Research Seminar on Applied Mathematics Analysis, Numerics and Computing

November 30, 2023 @ 17h00

Title: Exact increment formulas for dynamic optimization: From classical to mean-field control problems
Location: FEUP – DEEC – room i-105
Speakers: M. Staritsyn and R. Chertovskih (SYSTEC/ARISE)

In the classical Calculus of Variations, there is a formula that allows one to express the difference between two values of the payoff functional (cost increment) as an integral of a certain function. This formula is known as the Weierstrass formula, and the integral is called the invariant Hilbert integral. It turns out that the same can be done (in different ways) for optimal control problems, yielding exact representations of the cost increment, i.e., increment formulas devoid of residual terms. These formulas allow us, in turn, to develop new necessary optimality conditions, not equivalent to the paradigmatic Pontryagin maximum principle, and descent algorithms without free parameters. Our talk will start with an explosion of some basic ideas behind the promoted approach for the classical nonlinear optimal control of ODEs. Next, we will show how similar results can be developed for more complex problems in the space of probability measures, when the dynamics are represented by the continuity/Fokker-Planck-Kolmogorov equations. In the final part, we will discuss the numerical aspects of the algorithm, and demonstrate its application to several prominent optimization tasks such as optimal control of Bloch equations and synchronization of neural ensembles

SYSTEC Researchers Proposal Approved for FCT Funding

Proposal by the SYSTEC researchers entitled “Speech recognition for the sound reconstructed using a bio-inspired geometric model” has been approved by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia in the framework of the Call on Advanced Computing Projects: Artificial Intelligence in Cloud (2nd edition), more info here. Credits on the Google Cloud Platform equivalent to USD 74.100 have been granted. The call was intended to support research projects in Natural Language Processing, Ethics in artificial intelligence and other scientific areas where the Google Cloud Platform facilities in artificial intelligence and data analysis algorithms are useful. The granted computational resources will be used at the SYSTEC to solve computationally demanding problems involving machine learning methods in the framework of an international collaboration with French Universities. The computational project will be executed under coordination by the Principal Investigator, Dr. Roman Chertovskih and Co-Principal Investigator, Dr. Rui Jorge Pereira Gonçalves.

SYSTEC Talks: Lecture with Professor Thor Fossen from NTNU

Title: Line-of-Sight Guidance Laws for 2-D and 3-D Path Following of Aircraft and Marine Craft
Speaker: Thor I. Fossen, Department of Engineering Cybernetics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) 

Date: September 25, 2023
Time: 2 pm
Location: FEUP – Room B023

Abstract: Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), and uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) rely heavily on guidance systems to accomplish desired motion control scenarios such as path following and path tracking. The AUV and UAV control objective for path-following is to follow a predefined path in 3-D. For ships and USVs, it is common to specify a 2-D desired planar path parametrized by straight lines and circle segments (Dubins path). A popular and effective way to achieve convergence to the desired path is to implement a look-ahead line-of-sight (LOS) guidance law mimicking an experienced navigator. In this context, the LOS guidance law is derived from a 3-D amplitude-phase representation of the North-East-Down differential equations using Lyapunov stability theory. Alternatively, the vehicle’s position can be modeled as an ideal particle, which can be forced to converge and follow a desired geometrical path by controlling the vehicle’s azimuth and elevation angles. This is referred to as guidance-based path following. The main advantages of LOS guidance laws over Serret-Frenet moving particle methods are simplicity and a small computational footprint. For the LOS guidance laws, uniform semiglobal exponential stability (USGES) can be proven using Lyapunov stability theory. Exponential stability guarantees strong convergence and robustness properties to perturbations. Vehicle path-following control systems can be implemented using commercial heading and altitude/depth autopilots in series with the LOS guidance laws. This presentation provides an overview of LOS guidance laws for 2-D and 3-D path following, including recent results on integral LOS (ILOS) and adaptive LOS (ALOS). The ILOS and ALOS guidance laws compensate for drift forces due to wind, waves, and ocean currents in heading autopilots. Case studies involving marine craft exposed to stochastic ocean currents illustrate the performance of the guidance laws.

