Invited Sessions

IS1- “Intelligent and Energy-efficient Edge Computing Systems” – Organizers: Jing Bi, Haitao Yuan, Meng Chu Zhou – Invited Session Code: 7f365

Smart mobility devices (SMDs) have been gaining enormous attentions with current mobile technologies. SMDs accelerate the emergence of Internet of Things (IoTs) and drastically trigger a big revolution and rapid development of computationally intensive mobile applications. The imbalance and gap between resource-constrained devices and complex compute-intensive applications is increasingly becoming a bottleneck for enabling user-specified quality of experience, and therefore, may hinder the development of mobility applications. Supported by embedded sensors and on-device cameras, mobile applications evolve with several new features, are increasingly developed. On the other hand, the number of connected IoT devices is expected to reach over 20 billion by 2020. They range from basic sensor nodes that log and report the data for cloud processing, to the ones in the edge, which are capable of processing and analyzing the incoming information. Machine learning, and in particular deep learning, is a defacto processing paradigm for intelligently processing immense amount of data. The limited available energy and low computing capabilities make it challenging to support data analysis applications in a real-time manner. The session presents efficient scientific and engineering solutions, which address the challenges and opportunities for SMDs and provide visions for future research and development. The core topic of this session will bridge the gap from resource-constrained devices to complex compute-intensive applications. Specifically, the technologies related to intelligent and energy-efficient edge computing systems are encouraged. In addition, researches on IoTs, big data analysis, edge computing, cloud computing, and cyber-physical systems are also highly related.

IS2 – “Intelligent Building Energy Management for next-generation Energy Grids” – Organizers: Alessandra Parisio, Luca Schenato – Invited Session Code: 8vu3q

The next-generation energy grid and urban environment need to be smart and sustainable to deal with the growing energy demand and achieve environmental goals. In this context, the role of buildings is crucial. A building is a complex dynamical system; it comprises a large number of increasingly “active” energy subsystems, which can generate, compute and communicate, and where different energy sectors can interact. Significant research is yet to be devoted to buildings, due to the large share of energy they use and the fact that they can increasingly integrate not just inelastic loads, but also distributed generation, storage resources and flexible loads. It is now essential targeting the design and the implementation of building energy management schemes extended both in terms of assets under control, e.g., renewable energy sources (RES) and storage systems, and functions (ancillary services). This calls for new methods and algorithms to optimize the system performance and to manage buildings through novel flexibility optimization strategies and synergies between electricity and heat energy systems, which can counteract the intermittency of RES. This aspect, and the fact that data-driven/learning-based predictive building energy management systems are drawing more and more attention, lead to the necessity to account also for computational and privacy issues, as well as for partial observability and limited communication. This invited session will bring together researchers working on the aforementioned challenges and it will allow them sharing and exchanging research results about methodological and implementation issues of energy management for intelligent building operation. The invited session will provide an overview of the directions and results in this area.

IS3 – “Wearables to face pandemics: call to action” – Organizers: Raffaele Gravina, Carlo Massaroni, Giancarlo Fortino, Edmund Seto, Ye Li – Invited Session Code: 68ghe

The COVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise, highlighting weakness of healthcare systems in contain the diffusion of the virus. Because the traditional reactive healthcare approach is not scalable up to pandemic scenarios and inexorably brings more and more patients to healthcare facilities, one of the key aspects would be the ability to promptly identify, trace and, even more ambitious, reveal the onset of the viral infection before the appearance of symptoms to isolate an infected individuals before he/she can further spread the disease. As a matter of facts, where the pandemic has been well kept under control, a pivotal role was played by quick and accurate diagnosis methods coupled with efficient and precise contact tracing technologies. The advances of body sensor networks, the massive diffusion of smart wearable sensing and computing, and the availability of machine learning and Big Data analytics platforms are key enablers of truly real-time remote monitoring, early symptoms screening, contact tracing, quarantine/self-isolation monitoring, and clinical management. The main objective of this special session is to provide a medium for researchers and practitioners to present their research findings related to the synergy among bio-compatible sensor development, BSN, Edge/Cloud computing infrastructure, AI/Machine Learning, and human factors to leverage new and more effective technologies to promptly identify, track at fine-grain and possibly contain pandemics.

