Reaserch

Main research interests

My research activity embraces the fields of process systems modeling and analysis, control engineering, numerical optimization and analysis. Applications range from industrial process and energy systems to biomedical and robotic systems. In particular, current/recent research projects are/were focused on:

  • Theory, design and implementation of optimization-based control systems (MPC)
  • Control performance monitoring techniques for MPC
  • Multivariable systems identification for industrial process systems
  • Efficient numerical algorithms for real-time optimization-based control systems
  • Distributed modeling, optimization and control of large-scale dynamical systems
  • Numerical optimization algorithms for Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems
  • Trajectory planning and numerical optimal control, with focus on model predictive control (MPC), for robotic manipulation and locomotion;
  • Rigorous simulation, analysis and optimization of complex industrial processes and energy systems;
  • Numerical analysis and solution algorithms for high-fidelity dynamic simulation of multiphase (oil & gas) flow networks.

The research activity is carried out within the Chemical Engineering Section of the Department of Civil and Industrial Engineering of the University of Pisa, also in collaboration with researchers of prestigious international universities such as the University of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, USA), Imperial College (London, UK), Ruhr Universität Bochum (Germany), University of Magdeburg (Germany), University of Manchester (UK). Moreover, several research projects are carried out in collaboration with industrial partners, such as ENEL Engineering and Research, ENEL Green Power, ENI Refining & Marketing, General Electric (Oil & Gas), TEA Sistemi, Gas & Heat.

Awards

  1. Keynote speaker at the 10th IFAC Symposium on Advanced Control of Chemical Processes (ADCHEM 2018), Shenyang (China), July 2018.
  2. Appointed as Associate Editor of Automatica, 2018-2020.
  3. Keynote speaker at the 11th IFAC Symposium on Dynamics and Control of Process Systems, Including Biosystems (DYCOPS-CAB 2016), Trondheim (Norway), June 2016.
  4. Invited semi-plenary speaker at the 5th IFAC Conference on Nonlinear Model Predictive Control, Seville (Spain), September 2015.
  5. Invited author of an article entitled “Distributed Model-Predictive Control” for the “Encyclopedia of Systems and Control”, Springer, 2014.
  6. Appointed as Senior Editor of Journal of Process Control, 2013-2021.
  7. Co-Chair of the International Program Committee of the IFAC Symposium on “Dynamics and Control of Process Systems” DYCOPS 2013, Mumbai (India), December 18-20, 2013.
  8. Recipient of the Prize “Giovani Ricercatori” of the University of Pisa in 2011.
  9. Keynote speaker at the IFAC Symposium on “Dynamics and Control of Process Systems” DYCOPS 2010, Leuven (Belgium), July 5-7, 2010.

Selected invited seminars

  1. A Comprehensive Survey from Internal Model Control to Model Predictive Control Algorithms. Institute for Systems Theory and Automatic Control, University of Stuttgart, Germany, 2017.
  2. Fundamentals of offset-free MPC algorithms and recent advances. Automatic Control Laboratory, EPFL, Losanne, Switzerland, 2016.
  3. Distributed MPC: a comprehensive overview and some recent advances. Denmark Technical University, Lyngby, Denmark, 2016.
  4. A tutorial overview on multivariable identification algorithms for process systems. IMT Lucca, 2016
  5. A tutorial overview on theory and design of offset-free MPC algorithms. Department of Microsystems Engineering – IMTEK, Freiburg, Germany, 2015.
  6. Multivariable system identification for Model Predictive Control: fundamentals and practice. Department of Microsystems Engineering – IMTEK, Freiburg, Germany, 2015.
  7. Linear model predictive control: discrete-time or continuous-time? Institute for Automation Engineering of the Otto-von-Guericke-Universitaet Magdeburg, Germany, 2014.
  8. Whither discrete-time Model Predictive Control? Department of Engineering of the University of Cambridge, UK, 2014.
  9. Quo vadis linear discrete-time MPC? … Efficient and guaranteed solutions of linear constrained CT-LQR. Mechanical Engineering Department – RUB, Bochum (Germany), 2013.
  10. Inherently robust suboptimal nonlinear MPC: theory and application, plus… Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering – University of Wisconsin, Madison (WI), 2011.
  11. Model Predictive Control: from Industrial Success to new (Biomedical) Applications (in Italian). Scuola di Dottorato in Ingegneria Chimica – Università di Padova, Padova, 2009.
  12. Optimal Control of Constrained Continuous-Time Systems and Efficient Distributed MPC.  Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering – University of Wisconsin, Madison (WI), 2008.
  13. Model Predictive Control (in Italian). PhD School on Control in the Process Industries, Muravera, 2008.
  14. Model Predictive Control of Distillation Processes (in Italian).  Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell’Informazione – Università di Siena, Siena, 2004-2008.
  15. Robust Offset-Free Receding Horizon Control of Uncertain Linear Systems. Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering – Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, 2004
  16. Property Estimator Design for Consistent Inferential Distillation Control. Department of Engineering – University of Cambridge, Cambridge, 2004.
  17. A Candidate to Replace PID Control: SISO Constrained LQ Control. Department of Engineering – University of Cambridge, Cambridge, 2004.
  18. Recent Advances in Robust Control of Constrained Multi-variable Systems. Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell’Informazione – Università di Siena, Siena, 2003.
  19. An Introduction to PLS Regression Technique (in Italian). PhD School on Control in the Process Industries, Villasimius, 2002.
  20. Disturbance Modeling for Robust Control of Ill-Conditioned Processes with MPC. Texas – Wisconsin Modeling and Control Consortium, Madison, WI, 2000.