Voulgaris Awarded NCSA Fellowship
Voulgaris, a 17-year veteran of the AE Department, was one of five Engineering faculty members awarded fellowships. Projects from a total of nine researchers across the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign were chosen for the honor.
The fellowships are a joint effort between the Urbana campus and NCSA. Through this program, faculty can access and benefit from NCSA's high-performance computing and storage environment, cutting-edge visualization and data analysis capabilities, and opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration.
Voulgaris' research interests include robust and optimal control and estimation, structured and distributed control, networks and control, and applications of advanced control and estimation methods to engineering practice.
His project through NCSA builds on recent technological advances that have made it possible to construct complex systems and networks with a very large number of actuation and sensing devices possessing communication and computation capabilities. For example, in the case of large arrays of Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS), there are potentially tens of thousands of actuator/sensor and imbedded control sub-systems. Similarly, for systems like giant segmented telescope mirrors, several thousands of sensors and actuators are present.
However, a standing hurdle in validating the performance of such complex systems is high fidelity simulation. In particular, for the high precision systems like telescopes or microcantilever arrays on which this project concentrates, where accuracy requirements reach the nano-meter scale, it is essential to have a detailed model and simulation capability.
Voulgaris plans to use the NCSA expertise in order to obtain reliable simulation capability that can test thoroughly the distributed control system. These high fidelity simulation models will require the use of several software tools (ABAQUS, Simulink, Matlab and interfaces) in parallel performing massive computations.
For example, an estimated minimal computational ability to perform only 0.5 sec simulation for an overly simplified 1000-microcantilever array model, under closed loop and with 10 states in every subsystem, runs into hundreds of peta flops.
With more reliable models and graphic capability, the overall computational task can become a challenge met only by using the NCSA expertise. By developing this master computing framework for such applications, Voulgaris' group will be able to simulate these complex systems in closed loop, reliably analyze their performance and robustness characteristics, and provide enough tangible evidence for their successful operation.
Voulgaris received his Diploma of Mechanical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens in 1986, and the S.M. and Ph.D. degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, in 1988 and 1991, respectively. In addition to being on the AE faculty, he also holds joint appointments with the Coordinated Science Laboratory and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Voulgaris received a National Science Foundation Research Initiation Award in 1993, and an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 1995. He has been an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control and for the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control.