EE239AS: Distributed Systems and Control (Spring 2014)

Description and tentative contents

Distributed control systems include large-scale physical systems, engineered multi-agent systems, as well as their interconnection in cyber-physical systems. Representative examples are the electric power grid, camera networks, and robotic sensor networks. The challenges associated with these systems arise due to their coupled, distributed, and large-scale nature, and due to limited sensing, communication, and control capabilities. This course covers modeling, analysis, and design of distributed control systems. The course is intended primarily for graduate students interested in cooperative control, distributed algorithms, and multi-agent systems.

The official course flyer can be found here and a tentative syllabus is here.


Topics covered in the course include

  • the theory of graphs (with an emphasis on algebraic and spectral graph theory)

  • basic models of multi-agent and interconnected dynamical systems

  • continuous-time and discrete-time distributed averaging algorithms (consensus)

  • coordination algorithms for rendezvous, formation, flocking, and deployment

  • state dependent graphs (proximity graphs and infinitesimal rigidity)

  • passivity as a tool for group coordination and connections to network optimization

  • applications in robotic coordination, coupled oscillators, social networks, sensor networks, electric power grids, and epidemics.

Time permitting, we can also venture into specialized topics depending on the students’ interests.


The only pre-requisite is EE 240 (or equivalent) and mathematical maturity. In case of doubt, please contact me.

If you have any questions about the course, please send me an email. I will try to respond promptly.