Tutorial Sessions

The main purpose of the Industry and Applications Tutorial Sessions at the American Control Conference is outreach to industry to share state-of‐the‐art control approaches and theory in real‐world engineering applications and practice to our controls community at large. You can expect your audience to be conference participants from academia, government and industry as well as students of control.

Contributions mostly include industry and government participants to provide maximum exposure to commercial and governmental application of control theory and techniques, but tutorial sessions organized by academia is also encouraged if it offers and demonstrates useful techniques and methods towards practical applications of control.

Tutorial sessions attempt to engage industry experienced, practicing control engineers to introduce control applications in areas that others may not even be aware of; a valuable and useful experience for academia, students and other industry participants.  Contributors have the opportunity to help ‘bridge the gap’ so often referred to between the theory academics offer and the actual practice in industry by introducing new methods and techniques or by filling in details that academic coursework may have overlooked.


Paperplaza is now open for proposal, paper and abstract submissions

Submit Now!

Bookmark this link and consider this tip: Upload your Tutorial session proposal and paper as early as possible, even if it’s not done. You are allowed to reload your proposal, paper and abstracts up to the deadline.

Even if your work is not 100% complete you can go through the submission process ahead of time to make sure everything is working OK, and to ask questions if you have any problems. That way you’re not having to struggle at the last minute with administrative issues. Then at your leisure, polish your work, and upload as many times as needed - up to submission deadline.

A “Getting Started, Manual for Authors” including all the information required for preparing is located here: http://css.paperplaza.net/conferences/manuals/authorgetstarted.pdf

Important Dates

L-CSS with ACC Option Manuscript Submission Deadline

September 14, 2020

ACC Manuscript Submission Deadline

September 28, 2020

Acceptance/Rejection Notice

January 24, 2021

Final Manuscript Submission Deadline

March 22, 2021

How to prepare your proposal?

The organizer can be from industry, government or academia. They do not necessarily need to be the person delivering the main tutorial talk, but they are responsible for planning session structure, identifying, recruiting and managing other supporting speakers, and submitting the session proposal. For tutorial sessions we encourage the collaboration of industry or government with academia to help bridge the theory-practice gap.

The Tutorial Session Proposal need only be one to two pages in length. It must include the Tutorial Session Title and clearly detail the purpose and brief description of the tutorial content. The proposal must include the name of the organizer(s), the name of the main tutorial speaker, the supporting speakers, their professional affiliations, the titles of their talks and abstracts. The proposal should state whether the supporting speakers are submitting a paper or simply an abstract. For supporting speakers at least an abstract is required to represent their talk.

While the organizer is allowed to vary structure, tutorial sessions typically begin with the main tutorial talk which comprehensively covers the topic. The main talk is usually longer, typically 40 to 60 minutes.  The main tutorial is followed by several shorter supporting talks, 20 minutes in length addressing more specific, detailed areas of the topic. The session total duration is 2 hours. So planning for the number of speakers to recruit needs to keep this in mind. Some sessions have used the final time slots for panels that further discuss the topic between speakers and/or take questions from the audience. In any event, planning should include some time for questions.

While we encourage all presenters of the tutorial session to submit a paper for their talk, only the main tutorial paper is required. Supporting speakers must at least submit an abstract for their talk. The main tutorial paper, supporting papers or abstracts for the Tutorial Session must all be submitted at the same time the session proposal is submitted, before the Initial Manuscript Submission deadline. All papers submitted will undergo peer review by the program committee, so papers must be in ‘good shape’ on the date of initial submission.

All tutorial papers (main and supporting papers) are permitted to contain more pages than the regular conference paper page limit and are limited to 18 pages without additional page charges. The main tutorial paper in particular should be ‘substantial’ in size and content since it generally accounts for the main talk which is typically longer as noted above. 18 pages has been chosen as the limit for two reasons: (1) it’s generally difficult to recruit peer reviews if the papers are too long and (2) Paperplaza is currently programmed for this limit. If for any reason more than 18 pages is required please contact the VC of Industry and Applications by email to explain your needs. If supporting speakers intend to submit papers rather than abstracts they must submit their papers for review by the initial submission deadline. If supporting speakers submit only abstracts on the initial submission, papers on the final submission are not allowed. All papers submitted in the Tutorial Session should be presented in standard ACC format (see “Getting Started, Manual for Authors” link below), and if accepted will be published in the conference proceedings.

