Call for Papers:

Learning and Control

Guest Editors: Anuradha Annaswamy, Manfred Morari, George J. Pappas, Claire Tomlin, Rene Vidal, and Melanie Zellinger

Over the past two decades, advances in computing and communications have resulted in the creation, transmission and storage of data from all sectors of society. Over the next decade, the biggest generator of data is expected to be Internet-of-Things devices that sense and control the physical world. This explosion of data requires a rapprochement of areas such as machine learning, control theory, and optimization. The availability and scale of data, both temporal and spatial, brings a wonderful opportunity for our community to advance the theory of control systems in a more data-driven fashion, as well as making a broader industrial and societal impact. There are various challenges on the interface between the control community and the machine learning community. The aim of this special issue is to bring together some of the significant developments on the interface between machine learning, dynamics, and control systems.

Our special issue welcomes both regular papers and technical notes on topics that include but are not limited to:

  • Foundations of learning of dynamics models
  • System identification
  • Episodic learning, online learning, and adaptive control
  • Optimization for machine learning
  • Data-driven optimization for dynamical systems
  • Distributed learning over distributed systems
  • Reinforcement learning for physical systems
  • Safe reinforcement learning and safe adaptive control
  • Statistical learning for dynamical and control systems
  • Bridging model-based and learning-based dynamical and control systems
  • Robustness of data-driven and learning-based control systems
  • Physics-constrained learning
  • Physical learning in dynamical and control systems applications in robotics, autonomy, transportation systems, cognitive systems, neuroscience, etc.

Special Issue Schedule:

  • Submission Site Opens: March 1, 2021*
  • Paper Submission Deadline: May 15, 2021
  • Author Notification: November 1, 2021
  • Final Manuscript Submissions: January 1, 2022
  • Special Issue Publication: Summer 2022 (tentative)

    *Note: The PaperPlaza submission link given below will allow submission to this special issue after March 1, 2021. When submitting the paper, the system will prompt the user to select submission to the special issue. 

Submission Website

Previous Special Issues:


Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 65, no. 9, September 2020

Security and Privacy of Distributed Algorithms and Network Systems

Guest Editors: Zhiyong Chen, Fabio Pasqualetti, Jianping He, Peng Cheng, Harry L. Trentelman, and Francesco Bullo

The integration of computation, communication and control technologies has led to the emergence and burgeoning of large scale engineering systems, a.k.a., the network systems. Distributed control and optimization algorithms are more promising and desirable to operate and guarantee the well-functioning of the systems, and have the advantages of being flexible, scalable, robust and efficient. Yet, due to their very nature, distributed algorithms are particularly vulnerable to cyber and physical attacks. Recently, researchers have made great efforts to tackle significant security and privacy problems in different network systems. However, most of these results apply the specific settings, and have limited extensions. With the development of new technologies and the emergence of new demand requirements, existing theoretical results cannot be applied to the distributed networks directly. Meanwhile, the distributed network system has its special properties, e.g., decentralized resources, complicated algorithm and system structure, which make the attack space much huge. As a result, security and privacy problems in distributed algorithms and network systems, such as attack modeling, defense strategy and privacy analysis, can be more challenging. Such a special issue is expected to link practical challenges with the most recent theoretical advances in this hot research area.

Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 59, no 12, December 2014

Control of Cyber-Physical Systems

Guest Editors: Karl H. Johansson, George J. Pappas, Paulo Tabuada, Claire J. Tomlin

Cyber-physical systems are engineered systems whose operations are monitored, coordinated, controlled, and integrated by computing and communication cores interacting with the physical environment. Cyber-physical systems transform how we interact with the physical world just like the Internet has transformed how we interact with one another. Advances in this field will have an enormous societal impact and economic benefit in areas such as energy, transportation, manufacturing, health, agriculture and many more.

Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 59, no 11, November 2014

Relaxation Methods in Identification and Estimation Problems

Guest Editors: Diego Regruto, Fabrizio Dabbane, Daniel E. Rivera

The subject of system identification has a long history, and it still remains one of the most active fields of research in the control community. In the literature at large, particular attention has been devoted to identification in recent years to the convexification of estimation problems, and convexification has become one of the major topics in system identification. A number of different approaches have recently emerged in the optimization community to address the problem of approximating the global solution of some classes of nonconvex optimization problems. The common idea behind all these approaches is to construct specific convex relaxations, which are guaranteed to converge, under proper assumptions and conditions, to the global optima of the original nonconvex problem.

Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 57, no. 8, August 2012

Control of Quantum Mechanical Systems

Guest Editors: Claudio Altafini, Anthony M. Bloch, Pierre Rouchon

Moving beyond the mere observation of atomic or molecular scale events to their active control is a long-standing dream, which only in recent years has become a really fruitful area of experimental investigation in different scientific disciplines ranging from Chemical Reaction Dynamics to Quantum Optics, from Magnetic Resonance to Quantum Information Processing. The reasons are diverse, from the technological advances enabling the monitoring and manipulation of atoms, molecules and spins at the quantum scale, to the discovery of the potential superiority of quantum computing devices over classical ones. Advances in the areas of attosecond laser coherent control, nuclear and electron magnetic resonance spectroscopy, optical and solid-state devices all involve some form of active control of quantum dynamics. Similarly, the recent progress in the science of quantum information has added a new perspective to the use of quantum dynamics for the purpose of computing, communications and information storage. All these technologies involve exercising control over quantum mechanical systems.

Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 56, no. 10, October 2011

Wireless Sensor and Actuator Networks

Guest Editors: Jiming Chen, Karl H. Johansson, Stephan Olarlu, Ioannis Ch. Paschalidis, Ivan Stojmenovic

Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), in their various shapes and forms, have greatly facilitated and enhanced the automated, remote, and intelligent monitoring of a large variety of physical systems. These networks consist of a large number of typically small devices, each incorporating sensing, processing, and wireless communications capabilities. Their use has penetrated a plethora of application domains from industrial and building automation, to environmental, wildlife, and health monitoring.

Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 54, no. 5, May 2009

Positive Polynomials in Control

Guest Editors: Graziano Chesi, Didier Henrion

While the passage to the next generation of methods involving positive non-polynomial functions is still far, the development of theory and tools based on positive polynomials has reached a solid level. This special issue aims to identify to what extent positive polynomials are currently exploited and can be further exploited in control systems, attempting to provide a complete overview of their application area as well as outline their potentialities and limitations in both theoretical and practical uses. The target of this collection of works on positive polynomials is to identify the state of the art of this young and promising field.

Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 53, no. 1, January 2008

Joint Special Issue on Systems Biology

Guest Editors: Mustafa Khammash, M. Vidyasagar, Claire Tomlin

Systems biology can be defined as the study of organisms, or parts of an organism viewed as an interconnection of various subsystems serving a variety of biological functions. A biological system can be studied at several levels of complexity and aggregation, such as genes, proteins, pathways, and cells. Central to the study of systems biology is the notion of dynamics, one of the characteristics that distinguish it from computational biology. This joint special issue consists of papers that cover fundamental concepts and issues in systems biology, including analysis of biological networks, dynamics of signaling and regulatory networks, dynamic modeling and identification of biological networks, and modeling, design, and construction of biological circuits.

Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 51, no. 6, June 2006

Symbolic Methods for Complex Control Systems

Guest Editors: Magnus Egerstedt, Emilio Frazzoli, George J. Pappas

This special issue targets a better understanding and design of continuous signal to finite symbol mappings for control purposes. These include abstracting continuous dynamics to symbolic control descriptions, instruction selection and coding in finite-bandwidth control applications, and applying formal language theory to the continuous system's domain.

Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 50, no. 10, October 2005

Control System Identification

Guest Editors: Lennart Ljung, Antonio Vicino

The topic of System Identification has been a surprisingly vivid and resilient research area in the control community over many years. Thirteen years after the publication of a 1992 special issue edited by Robert Kosut, Graham Goodwin and Mike Polis, this new special issue gives a broad perspective of the state of the art on the subject of system identification of linear as well as non-linear models.

Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 49, no. 9, September 2004

Networked Control Systems

Guest Editors: Panos Antsaklis, John Baillieul

This special issue deals with systems comprised of actuators, sensors, and controllers whose operation is coordinated through some form of a communication network. The system elements are typically spatially isolated from one another, operating in an asynchronous manner and communicating over a wide area via both wired and wireless links. The topics covered in the issue include studying the relationship between closed-loop stability and communications constraints on the feedback channels, ad hoc network formation and mobility, consensus problems for networks of dynamic agents with fixed and switching topologies, and information flow and stability of distributed control in autonomous vehicle formations.

Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 49, no. 3, March 2004

Stochastic Control Methods in Financial Engineering

Guest Editors: Mark Davis, Robert Elliott, Bozenna Pasik-Duncan

This special issue presents recent advances in the Mathematics of Finance and related new problems in stochastic systems and control theory. Topics covered include the study of arbitrage, hedging, pricing, consumption/investment optimization, incomplete and/or constrained markets, equilibrium, differential information, and the term structure of interest rates.

Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 48, no. 10, October 2003

New Directions in Nonlinear Control

Guest Editors: Wei Lin, John Baillieul, and Anthony Bloch

This special issue offers a broad perspective of the present state-of-the-art in nonlinear feedback design and an up-to-date account of the most recent advances and progress in the field of nonlinear control. Contributed papers point out new, challenging and promising research directions, where many outstanding issues remain unsolved.

Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 48, no. 8, August 2003

Performance Limitations and Design Tradeoffs in Feedback Control

Guest Editors: Jie Chen and Rick Middleton

This special issue addresses issues and results brought up by recent developments in nonlinear or time-varying systems, more complex control architectures than unity feedback, and research on performance limitations, advanced by new problem and application areas and by developments in novel design techniques and methods.

Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 47, no. 6, June 2002

Systems and Control Methods for Communication Networks

Guest Editors: Tamer Basar and Weibo Gong

This special issue provides a coherent and focused outlet for research on the topic of systems and control methods for communication networks, including models, congestion control and management for the efficient operation of high-speed network, queueing disciplines to guarantee the quality of service and to provide differentiated services, and control related issues inherent to wireless networks.