Institution of Mechanical Engineers IMechE

I'm a control engineer: ask me what I do

11 March 2010

Presented by Professor Ian Postlethwaite, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Northumbria University

"What do you do?"

"I’m a control engineer."

"That’s interesting; have you tried the black forest gateau?"

Control is an enabling technology which allows us to explore outer space, to transport ourselves around the world, to manufacture a myriad of commonplace devices and products, to maintain our homes at comfortable temperatures, to understand complex biological networks, to develop new processes and systems that will shape our futures as we try to reduce emissions and look for more efficient energy sources. So why do we find it difficult to engage the public interest? Perhaps we are to blame for not articulating the impact that control has on our everyday lives. And now HEFCE wants to measure our impact and reward researchers who “deliver demonstrable benefits to the economy, society, public policy, culture and the quality of life”. This will focus minds.

In this lecture, Ian will describe some examples of the impact his research has had in the field of robust multivariable control and look at areas for future study.

Ian Postlethwaite read electrical engineering at Imperial College, followed by a PhD in control engineering at Cambridge. He was a lecturer at Oxford University before accepting a Chair at Leicester University at the age of 34. At Leicester he was Head of the Engineering Department and then a Pro-Vice-Chancellor. He is now Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Northumbria University. His research involves theoretical contributions to the field of robust multivariable control and the application of advanced control system design to engineering systems.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the IEEE, the IET and the InstMC. He has received various prizes and awards for his work and is a co-author with Sigurd Skogestad of the highly cited Multivariable Feedback Control (Wiley, 1996 and 2005).


I'm a control engineer: ask me what I do

: Professor Ian Postlethwaite

Duration: 1 hour 29 min