Lastly, the American Control Conference is organized by the American Automatic Control Council (AACC), the U.S. National Member of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC). These organizations and the conference are non-profit and entirely operated by volunteers. Therefore to provide for both an affordable and high quality event for all participants, we are by policy not able to provide conference tutorial session speakers any honorariums or reimbursement for travel or hotel expenses. We also require that all speakers of the tutorial session register for the conference which requires a payment at the time of paper submissions. We realize this may be an issue for some, and can only hope that organizers are able to persuade their companies to provide the time and financial support required for organizers and supporting speakers to participate.  We also understand some companies may be reluctant to publish their technical know-how, clearly for competitive reasons. But my advice on these matters is for authors is to work from prior published materials including invention disclosures your company may have filed with patent offices. We do not expect the company to disclose any trade secrets. Authors will be required to sign an online release assigning the rights to publish all papers submitted for publication, so you should work with your management and legal authorities at the beginning to gain support and approvals. I believe there is significant value in organizing these sessions and authoring published works. Your published works help establish you as a leader in your field, it helps to promote the company brand above its competitors, and it introduces your application area, problems to academics that may help point the way to new solutions. I can only hope these terms and conditions do not dissuade your decision to participate.

Organizer: Sharon Di (Columbia University)
Time: May 25, 2021, Tuesday 10:15-12:15 AM CDT

The objective of this tutorial is to identify gaps and challenges arising from connected and automated vehicles (CAV) controls when CAVs have to drive alongside humans for the next few decades or so. Although autonomous driving technologies are promised to improve traffic safety and efficiency, the presence of human actors such as drivers, pedestrians, cyclists could jeopardize and even compromise the anticipated performances of CAVs. It is urgent to develop knowledge, models, and control methods to accommodate such uncertainty and instability brought forth by various human actors on public roads. Through this tutorial workshop, we aim to bring experts from both academia and industry who will brainstorm potential solutions and lay out a feasible and collaborative path to the ultimate success of full connectivity and autonomy.

One focal point of the discussion is how existing control models, methods, and algorithms should be modified to accommodate challenges induced by humans. Discussions will be contingent upon vehicle automation levels, from Level 1 (Driver assistance) to Level 5 (Full automation), as well as communication technologies, including Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC, recommended by US DOT) and 5G/wireless communication. Industry and academia may prioritize different technologies while developing understanding and controls for CAVs. This tutorial aims to achieve a convergent discussion.


Title: Automated Driving in Mixed Traffic
Authors: Huei Peng (Professor at University of Michigan) & Shaobing Xu (Assistant Research Scientist at University of Michigan)
Time: 10:15-11:15 AM EST

In this talk, we will cover four topics: path planning, motion control, prediction of other driver's behavior, and the concept of driving with roadmanship. Key motion control challenges include high time delay and tight road curvature. A delay-and-dynamics-aware preview control algorithm will be presented, which generates closed-form steering compensation for the delay and feedforward steering for future path curvatures in an integrated fashion. For motion planning, we will present a scalable algorithm stack that adapts to diverse traffic scenarios, which resolves the planning problem with bounded computing time and near-optimality. Finally, two concepts related to predicting other vehicles' future motions and plan for the AV not only to drive safely, but also with good roadmanship will be explained. Deployments and experiments using the Mcity self-driving car fleet will be presented.

Title: Traffic Flow Smoothing at Scale
Authors: Daniel Work (Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University)
Time: 11:15-11:35 AM EST

The majority of the best-selling cars in the US are now available with SAE level-one automated driving features such as adaptive cruise control. As the penetration rate of these vehicles grows on the roadways, it is now possible to consider controlling the bulk human-piloted traffic flow by carefully designing these driver-assist features. This talk will discuss modeling, simulation, and field demonstration advancements that are needed to control automated vehicles to stabilize traffic flow at scale. Prior work on a closed course established that automated vehicles can eliminate human-generated phantom traffic jams that seemingly occur without cause, reducing fuel consumption by up to 40%. The talk will highlight the research challenges and progress towards demonstrating traffic flow smoothing with a fleet of connected and automated vehicles on the I-24 Smart Corridor in Tennessee, as part of the CIRCLES Consortium.