Biography: Thor I. Fossen is a professor of guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) at the Department of Engineering Cybernetics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim. He received an M.Sc. in Marine Technology in 1987 and a Ph.D. in Engineering Cybernetics in 1991. Besides cybernetics, Fossen’s field of research is aerospace engineering and marine technology. This includes GNC systems for uncrewed vehicles (AUV, UAV, USV), robotics, vehicle dynamics, and inertial navigation systems. He has been a Fulbright scholar in flight control at the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics of the University of Washington, Seattle. Fossen is the author of the Wiley textbook Handbook of Marine Craft Hydrodynamics and Motion Control (2021). He is one of the co-founders and former Vice President of R&D of the company Marine Cybernetics, which DNV acquired in 2012. He is also a co-founder of ScoutDI (2017), which develops drone-based systems for fully digitalized inspections of industrial confined spaces. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers elevated him to IEEE Fellow in 2016. He received the Automatica Prize Paper Award in 2002 and the Arch T. Colwell Merit Award in 2008 at the SAE World Congress. He was elected to the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences (1998) and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (2022).

[Limited spots available based on room capacity]

Digital Transformation and Training in the Era of Industry 5.0

On September 28th, at 4:30 pm, an information session on the Self-Made initiative, financed by EIT-Manufacturing, will take place in the AIDA CCI Auditorium, where the Self-Made Program will be presented. Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto will moderate the event, focusing on the up-skilling and re-skilling of professionals, considering the new skills that they must acquire, motivated by the implementation of technological innovations associated with the digital transformation of companies in the Industry 4.0 paradigm.

  • Target group:
    Representatives of industrial Portuguese SMEs that are investing in the industrial transformation of their processes;
  • Portuguese professionals interested in learning about the latest developments in digitalization and its applications in industry and who want to develop the skills and competencies necessary to design, develop and operate Cyber-Physical Systems, and operate Digital Twins on Edge devices;
  • Portuguese professionals working in the manufacturing industry who are interested in taking advantage of digitalization to improve production processes and optimize operations.

Free participation, but registration is required here.

SYSTEC Researcher Receive NSF Early Career Awards

Assistant Professors in the Department of Computer Science (University of Colorado), Francisco R. Ortega and Vinayak Prabhu (SYSTEC Research), have been awarded a combined total of $1.13 million from the prestigious National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program.

The CAREER Award recognizes early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. The award funds a 5-year research project with an educational component and supports faculty in building a firm career foundation.


Source: University of Colorado News

Check out our Spin-offs

You can check two videos by FEUPtv about spin-off companies born in SYSTEC. AddVolt “provide clean energy solutions to transportation, turning every vehicle smarter and more sustainable by reducing the diesel consumption, CO2 emissions, noise and maintenance cost”, and  ConnetRobotics “offers drone automation services, plus transport systems using drones”. The videos are available in our spin-offs section.


On June 9th, 2023 SYSTEC Labs opened its doors to welcome over 35 high school students from ESCOLA SECUNDÁRIA DA MAIA. The purpose was to introduce them to the research activities conducted at LSCOE, C2SR, DIGI2, and LEMR Labs. Students had the opportunity to visualize various experiments and were exposed to exciting research fields such as robotics, industrial automation and control systems, power electronics, and AI applied to engineering problems. The visit provided them with valuable insights and hands-on experience, fostering their interest in science and technology.

Additionally, to continue this educational initiative, additional activities are being organized, with the highlight being the 4th edition of the SYSTEC Summer School, scheduled to take place during the month of September.

Open Call: 3 Post-Doctoral Research Scholarship

Description: An open call is currently underway for the awarding of 3 (three) Post-Doctoral Research Scholarships, under the Programmatic Funding – UIDP/00147/2020 of the Research Unit – Systems and Technologies Center – SYSTEC – funded by national funds through FCT/MCTES (PIDDAC).

Scientific Area: IMathematics, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, or related fields.

Open Call: 1 Post-Doctoral Research Scholarship

Description: An open call is currently underway for the awarding of 1 (one) Post-Doctoral Research Scholarship under the Base Funding – UIDB/00147/2020 of the Research Unit – Systems and Technologies Center – SYSTEC – funded by national funds through FCT/MCTES (PIDDAC).

Scientific Area: Informatics/Computer Engineering or related fields.