Ph.D. candidate wins the Best Student Paper award at IEEE CDC 2023

Feras Al Taha is celebrated for his research on distributionally robust control of stochastic dynamical systems.

Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD Candidate Feras Al Taha was awarded the Best Student Paper Award at the 2023 IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC) for his paper titled “A Distributionally Robust Approach to Regret Optimal Control using the Wasserstein Distance”. According to the IEEE Control Systems Society, the Best Student Paper Award “recognizes excellence in a single conference paper based on its originality, clarity and potential impact on practical applications or theoretical foundations of control.”

Co-authored with faculty advisor Eilyan Bitar, this paper introduces a novel framework for optimal control of stochastic dynamical systems where the probability distribution governing the stochastic disturbances acting on these systems is itself uncertain. Al Taha explains, "the proposed controllers aim to make dynamical systems more resilient to unpredictable changes in their surrounding environments, while ensuring they perform well across a wide range of scenarios.” In practical terms, this research will help design control systems that can handle real-world uncertainties more effectively, which is critical to a wide variety of applications ranging from autonomous vehicles to energy systems. 

“I’m excited about Feras's achievement. It's not only a recognition of his hard work and creativity in tackling challenging control-theoretic problems, but also a reflection of his passion for control systems and the practical applications that have guided his research," said Bitar. 

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