Engineer Ricardo Sanfelice receives ‘test of time’ award for influential paper

Ricardo Sanfelice
Ricardo Sanfelice

Ricardo Sanfelice, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Cruz, has received the 2020 Test-of-Time Award from the Hybrid Systems: Computation and Control (HSCC) conference for a 2006 paper on feedback control systems.

The HSCC Test-of-Time Award recognizes work published at least ten years earlier at the HSCC conference that has proven to be the most visionary and impactful, leading to new directions of research being initiated, or new applications being brought into the hybrid systems research community.

Sanfelice, who directs the Cyber-Physical Systems Research Center at the Baskin School of Engineering, specializes in the analysis and design of algorithms for hybrid dynamical systems, in which continuous and discrete variables interact, and cyber-physical systems, which depend on the seamless integration of computational algorithms and physical components.

The Test-of-Time Award recognizes a 2006 paper by Sanfelice and coauthors Rafal Goebel, now at Loyola University Chicago, and Andrew Teel at UC Santa Barbara: "A Feedback Control Motivation for Generalized Solutions to Hybrid Systems."

The HSCC committee noted that the paper “establishes that the so-called ‘hybrid basic conditions’ necessary for robustness analysis of hybrid feedback control systems can be equivalently formalized as the limit of solutions under arbitrarily small measurement noise and disturbances. These results are now viewed as foundational extension of the concept of generalized solutions for discontinuous differential equations to hybrid control systems.”

Sanfelice is currently working to develop mathematical models to describe the spread of COVID-19 in various populations around the world and under different conditions. The models will include probabilistic mechanisms to determine how the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is transmitted within populations, using online machine learning techniques and tuned with real-time data.

Sanfelice is also involved in a large research consortium on autonomous systems funded by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), as well as a project on traffic management for unmanned aerial systems and other research projects funded by the National Science Foundation, AFOSR, CITRIS, and the Air Force Research Laboratory.