TC-HS Newsletter: Issue 5

Newsletter of the IEEE CSS TC on Hybrid Systems

Issue 5

Workshop Announcement:

Computation-aware Algorithmic Design for Cyber-Physical Systems

The main goal of the workshop is to highlight recent advances and developments in the field of cyber-physical systems (CPS) with a specific focus on the need of accounting for computation constraints in algorithm design, also dictated by the communication structure of the system. To this purpose, we will bring together outstanding researchers from leading institutions and industries worldwide. 
The target audience comprises graduate-level control theorists, computer scientists and engineers, as well as researchers with a strong interest in CPS verification and control, either from a theoretical or an application perspective. In particular, the main topics being covered are:

  • CPS models that are computation aware;
  • Performance metrics under computation limitations;
  • Algorithm design for CPSs operating in an uncertain dynamic environment;
  • Communication constrained networked control systems.

The workshop will take place from 9:00 AM till 5:00 PM in the Splash 11 room, Fontainbleau Hotel, Miami Beach, on December 16, 2018.

Invited Speakers:

  • Murat Arcak, University of California at Berkeley, USA

  • Massimo Franceschetti, University of California at San Diego, USA

  • Karl H. Johansson, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

  • George J. Pappas, University of Pennsylvania, USA 

  • Alessandro Pinto, United Technologies Research Center, USA 

  • Jonathan Sprinkle, University of Arizona, USA 

  • Panagiotis Tsiotras, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA


  • Raphaël Jungers – UC Louvain, Belgium

  • Maria Prandini – Politecnico di Milano, Italy

  • Ricardo Sanfelice – University of California Santa Cruz, USA

  • Majid Zamani – Technical University of Munich, Germany

Workshop website:

Early registration is highly encouraged -- see instructions at the link above. Please also encourage your students to attend (registration cost as student is quite affordable).

Conference Announcement:

The 22nd ACM International Conference on Hybrid Systems: Computation and Control (HSCC 2019) takes place April 16-18, 2019, in Montreal, Canada. HSCC 2019 is the 22nd in a series of conferences on all aspects of hybrid systems. It is dedicated to advancing design and analysis techniques that bridge control theory and computer science, and is expanding to new domains in security, privacy, learning and in systems biology. The conference covers the range from theoretical results to practical applications and experiences in cyber-physical systems (CPS), mixed signal circuits, robotics, infrastructure networks, and biological models.

HSCC 2019 will be part of the twelfth Cyber Physical Systems Week (CPS Week), and co-located with the International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems (ICCPS), Information Processing in Sensor Networks (IPSN), the Real-Time and Embedded Technology and Applications Symposium (RTAS), Conference on Internet-of-Things Design and Implementation (IOTDI), and related workshops.

New this year: Special track papers on Safe autonomy, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Guy Katz will give an invited talk in this track.

Submissions for posters and demos are open:

Important dates:

  • Submission deadline January 24, 2019 (AoE)
  • Acceptance notification February 7, 2019
  • Final version submission February 14, 2019
  • Conference April 16-18, 2019, Montreal, Canada

Submissions consist of an extended abstract of no more than two pages in the ACM template at: The title of the submission should have the format: "Poster/Demo Abstract: <Paper title>"

Posters: Poster presentations do not have to describe completed work. Poster abstracts can report ongoing or preliminary research work, present case studies, or discuss new research directions. An easel will be provided for all posters.

Demos: Demo abstracts should describe both the technology that will be presented, as well as the user interface. Tables, power, and wireless connectivity will be provided. If a demo requires additional special arrangements, please describe them clearly along with your submission.

To submit, please use this link.

Any questions should be addressed to the Poster/Demo Chair Jun Liu (

PhD and PostDoc Positions Announcement:

Openings for PhD and Post-doc researchers are available in Prof. Sayan Mitra’s lab at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). The projects are related to safe autonomy and security & privacy in controlled networks. Key requirements: applicant should be able and willing to (a) prove theorems (in control theory or formal methods) and (b) code. Broadly, the lab has a number of ongoing research projects in verification, privacy, programming languages, and robotics, a fun and vibrant community of grad students, undergrads, and strong collaborations with several professors across Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science.