Title: Learning and Influencing Routing Preferences on Mixed-Autonomy Traffic Networks
Authors: Dorsa Sadigh (Assistant Professor at Stanford)
Time: 11:35-11:55 AM EST

Panel Discussion
12:00-12:15 PM EST


The planned schedule is as follows: 


50 min talk + 10min Q&A

Prof. Huei Peng + Dr. Shaobing Xu


20 min talk + ~2min Q&A

Prof. Dan Work


20 min talk + ~2min Q&A

Prof. Dorsa Sadigh


Panel discussion



Organizer: Bart Doekemeijer, Christopher Bay, Andrew Scholbrock, Paul Fleming (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)Jan-Willem van Wingerden (Delft University of Technology)
Time: May 27, 2021, Thursday, 10:15-12:15 AM CDT

The tutorial session will focus towards lower technology readiness level ideas and novel contributions on the topic of wind farm control. First, the tutorial talk will detail modern innovations in wind farm control that are currently being investigated, such as helical induction control and wind farm control in floating offshore wind turbines. Additionally, in continuation of the speakers’ recent publication an expert elicitation on wind farm control, main findings of a recent survey among industry and academia experts inquiring the main challenges in the adoption of wind farm control are presented.


Title: Modern Innovations And Current Bottlenecks In The Adoption Of Wind Farm Control
Authors: J. W. van Wingerden, P. A. Fleming, B. M. Doekemeijer
Time: 10:15-11:15 AM EST

This tutorial talk will detail modern innovations in wind farm control that are currently being investigated, such as dynamic induction control, helical induction control, wind farm control in floating offshore wind turbines, and turbine reposition to minimize wake interaction in floating wind farms. Furthermore, in continuation of the authors’ recent publication an expert elicitation on wind farm control, the authors will outline the main findings of their survey among industry and academia experts inquiring for the main challenges in the adoption of wind farm control.

Title: On The Effectiveness Of One-Sided Wake Steering – A Wind Tunnel Study With Dynamic Direction Changes
Authors: F. Campagnolo, C. L. Bottasso
Time: 11:15-11:35 AM EST

In recent years, the interest of the scientific community has been directed to the development of cooperative control strategies for wind farms, with the goal of increasing power capture, of extending their life and providing additional services to improve their operation. Wake steering appears to be one of the most promising strategies. Using this technique, upstream wind turbines are intentionally misaligned with respect to the ambient wind direction, which results in a lateral displacement of the wake path. Results indicate that the wind farm power gains (dPn,WF) achieved by one-sided wake-steering are significantly lower that the ones obtained by misaligning the turbines both for positive and negative angles. In addition, one-sided wake steering also seems to have little beneficial effects on fatigue loads on the rotating shaft. In fact, almost no reduction is observed in the extra loading for the upstream machine, and a marked reduction in the beneficial effects on the DELs at the downstream turbines is achieved.

Title: Design Of Wind Farms For Maximizing Value To The Electricity System
Author: K. Dykes
Time: 11:35-11:55 AM EST

Design and operational objectives for future wind farms must are shifting from levelized cost of energy (LCOE) to account for system value and overall project profitability for farms participating actively in electricity markets. ”Beyond LCOE” objectives that account for system value are applied here in multi-objective optimization case studies in wind farm layout design – including operational strategy (e.g. wind farm control strategies for derating). The case studies result in a Pareto front of designs that maximize value but with a trade-off to LCOE and vice versa.

Title: Power maximization in floating offshore wind farms via real-time platform repositioning
Authors: A. C. Kheirabadi, R. Nagamune
Time: 11:55-12:15 AM EST

This tutorial paper will outline methods and sample results from our research on power maximization in floating offshore wind farms. The control approach involves using the aerodynamic force acting on each wind turbine rotor to reposition the floating platforms in real-time. The objective is to minimize the overlap areas between adjacent rotors, while distributed economic model predictive control (DEMPC) is used to automate this process. Our paper uses of our recently developed low-fidelity dynamic simulation tool for floating offshore wind farms, along with new DEMPC theory that we developed specifically for the non-convex floating wind farm control problem. Finally, neural networks are used to estimate the dynamic behaviour of floating wind turbines. These neural networks are tuned using simulation data and are used to speed up the optimization procedure in DEMPC. Results demonstrate that the real-time relocation of the floating platforms along with the effects of this motion on dynamic power production.

Organizers: Aranya Chakrabortty (National Science Foundation)
Time: May 28, Friday, 10:15-12:15 AM CDT

The purpose of the tutorial session is to review recent accomplishments and emerging opportunities in control systems from the perspective of U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award recipients. The CAREER program is the most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty who have potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. The CAREER awardees will discuss the latest breakthrough research in their respective field and key research opportunities in systems and control.


