The fundamental research objective of the DYSCO network is to develop new mathematical tools, results and algorithms for the modeling, control, optimization and understanding of dynamical systems, which tend to become ever larger and more complex. Over the last two decades, the progress accomplished within the "dynamical systems, control and optimization" area has led to a spectacular expansion of the methodologies and tools into an growing number of application areas. In addition to the fundamental objectives, we will also focus in this proposal on particular applications in environmental systems, communication systems, robotics, networks, biological and bio-chemical systems and biomedical engineering.

Each of these applications comes with its own models and its own theoretical problems. Making significant contributions in these areas requires an in-depth study of the specific models and methods, and extensive interactions with the specialists. Within one single team, it has become very hard to keep abreast of the techniques and methodologies required to make a significant impact. But thanks to the active partnership within our network, we are able to cover several of these related fields in which the “systems, control and optimization” area can actively contribute.


The main objective of our network is to create a critical mass over a wide range of the sub-disciplines of our field and its many applications areas:

  • On the fundamental research side, we offer our researchers the possibility to find within the network the complementary expertise that they often need to solve specific research problems. Temporary collaborations are set up to solve specific problems. Long term collaborations are set up in areas of longstanding activity of our network.
  • On the engineering applications side, we combine in a same workpackage researchers who have a strong background in fundamental research with more application driven people. This allows us to focus on emerging engineering challenges with an important societal impact, but for which there is still need for fundamental research progress.
  • On the training side, we allow our PhD students and post-docs to draw expertise from a much wider spectrum than they could possibly get within their own research team only. This is achieved through the Graduate School in Systems, Control, Optimization and Networks, the yearly Benelux Meeting in Systems and Control and the bi-annual DYSCO study days.
  • On the international networking side, we team up with some of the leading international research groups to enhance our international contacts and involve them in our research as well as our training activities.

Some of these objectives of our partnership are specific to our network: they result from the particular evolution of our discipline and from the combination in our network of applied mathematicians who work on a broad front of fundamental problems, and researchers who use system theoretical tools for the solution of problems in one of the many related application fields.


We have organized our research activities in three main themes or workpackages, each containing basic research subtopics as well as engineering applications.

  • WP1: Large scale data and systems - This package contains fundamental developments in optimization, model reduction, numerical methods for simulation of large scale systems and oscillatory problems but also covers several applications such as data assimilation for air quality models, biomedical data analysis and information retrieval in very large databases.
  • WP2: Estimation and modeling - This package covers the basic theoretical aspects of identification and modeling of linear and nonlinear systems, including techniques for fault detection and diagnosis, for experiment design and methods related to machine learning. In this same package we also work on applications of these techniques to process monitoring of bio-chemical reactors and on novel applications in diverse areas such as plant growth, fermentation and microbial ecology
  • WP3: Distributed systems, decision and control - In this workpackage we study the fundamental aspects of dynamics, communication, decision, control and optimization in large-scale or infinite dimensional systems and in decentralized networks. This basic research is driven by applications in biochemical processes, power systems, mechatronics, flood control, and communication networks. We also have a strong component in the modeling and control of biomedical systems.

This IAP network is built upon an existing IAP network (IAPVI/04) which succeeded in the past to coordinate the research and graduate training in "systems, control, optimization and networks" in Belgium. The experts' evaluation report of this past network mentioned that it created substantial added value for Belgium and fully met the long term objectives of the IAP program. An evaluation report of this network also stated that (quote) "in terms of numbers of prominent researchers, and in terms of the significance and the volume of its research, the Network remains the pre-eminent research grouping in systems and control, certainly in Europe, and probably in the World". In this IAP network we build on this experience and expertise and give an additional international dimension to our network by adding international collaborations with Princeton and Stanford.

Useful links : UCL | KUL | UGent | VUB | ULg | UMons | UNamur | Stanford | Princeton | MIT