making tools is an important problem, yet the transportation needs in the United States today present challenges that are not answered by the kinds of control systems that have been built in the past. First, aircraft today are equipped with accurate sensors, wireless datalink for communication, and fast onboard computers, giving the Air Traffic Control system a set of sensory and computational resources that are distributed throughout the airspace. Second, there is no mechanism for the air traffic system to support the integration of autonomous pilotless aircraft, known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). A burgeoning industry, these aircraft are used in situations in which it is too dull, or too dangerous, for piloted aircraft. Third, there are strong economic drivers to bring in new, efficient methods for embedded software design for transportation systems, which enable safety critical system verification and validation in a cost effective way. To address these needs in air transportation, new kinds of control algorithms for automated decision making are needed. They will demand new ways of modeling large scale systems. They will require strict guarantees of safety and efficiency. The technological focus of the research in my lab is a new kind of mathematical model, known as a hybrid system, which combines discrete state and continuous state dynamics. We have developed new control algorithms and software, to both design controllers for hybrid systems that can guarantee system safety, and to optimize system performance. In this talk, I will present some of these algorithms, and give examples of how they have been applied to problems in Air Traffic Control.