Title: Differential Privacy in Feedback Systems
Presenter: Matthew Hale (Univ. of Florida)
Time: 10:15-10:35 AM CDT

Recent developments in cyber-physical systems and the Internet of Things take a data-driven approach to control and feedback. When data belongs to users, it can reveal sensitive details of their personal lives, and thus the engineering need for data is at odds with individuals' desire to conceal it. Recently, differential privacy has emerged as a formalism that can simultaneously safeguard data and preserve its usefulness, though substantial efforts are still required to bring its protections to control systems while ensuring that systems continue to perform well. This talk will review recent breakthroughs on differential privacy in LQ control and policy synthesis for MDPs, along with future research directions and outstanding questions in private control.

Title: Adaptive Reinforcement-Learnings
Presenter: Siddhartha Banerjee (Cornell)
Time: 10:35-10:55 AM CDT

Reinforcement learning (RL) is a natural paradigm for sequential decision-making which has enjoyed much recent success; however most state-of-the-art RL algorithms have high data/memory/energy requirements, which make them impractical for many applications (in particular, in real-time control). I will describe a recent line of work, where we develop new RL algorithms based on a novel data-driven adaptive discretization approach. Our algorithms are based on a unified framework for discretizing the state-action space in a way which zooms into promising regions (either in terms of large immediate rewards, or leading to high future rewards). Our techniques apply to both model-free and model-based RL paradigms, and in both cases, lead to policies with performance guarantees that adapt to the underlying problem complexity. Empirically, our algorithms sample more efficiently and require much less memory and computation at every iteration, and yet, perform as well as the state-of-the-art. (Joint work with Sean Sinclair and Christina Yu).

Title: Roles of Directed Information in Networked Control Systems Theory and Beyond
Presenter: Takashi Tanaka (UT Austin)
Time: 10:55-11:15 AM CDT

Directed information, an information-theoretic concept broadly used for causality analysis, provides a rigorous measure of “information flow” in networked systems. In networked control systems theory, directed information can be used to quantify the feedback data rate and to derive a fundamental limitation of control-communication co-design. In this presentation, we summarize prominent roles of directed information in systems and control, ongoing research efforts toward the unification of control and information theory, and existing challenges. We also discuss emerging applications of directed information beyond the conventional scope of networked control systems theory, such as strategic perception and task-dependent information processing for autonomous agents in dynamical environments.

Title: Privacy preserving control and optimization for cyber-physical systems
Presenter: Minghui Zhu (Pennsylvania State University)
Time: 11:15-11:35 AM CDT

Cyber-physical systems (CPSs) consist of a large number of geographically dispersed entities and distributed data sharing is necessary to achieve network-wide goals. However, distributed data sharing raises the significant concern that private information of legitimate entities could be leaked to unauthorized entities. The privacy issues of CPSs have been exposed in various areas; e.g., occupancy-based heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) control systems, urban sensing networks, smart meters and drones. Most existing privacy preserving techniques solely focus on the cyber space but ignore the physical world. Hence, they alone may not be adequate to ensure CPS privacy.

In this talk, we will discuss how to leverage control theory to complement existing privacy preserving techniques. More specifically, we will consider the problem that a data requester demands a group of agents to release real-time outputs of a linear dynamic network, and, on the other hand, the agents aim to prevent the data requester from inferring their private information using the released data. We will present a scheme of adding feedback perturbations into system inputs and outputs such that (i) network privacy is protected; (ii) system utilities; e.g., controllability, are maintained; and (iii) costs induced by the perturbations are minimized. A major merit of our perturbation scheme is that the added perturbations are diminishing as the system approaches the origin. The efficacy of the proposed technique is verified by a case study on an HVAC system.

Title: NSF Programs in Control, Robotics, Smart-Grid, and Cyber-Physical Systems
Presenter: Aranya Chakrabortty (National Science Foundation)
Time: 11:35-11:55 AM CDT

The goal of this talk is to provide an update on National Science Foundation (NSF) funding opportunities in the area of Dynamic Systems, Control and Networked Systems research and education. Research projects in power systems with renewable energy integration, power electronics, and open-access testbeds will be presented. The presentation will include NSF programs in Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), and National Robotics Initiative. The CPS program brings together researchers from computations, communications, and control disciplines to address important engineering problems. The presentation will include recent activities at NSF in Smart and Connected Communities.