IS4 – “Human-centered Control System Technology” – Organizers: Hui Yu, Gina Tang, Jiande Sun – Invited Session Code: 1682r

In recent years, as artificial intelligence (AI) technologies enter our lives at an increasing pace, there is a greater need for modern smart systems to work synergistically with humans. Control systems have traditionally been a crucial component in industrial systems. Nowadays, control systems have also an increasing impact on the further development of non-industrial sectors such as automated driving, robotics and smart healthcare. Human-machine interaction is at the center of the development of control systems within these domains. Generally, human users interact with the control system through their conscious engagement. The control system needs to comprehend the types of human engagement during the interaction to adjust their behaviors and decisions accordingly. To implement this, it is needed to reverse the conventional design of control systems and utilize the human-centered design methodology to improve human-machine interaction rather than forcing users to adapt. The aim of this special session is to present the state-of-the-art results of methods and applications of human-centered control system technologies and to get together well-known and potential researchers in this area, from both the academy and industry. This Special Session mainly focuses on the design and implementation of the control system, from a “human-centered” point of view, so as to integrate the human behavioral/cognitive/physiological characteristic in control systems.

IS5 – “Systems and Control Insight into Modeling, Predicting, and Controlling COVID-19” – Organizer: Lorenzo Zino – Invited Session Code: edy32

Since its inception in December 2019, COVID-19 has rapidly grown from a local outbreak to a worldwide pandemic. In response to this global health crisis, we observed an unprecedented mobilization of the scientific community. Researchers from different fields and with diverse backgrounds are collaborating toward understanding the transmission mechanisms, designing and assessing non-pharmaceutical intervention policies to mitigate its spread, and developing effective vaccines. Within this joint effort, the systems and control community is playing a forefront role in providing modeling and control insight, which has revealed key in assisting public health authorities, by highlighting the epidemic risk, predicting its spatial and temporal spread, indicating limitations of the interventions enacted, suggesting optimal control policies and —in view of the current and future challenges— comparing different vaccination strategies. To this aim, a wide range of technical tools from the systems and control literature are leveraged. System-theoretic techniques are used to describe the disease progression by means of equations, possibly on network structures, which are theoretically analyzed and simulated to predict the evolution of the pandemic. Estimation algorithms are designed to reconstruct the system state from limited testing data. Distributed controllers and optimal control techniques are adopted to help design intervention policies. This session seeks to provide a showcase for the cutting edge research on modeling and control of COVID-19. Hence, the seven papers have been selected to highlight different approaches, thereby offering a comprehensive overview of the effort of the systems and control community in the fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

IS6 – “Systems and Control in Microfluidics for Chemical and Biological Applications” – Orgenizers: Maide Bucolo, Lucien Baldas, Gian Luca Morini – Invited Session Code: v81mx

During the last decades biomedical and chemical devices have been deeply transformed by the advance in microfluidics science and technology. Nowadays, it is well-known the potential of miniaturization on the improvement of the performance of devices for fluid handling, with or without heat and mass transfer. Lab-on-a-chip platforms able to shift toward fast and low-cost samples analysis are very popular in pharmaceutical, biomedical and environmental contexts. The manipulation of gas and liquid flows, with or without dispersed phases, occurs by means of a network of miniaturized channels in which the transport phenomena are enhanced, that permits to develop embedded portable and disposable micro-systems for the analysis of biological and chemical samples. However, to fully exploit the high potential of microfluidics technology, particularly in the field of chemical and biological processes, all the measurement, detection and control capabilities available at the macro-scale need nowadays to be replicated at the micro-scale, maintaining the same functionalities and reliability. Fundamental requirements are a complete understanding of the phenomena governing the fluids and particles motions at the micro-scale together with the miniaturization and integration of the technologies related to mechanics, optics, electronics, fluidics and the development suitable control strategies. This session will discuss the most recent issues and trends in this context. The first three contributions will present approaches in the investigation of microfluidics phenomena, then five contributions will show micro-devices and platforms, realized by different technologies, for microfluidics applications, and the last two contributions will illustrate strategies in microfluidic process control.