More about UIUC and CSL: This is the sprawling UIUC campus. We are located in the Coordinated Science Lab between the Computer Science and the new ECE building. Our building is a cross-disciplinary home for research groups in Networking, Architecture, Security, Control, Signal Processing, Machine learning, and Robotics. It is a dynamic and entrepreneurial environment. You will find it easy to strike-up conversations and collaborative projects with professors and students working across many disciplines. For example, the CSL grad students organize this event every year. The new Intelligent Robotics Lab is now up and running which will be a state of the art space for experimental work. The new Siebel Center for Design is launching as we speak. The UIUC research park is now ranked 10th amongst Venture-backed Entrepreneurs. The ECE Professors are truly invested in the success of our PhD students and Postdocs; there are several year-round mentoring events for academic and research growth (see for example this). See recent news highlights here.

To apply, email your cv to

PostDoc Position Announcement:

A Postdoctoral Scholar position is available at the Hybrid Systems Laboratory at the Department of Computer Engineering, University of California in Santa Cruz, California.

The research focus of this position is the generation of design tools for estimation and control of hybrid dynamical systems. Expertise in nonlinear and hybrid control, model predictive control, formal methods, and observer design will be key. The results will have applications to a wide range of hybrid and cyber-physical systems, such as autonomous vehicles and power systems.

Candidates with a Ph.D. in engineering or applied math, with a strong theoretical background and required expertise are encouraged to apply by submitting via email (to Prof. Ricardo Sanfelice at ricardo(at) the following: 1) a cover letter, 2) a detailed curriculum vitae, including educational backgroud and a list of publications, 3) two publications representing the candidate's research work, and 4) contact information for at least two academic references.

Review of applications will start on March 1, 2019. Though flexible, the suggested start date for the position is July 1, 2019 and for a duration of one year, renewable depending on performance.

More information about the research at the Hybrid Systems Laboratory is available at The University of California at Santa Cruz also houses the newly established Cyber-Physical Systems Research Center, which brings together more than 30 faculty with interest in numerous areas, including networking, sensors, robotics, and control.

PostDoc Position Announcement:

An immediate posdoctoral research position is available in the Nonlinear Controls and Robotics group at the University of Florida. Applicants should have a strong publication record in hybrid systems methods with Lyapunov-based analysis tools. The ideal candidate would also have expertise in stochastic methods and/or formal methods. The position would entail travel for collaborative engagement.

Interested applicants should send a CV and sample publications to Warren Dixon via wdixon(at)

Special Issue Announcement:

Acta Informatica Special Issue on Synthesis

Guest editors: Paulo Tabuada and Roderick Bloem

Submission deadline: 15 January 2019

This special issue is devoted to the scope of the Third Workshop on Synthesis, SYNT 2018 (see SYNT 2018 was part of the Federated Logic Conferences in Oxford and was devoted to bringing together researchers interested in the broad area of synthesis of computing systems. The workshop fosters the development of frontier techniques in automating the development of computing systems and is inclusive in its interpretation of the term synthesis

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

algorithms and tools for software synthesis and reactive (discrete-time, timed, hybrid, ...) synthesis, specification languages and optimization in synthesis, complexity and decidability results for synthesis, case studies of software or hardware synthesis, connections between verification and synthesis, synthesis by model learning, connections between synthesis and inductive programming, new approaches or applications for synthesis, description and analysis of benchmark families for synthesis.

Submission to this special issue is completely open and not limited to participants of the SYNT workshop. We expect original articles (typically 15-30 pages), which present high-quality contributions that have not been previously published in a journal and are not concurrently submitted to any other peer reviewed venue.

Extended versions of contributions previously published in proceedings need to contain significant new material and should be accompanied by a short description of the extension.

The submission system will open from 15 December until 15 January  (see and then click on "Submit Online". The article type should be "S.I.: SYNT'18".)

Course Announcements:

TC members are offering courses through the International Graduate School on Control -

Since the creation of EECI, the IGSC Program is organized every year where independent modules on different topics of networked and embedded control are taught, one 21-hour module per week; these modules are eligible for 2nd Year Master Degree credits and Scientific Thesis modules. Completion of a module obtains the equivalence of 3 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System).



Formal Methods in Control Design - from Discrete Synthesis to Continuous Controllers

Instructors: Calin Belta, Boston University, and Antoine Girard, CNRS

Summary of the course

In control theory, complex models of continuous physical processes, such as systems of differential or difference equations, are usually checked against simple specifications, such as stability and set invariance. With the development and integration of cyber-physical and safety-critical systems, there is an increasing need for tools to design controllers for richer specifications. The main objective of this course is to present formal methods in control design. The key concept of these approaches is that of discrete abstraction (a.k.a. symbolic model), which is a finite-state dynamical system, obtained by abstracting continuous trajectories over a finite set of symbols. When the abstraction and the continuous dynamics are formally related by some behavioral relationship (e.g. simulation or bisimulation relations), controllers synthesized for the abstraction can be refined to certified controllers for the original continuous system. Moreover, since the abstractions are discrete, controllers can be synthesized automatically, using discrete synthesis techniques, for rich specifications such as languages or formulas of temporal logics. In this course, we will cover all aspects of formal methods in control design from the computation of discrete abstractions, to discrete synthesis and controller refinement.


