ResearchChemical process monitoring and control: Chemical processes are inherently nonlinear and must operate at their design constraints to achieve optimal economic performance. We have developed methods of moving horizon estimation and model predictive control to monitor and control the operation of chemical processes. This research has provided new theoretical results as well as practical, implementable methods for industrial application.
The Texas-Wisconsin-California Control Consortium (TWCCC), composed of leading chemical, microelectronic and pharmaceutical companies was created to promote these industrial collaborations. Graduate students involved in this research have many opportunities to present research results at consortium meetings and interact with industrial collaborators.
Reaction engineering at the molecular level: When reacting systems are considered at small length scales (small catalyst particles, inside living cells, etc.), the concentrations are small enough that the stochastic fluctuations cannot be neglected, and the classical standard methods of chemical reaction engineering are not applicable. The focus of our research is to develop new systems tools to support chemical reaction engineering at this molecular level.
Computational modeling: Our group has developed Octave, a freely available, high-level computer language for numerical simulation and analysis of chemical engineering models. We use Octave in order to define models quickly, compute and analyze solutions, estimate model parameters from data, and solve controller design problems.