IS7 – “Smart transportation and logistics systems” – Organizers: Graziana Cavone, Cecilia Pasquale, Bart De Schutter – Invited Session Code: 3qypy

The transport sector is experiencing a continuous increase in transportation demand both of freight and passengers. Consequently, the transport and the logistics systems are becoming even more complex and interdependent. Nevertheless, the implementation of novel technologies may allow the development of smart transportation systems and smart logistics systems that can be more adaptable, flexible, and proactive. This invited session focuses on emerging models, methods, and techniques for the development of smart transportation and logistics systems. In effect, although a large variety of problems have been investigated in the related field, many issues are still open that regard, but are not limited to, the real-time routing and re-routing of both public and private transport, the on-line control of the traffic, the autonomous driving and the control and coordination of fleets of vehicles, the optimal control of modalities combination and freight transport. This invited session aims at advancing the development of novel transportation systems, including, e.g., the definition of a predictive control technique for connected and automated vehicles, the definition and evaluation of novel logistics management systems to support the decision-making process in the related sectors, the integration of ICT tools in the electric mobility, and the modeling of passengers and or freight flows in large-scale multi-modal transport networks.

IS8 – “Applications of Discrete-Event Systems in Smart Systems” – Organizers: Michel Reniers, Kai Cai – Invited Session Code: 2gj61

Since the seminal work of Ramadge and Wonham in 1987, the control of discrete-event systems (DES) has been an active research area in the controls community in the past 30 years. Many systematic methods, tools and algorithms have been developed for DES analysis, verifications, and control synthesis. Leveraging the developed tools, many (potential) applications of DES control have been reported in the literature ranging from manufacturing, logistic, service systems, to transportation, infrastructure, and healthcare. The principal objective of this invited session is to present the state of the art DES control applications in Smart Systems (including automation, robotics, and networked control). Our aim is to show that DES analysis, verification, and control methods are effective in dealing with a range of practically important issues in real complex engineering systems; these include safety, efficiency, adaptivity, and flexibility. As a result, this invited session well aligns with the theme of MED2021.

IS9 – “Advanced Control Techniques based on Industry 4.0 Smart Concepts” – Organizers: Constantin-Florin Caruntu, Cosmin Copot – Invited Session Code: w8358

The advanced control methodologies have evolved tremendously over the past three decades, reaching nowadays a high level of maturity for several types of systems. Yet, the emergent concepts that define Industry 4.0 lead to a fundamental new orientation based on the cyber-physical systems, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, internet of things, and services paradigms. Thus, the need to develop new theoretical methodologies that cope with embedded computing, communication, and networking capabilities became more stringent. Besides the classical control needs related to optimal performance, stability, and robustness, the novel advanced control algorithms should account for autonomy, adaptability, modularity, interoperability, while considering the integrated, connected, distributed, and cooperative nature of the emergent applications, e.g. smart factories, smart cities, intelligent buildings, smart mobility, healthcare, smart grids.

IS10 – “Intelligent data processing from sensors in control and decision support systems (SENSYS’21)” – Organizers: Dan Popescu, Corneliu Lazar, Loretta Ichim, Grigore Stamatescu – Invited Session Code: 34r69

This invited session deals with the problems and applications in the domain of intelligent data processing, including images, for control and decision support systems which are equipped with different sensors. The increase of the mission efficiency and precision of the global systems is a direct consequence. Robust support decision system able to environment monitoring, disease detection, withstand network deterioration, loss of communication or delays, occlusions, etc. are a key ingredient in the design and implementation of control and monitoring strategies. New approaches as intelligent data and image processing, soft sensors, edge, fog, and cloud computing will be considered in order to increase data processing performances. The goal of the invited session SENSYS’21 is to bring together researchers, engineering and users in different domains which are engaged in resolving problems of distributed monitoring, diagnosis and control with the aid of artificial intelligence, neural networks for image and sensory data processing, modern WSN and distributed control systems. The topics of interest include, but are not limited to: Integrating WSN and distributed control systems with IoT and cloud computing, Neural networks for image processing, Image segmentation, Intelligent data processing, Data fusion in WSN for distributed control systems, WSN in industrial applications, Consensus in WSN, Networks of soft sensors, Edge and fog computing in WSN, WSN for environment monitoring, Multi robotic systems as mobile WSN, Energy efficiency in mobile WSN. All papers must be written in English and should describe original work.

IS11 – “Beyond theory: challenges in modern sensing and control applications” – Organizers: Giacomo Innocenti, Paolo Paoletti – Invited Session Code: xdvv1

Control theory is a mature enabling technology that is the core of a wide range of applications, spanning autonomous robotics, smart cities, next-generation mobility, cyber-physical systems, healthcare prosthetics and assistive technologies, just to cite a few examples. Open and closed loop control techniques have been developed over the past 150 years to achieve good performance on an ever growing range of dynamical systems. Modern challenges – such as autonomous vehicles, robotics and smart cities – have highlighted the limitations of the theory underlying traditional control approaches, with such applications not satisfying the fundamental hypotheses under which the theory was originally developed. Often, efficient ad hoc solutions have then been proposed, but new generic approaches will be needed if we want to solve modern challenges. This session aims to discuss examples of sensing and control applications that require novel control design approaches. Topics range from robust steering for autonomous vehicles and motion planning, to advanced tactile sensing for infrastructure monitoring and fragile objects manipulation, passing through novel robotic platforms for environmental sensing and modular construction/manufacturing.