1. The need for formal methods in control design

2. Systems, behaviors and relations among them

3. Discrete abstractions of continuous systems

3.1 Partition-based approaches

3.2 Lyapunov-based approaches

3.3 Abstraction via feedback

4. Controller synthesis using discrete abstractions

4.1 Finite temporal logic control

4.2 Language-guided control systems

4.3 Optimal temporal logic control



Hybrid Control Design

Instructor: Ricardo Sanfelice, UC Santa Cruz

Course Overview:

Hybrid dynamical systems, when broadly understood, encompass dynamical systems where states or dynamics can change continuously as well as instantaneously. Hybrid control systems arise when hybrid control algorithms — algorithms which involve logic, timers, clocks, and other digital devices — are applied to classical dynamical systems or systems that are themselves hybrid. Hybrid control may be used for improved performance and robustness properties compared to classical control, and hybrid dynamics may be unavoidable due to the interplay between digital and analog components of a system.

The course has two main parts. The first part presents various modeling approaches to hybrid dynamics, focuses on a particular framework which combines differential equations with difference equations (or inclusions), and present key analysis tools. The ideas are illustrated in several applications. The second part presents control design methods for such rich class of hybrid dynamical systems, such as supervisory control, CLF-based control, invariance-based control, and passivity. A particular goal of the course is to reveal the key steps in carrying over such methodologies to the hybrid dynamics setting. Each proposed module/lecture is designed to present key theoretical concepts as well as applications of hybrid control of current relevance.

Course Outline:

Part 1: Introduction, examples, and modeling.

  • Theoretical topics: hybrid inclusions; solution concept, existence, and uniqueness.
  • Applications: hybrid automata, networked systems, and cyber-physical systems.

Part 2: Dynamical properties.

  • Theoretical topics: continuous dependence of solutions, Lyapunov stability notion and sufficient conditions, invariance principles, and converse theorem.
  • Applications: synchronization of timers and state estimation over a network.

Part 3: Supervisory control, uniting control, throw-catch, and event-triggered control.

  • Theoretical topics: logic-based switching, uniting control, throw-and-catch control, supervisory control, and event-triggered control.
  • Applications: aggressive control for aerial vehicles, control of the pendubot, obstacle avoidance, control of robotic manipulators.

Part 4: Synergistic control, CLF-based control, invariance-based control, and passivity-based control.

  • Theoretical topics: synergistic control, control Lyapunov functions, stabilizability, Sontag-like universal formula for hybrid systems, selection theorems, invariance and invariance-based control passivity-based control.
  • Applications: control for DC/DC conversion and for mechanical systems with impacts.

References available at and upcoming book "Hybrid

Feedback Control" to appear in 2019.

Textbook Announcement

Logical Foundations of Cyber-Physical Systems

Author: André Platzer.

Springer, 2018. 659 pages.



About this Textbook

Cyber-physical systems (CPSs) combine cyber capabilities, such as computation or communication, with physical capabilities, such as motion or other physical processes. Cars, aircraft, and robots are prime examples, because they move physically in space in a way that is determined by discrete computerized control algorithms. Designing these algorithms is challenging due to their tight coupling with physical behavior, while it is vital that these algorithms be correct because we rely on them for safety-critical tasks.

This textbook teaches undergraduate students the core principles behind CPSs. It shows them how to develop models and controls; identify safety specifications and critical properties; reason rigorously about CPS models; leverage multi-dynamical systems compositionality to tame CPS complexity; verify CPS models of appropriate scale in logic; and develop an intuition for operational effects.

The book is supported with homework exercises, lecture videos, and slides.

TC Announcement:

We will have a TC meeting at the CDC in Miami Beach, Florida. Based on already scheduled meetings and the conference schedule, our meeting will be on Monday December 17th from 6:30pm to 7:30pm at room Splash 17. Please RSVP at the link below by Nov 30:

I will send a tentative agenda a few days before the meeting. I hope to see you there.