The current research areas of emphasis in the TWCCC are:
- Control System Monitoring and Diagnosis: multivariable control performance assessment, performance diagnosis, loop auditing, minimum variance control benchmark, sensor and actuator diagnosis, MPC performance monitoring
- Dynamic Modeling of Chemical Processes: microelectronics process modeling, solid phase formation and growth, crystallization, packed bed distillation, batch distillation, reactive distillation, packed bed catalytic reactors, advanced materials processing, parameter estimation software development, model reduction
- Planning, scheduling and supply chain management: mixed-integer and constraint programming models and algorithms.
- Materials Processing: chemical vapor deposition, measurement of film composition and growth rate, plasma etching, lithography, rapid thermal processing, particle formation, measurement of size and shape of particles.
- Dynamic System Identification: subspace identification methods, prediction error methods, closed loop identification, identification for monitoring, design of experiments.
- Nonlinear Model Predictive Control (MPC) and Moving Horizon Estimation (MHE): large-scale MPC and MHE, model-based control, constrained control, adaptive control, multivariable control.
- Optimization theory and algorithms: interior-point algorithms for linear and nonlinear programming; algorithms for structured optimization problems in control and other areas; optimization under uncertainty; applications to cancer treatment, meteorology and other areas; algorithms for parallel computers; optimization software; applications to petroleum reservoirs and imaging.
- Statistical Process Monitoring and Fault Diagnosis: fault detection, fault identification and isolation, fault reconstruction, fault classification, data reconciliation, sensor validation, dynamic process fault diagnosis, process chemometrics, principal component analysis, canonical variate analysis, partial least squares, multivariate statistical quality control.
The combined process modeling, control and optimization programs have more than 20 full-time graduate students and several postdoctoral researchers in addition to the five faculty members supervising the ongoing research. During the last five years, approximately 25 Ph.D. and 1 M.S. students graduated from the three universities in the area of process modeling, control and optimization. Graduates of the program are highly sought by industry and universities, often accepting jobs more than one year prior to completion of their degrees. Approximately 50 percent of the graduates are U.S. citizens.
Process control facilities available for research are outstanding. We employ a variety of control systems (Emerson Delta V, National Instruments) in experimental studies, and we also have numerous networks of PCs and high-performance Linux clusters. Most students carry out both theoretical and experimental research. Our program focuses on maintaining a balance between fundamentals and practice.