IS12 – “Innovative Control and Communication Approaches for Smart City and Industry 4.0” – Organizers: Graziana Cavone, Giuseppe Piro, Luca Schenato, Cristian Mahulea – Invited Session Code: 9mr6b

The automatic control and the communication systems are gaining an increasingly central role in the fast development of Smart City and Industry 4.0. In effect, both Smart City and Industry 4.0 can be considered as an Internet of Things (IoT) framework, where the main part is an intelligent network of connected objects and machines that can communicate and cooperate based on specific control laws. Due to the increasing dimension and complexity of Smart City and Industry 4.0, on the one hand, it is becoming particularly complicated to ensure efficient and reliable communication systems for the coordination and management of the various processes and activities of both systems; on the other hand, the existing control and automation systems can reveal ineffective. Consequently, it appears evident the importance of developing novel techniques that can ensure the efficiency and safety of communication systems and the introduction of innovative control techniques that can improve the behavior and the performance of the complex systems of Smart City and Industry 4.0. The major aim of this invited session is to focus on emerging models, methods, and techniques for the development of control and communication systems for Smart City and Industry 4.0.

IS13 – “Control and optimization of transportation and energy systems” Organizers: Raffaele Carli, Giulio Ferro, Sergio Grammatico, Alessandra Parisio, Michela Robba – Invited Session Code: c8bc1

The integration of EVs is becoming increasingly attractive for the following reasons. First, it is supposed that shortly there will be an increase in such a technology and thus they can result in a significant intermittent and distributed load. As a consequence, smart charging strategies are necessary to reduce costs and peak loads. The number of EVs and charging stations (CSs) is increasing in the last years, but a non-controlled used of EVs may cause technical problems to the electrical grid, inefficiencies in the charging process, long queues, and/or bad use of CSs. Moreover, it is necessary to integrate the transportation and the electrical networks to plan the CSs installation over the territory, the schedule of vehicles, and the optimal use of CSs. In this framework, new models and methods are needed for the integration of sustainable transportation and energy systems, as well as for users’ management and involvement. In the recent literature, there is an increasing and significant interest in the use of optimization models for location of charging stations, charging operations, and EVs integration in power systems considering also electrical public buses management. The main aim of the proposed invited session is to bring together emerging models, methods, and technologies for the optimal planning and management of sustainable transportation and energy systems, and on the integration of their related networks, with a specific focus on optimization and control methods. Interdisciplinary approaches related to smart grids, scheduling, and transportation systems are encouraged. Finally, technological contributions on the practical implementation of related control architectures and solutions in research and application projects are also fostered.

IS14 – “Smart Control Strategies of Energy Storage Systems” – Organizers: Umberto Berardi, Raffaele Carli, Ryozo Ooka – Invited Session Code: d1q8m

The main challenge in the utilization of renewable energy is that power generation from renewable energy fluctuates very drastically; another is the mismatch between the supply from renewable energy and its ordinal demand. Energy storage technology is one of promising solutions for these problems because it can flatten rapid changes of both renewable energy generation and demand and eliminate the mismatch between them. Energy storage technology can be applied to both the supply side and the demand side. Large size battery, pumped hydro storage, high temperature thermal energy storage, and compressed air energy storage are technologies for supply side. Small and medium size battery, thermal energy storage are technologies for demand side. Demand response and virtual power plants are examples of cooperation between supply side and demand side. There is still a limited understanding of the true impacts of energy storage systems on power system and end-users and how to develop a suitable methodology for their design and operation in order to maximize the technical benefits that they can provide, the contribution to the decarbonization of the energy sector and establish guidelines for wide-scale storage deployment in the future. Against this background, the main aim of this proposed invited session is to bring together models, methods and technologies for the optimal design/integration, control, and optimization of energy storage systems with buildings, districts, and/or local utilities. Interdisciplinary approaches related to the development of design methods, optimization, and advanced control strategies for effectively predicting, evaluating, and improving the performance of buildings, districts and grids, when energy storage is available, are encouraged.

