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Our re­search plan

Goals and Directions

Control systems are getting more and more complex and solving control tasks increasingly relies on inter­dis­ci­plin­ary approaches combining elements from mechatronics and cybernetics. Against this background, we aim for tailored control schemes that address the special needs of such cyberphysical systems. In particular, we de­sign networked and autonomous control systems involving numerical optimization, machine learning, and cybersecurity.

Have a look at the following selection of re­search directions or study our projects and publications for further details!

Secure control for networked systems

Cloud-computing and distributed computing are becoming ubiquitous in modern control systems such as smart grids, building automation, robot swarms, or intelligent transportation systems. While cloud-based and distributed control schemes offer many opportunities, they also increase the risk of cyberattacks. In fact, the involved com­mu­ni­cation and evaluation of sensitive data via public networks and on thirdparty platforms promote eavesdropping and manipulation of data. Future control schemes should counteract those threats and ensure confidentiality and integrity of the involved data. We address these needs with tailored control schemes that combine methods from cryptography, numerical optimization, and control.

Related projects

Applied encrypted control for critical infra­structure (Aperitif)

Encrypted optimization-based control for networked systems (EpicNets)

Illustration of a cloud-based controller with encrypted communication links © MSD ​/​ RCS
Illustration of an enrypted cloud-based controller © MSD ​/​ RCS
Encrypted control aims for encrypted data troughout the control-loop. This requires tailored controller reformulations (in contrast to encrypted communications as in the figure on top).

Tailored learning-based control

Details follow.

Related publications

N. Schlü­ter and M. Schulze Darup, Novel convex decomposition of piecewise affine functions, in Proc. of the IFAC World Congress, 2020.

M. Schulze Darup, Exact representation of piecewise affine functions via neural networks, in Proc. of the 2020 European Control Conference (ECC), pp. 1073-1078, 2020. DOI: 10.23919/ECC51009.2020.9143957

ConvexControllerDecomposition © NSC ​/​ RCS

New approaches to model predictive control

Model predictive control (MPC) is one of the most powerful, widely-used, and well-studied control schemes. Its underlying idea can be traced back to the 60s. Since then, countless successful applications and theoretical im­prove­ments have been reported.  Nevertheless, the theory for MPC is far from complete and novel variants and implementations pop up regurlarly. We contribute structural insights on linear and nonlinear MPC, fast real-time implementations, and secure controller evaluations.

Related publications

M. Schulze Darup, M. Klädtke, and M. Mönnigmann, Exact solution to a special class of nonlinear MPC problems, 7th IFAC Conference on Nonlinear Model Predictive Control (NMPC), 2021 (submitted).

M. Schulze Darup, G. Book, and P. Giselsson, Towards real-time ADMM for linear MPC, in Proc. of the 2019 European Control Conference, pp. 4276-4282, 2019. DOI: 10.23919/ECC.2019.8796239

M. Schulze Darup and M. Cannon, Some observations on the activity of terminal constraints in linear MPC, in Proc. of the 2016 European Control Conference, pp. 770-775, 2016. DOI: 10.1109/ECC.2016.7810382



Sets associated with exact solution to bilinear MPC © MKL ​/​ RCS
Feasible set of a predictive controller for a bilinear system and underlying structure resulting from exact linearization.


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Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dort­mund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vo­gel­pothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity has its own train station ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station ("Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop "Dort­mund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dort­mund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S".

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dort­mund Airport (DTM) to Dort­mund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dort­mund Central Station, you can continue to the uni­ver­si­ty campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of in­ter­na­tio­nal flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the uni­ver­si­ty station.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.

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The facilities of TU Dort­mund Uni­ver­sity are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the uni­ver­si­ty are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".

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