IS15 – “Data mining and control tools applications for complex systems” – Organizer: Nicola Epicoco – Invited Session Code: h1316

Nowadays, with the recent advances toward the realization of smart Cyber Physical Systems, there is a growing need from both industry and research community for solving complex control problems, thus providing users with smart applications in living and working environments. Given their multidisciplinary nature and the interactions existing therein, the scattering of data across these systems further complicates the provision of suitable control solutions. Hence, modelling, controlling, and optimizing smart systems requires extracting valuable information from large datasets, uncovering patterns, and finding anomalies and relationships to be used to make predictions on future trends, so that the control system can be effective. Two main areas of advanced research arise: data mining and control systems. On the one hand, data mining tools are dedicated to analyzing large amount of data, by automatic or semi-automatic means, to discover meaningful patterns in describing the system behavior and its dynamical evolution and turn these data into useful knowledge while reducing the computational effort. Boosted by the industrial needs and supported by the ongoing developments in machine learning, statistics, artificial intelligence, and database systems, data mining research has now rapidly spanned various fields. On the other hand, control systems are aimed at managing, commanding, directing, or regulating the dynamical behavior of the system, and as such they can clearly take advantage from a joint use with data mining techniques. The aim of the proposed invited session is to investigate theory and real-life applications of data mining and control system tools for effectively managing the available volumes of data and for modelling and controlling smart complex systems.

IS16 – “Control Theory approaches for Systems Biology” – Organizers: Matteo Barberis, Irene Zorzan – Invited Session Code: i75q2

Smart systems autonomously perform sensing of variables, information processing, design and actuation of control actions, in order to adapt to environmental conditions and to respond to external clues. Biological systems are among the most extraordinary smart systems as they enable living cells to timely select which state to reach among multiple ones available, to irreversibly change state or to periodically transition among multiple states. In other words, biological systems make “smart” decisions. Systems and Control Theory offers theoretical frameworks, tools and methodologies to understand design principles of naturally occurring biological systems (namely, to understand how smart Nature is!), to engineer these and to build smart biological systems de novo by exploiting Systems and Synthetic Biology techniques. In the first part of the session, three talks will apply Systems and Control Theory to address challenging biological problems, such as: inclusion of genetic modules into larger systems facilitated by load driver and resource decoupler devices (Del Vecchio); control of protein expression and cell differentiation in genetic toggle switch networks (Di Bernardo); analysis of glycosylation fluxes in N-linked glycosylation of monoclonal antibodies through compartmental flux analysis (Gunawan). In the second part of the session, three talks will recast classical control problems and autonomously learning techniques to the biological context, specifically to: robust steady state tracking and disturbance rejection in biochemical systems (Khammash); noise minimization in gene expression event timing (Singh); deep reinforcement learning for optimal design of experiments with microbial cultures in bioreactors (Barnes).

IS17 – “Assistive Technologies and Digital Transformation of Health and Social Infrastructure in Smart Cities” – Organizers: David Bogataj, Alenka Temeljotov Salaj, Vlado Dimovski – Invited Session Code: 74e52

According to the Ageing Report 2021 prepared by European Commission and European population projections prepared by EUROSTAT, the share of the old adults 65+ will reach 30%, and population 80+ will more than double in the next half of the century. For this population with declining cognitive, physical and social functional capacities, the main goal is to stay as long as possible in the community and postpone or even prevent moving to a nursing home. Developers of smart cities should take into account the human and social factors related to the decline in functional capacities of ageing citizens. Therefore, assistive technologies supporting the development and management of smart cities’ social infrastructure, including bult environment, supply chains, and service systems, should be specifically designed to offer support to the ageing population. Cyber-physical systems with embedded wireless sensors networks, wearable devices, and different types of assistive technologies using Internet of Things as Infrastructure embedded in supply and service networks designed for ageing population require better use of age management and decision support of ambient intelligence. To mitigate risks to which older adults are exposed to, developers should embed ambient assisted living technologies in age-friendly facilities and amenities. Therefore, digital support systems for older adults and digital social infrastructure should be incorporated in the development of smart cities and communities. Digital technologies incorporated in products, services, and systems which are providing support to older adults, form an important part of the emerging Silver Economy, supporting the digital transformation of social infrastructure in ageing. The aim of technologies is to improve quality of life.