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Research Statement

Adrin Ramrez, Ph.D.

My research interests are in the areas of stability and control of time-delay systems and
power systems. Particular topics include: LyapunovKrasovskii approaches to the
stability analysis of time-delay systems (Cuvas, Ramrez, Egorov, and Mondi, 2014),
control of unmanned aircraft vehicles in the presence of time-delays (Espinoza,
L. Garca, Ramrez, and Mondi, 2016), and power quality improvement utilizing active
power converters (Lira, Nez, Visairo, Ramrez, and Sira, 2012). My recent research
concerns the development and application of delay-based controllers to address practical
problems in engineering employing frequency domain methods.
Many disciplines (e.g., engineering) associate time-delays with poor performance and
instability. However, little is known about their potential benets. To test for the role of
time-delays in system dynamics, I intentionally induced them on a class of linear systems
using delay-based controllers. By implementing these control schemes in real-world
engineering applications, I was able to conclude that time-delays can provide useful
properties to feedback loops in practice, namely: stability, robustness, and noise
attenuation.

Practical attributes of delay-based controllers


Initially, I proposed the Integral Retarded (IR) controller to regulate the velocity of a servo
system based on the availability of only position measurements and obviating the use of
velocity sensors or velocity approximations. An appealing feature observed during
experiments was that the deliberate introduction of a single time-delay led to a very
easy-to-implement control law. This means that delay-based controllers can be
particularly useful from a practical point of view as their implementation does not require
additional considerations (Ramrez, Garrido, and Mondi, 2015).
Motivated by the practical nature of the IR controller, I next proposed the Proportional
Integral Retarded (PIR) controller to alleviate the implementation issues in one of the
most popular and widespread used controllers: the Proportional Integral Derivative (PID)
controller. Currently, PID controllers have become ubiquitous in industrial applications.
Their implementation, however, can prove rather diicult under noisy measurement
environments, with the main reason being the derivative part amplifying high-frequency
measurement noise. This leads to the exclusion of derivative parts, hence control eort
rests only on proportional and integral parts, e.g., PI control. The PIR controller, on the
other hand, utilizes a delayed control action able to replace the pure derivative term on a
PID controller, thus by-passing implementation problems (Ramrez, Mondi, Garrido,
and Sipahi, 2016).

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Understanding the positive eects of time-delays


In practical applications, the uncertainty induced by unavoidable measurement noise
remains to be a signicant problem that generates undesired control activity. Although
recent advances in sensor technology, ltering is still essential if the control energy is
constrained to a feasible limit. Interestingly, delay-based controllers can be arranged to
become insensitive to high-frequency noise, thus avoiding the need for additional ltering
of measurements.
In the case of the IR and PIR controllers, I reduced the impact of noise by including a
proportional term with an appropriate time-delay. The retarded part was able to mimic a
pure derivative action, showing a quick response to input changes, but being insensitive
to measurement noise. The fact that the derivatives of high-frequency components were
averaged close to zero, facilitated real-time implementation and allowed me to introduce
both IR and PIR controllers as preferable substitutes to benchmark PI and PID
controllers (Ramrez, Garrido, Sipahi, and Mondi, 2016).
To investigate whether time-delays confer an advantage for problems that are relevant in
industry, I conducted experimental studies in a servo system. I found that within the
servo operating region, the energy required for control remained bounded; i.e., no control
saturation was generated. Drawing on experimental evidence, it became clear that the
noise attenuation property of delay-based controllers was the basis for their ease of
implementation. Yet, a method for selecting the controller gains and the intentional
time-delay was still needed.

Analytical approach to tuning of delay-based controllers


In general, delay-based controllers lack a clear tuning methodology, thus rely on
numerical methods or even on the user expertise to achieve a successful
implementation. To preserve their practical character, I developed a fully analytic
methodology able to extract easy-to-compute tuning formulas for practitioners.
Considering a class of time-delay systems, the methodology quantied their reaction
time to control commands by using resultants and discriminants of multi-parameter
polynomials, with the surprising result that the fastest velocity of response was
characterized by the convergence of three characteristic roots towards the dominant
position in the complex plane. This allowed me to derive a pole-placement technique
resulting in exact tuning formulas for control design and stability analysis (Ramrez,
Sipahi, Mondi, and Garrido, 2015).

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Control of unmanned aircraft vehicles with time-delay


With a deeper understanding of the interplay between the response time and the
spectrum distribution of a time-delay system, I next switched to design control strategies
for unmanned aircraft vehicles. In recent years, on-board imaging sensing systems have
appeared as an appealing solution for increasing the autonomy of robotic agents.
Nevertheless, the incorporation of vision-based measurements may generate instability
due to time-delays in image processing. Employing a set of necessary stability
conditions that depend exclusively on the Lyapunov matrix of the system (Cuvas,
Ramrez, Egorov, and Mondi, 2014), I proposed a control scheme able to guarantee
closed-loop stability with improved velocity of response (Ramrez, Espinoza, L. Garca,
Mondi, A. Garca, and Lozano, 2014).

Signicance and prospects


The signicance of my ndings spans to a variety of technological applications where
delayed control actions arise to solve implementation problems of extensively used
controllers. The main theoretical contribution of my research work consists of a
systematic methodology that, unlike any other available methods, is able to establish
algebraic tuning formulas for delay-based controllers. Having computed the numerical
values of the controller parameters real-time implementation becomes straightforward,
and the stability of the overall control loop is guaranteed due to the knowledge of its
spectrum distribution. Now, we have a better understanding of the eects of time-delays
in systems dynamics.
Further research directions include extending the study to multiple time-delay cases and
developing systematic methodologies for the analysis, design, and implementation of: (i)
broader classes of delay-based controllers and (ii) cooperative dynamic networks. Upon
securing a postdoctoral position, I will build on these ideas by using time domain and
frequency domain methods to test for unique applications of time-delays and their eects
in system dynamics. Handling the innitely many characteristic roots induced by multiple
time-delays is challenging. Yet, dealing with this problem is feasible utilizing recent
results based on LyapunovKrasovskii functionals or Rekasius transformations.

References

Lira, J., Nez, C., Visairo, N., Ramrez, A., and Sira, H. (2012). A robust non-linear
control scheme for a sag compensator active multilevef rectier without sag detection
algorithm. In: IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics 27.8, pp. 35763583.

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Cuvas, C., Ramrez, A., Egorov, A., and Mondi, S. (2014). Necessary conditions for
the stability of one delay systems: a Lyapunov matrix approach. In: Delay systems:
from theory to numerics and applications. Vyhldal, T., Lafay, J. F., and Sipahi, R., Eds.
London: Springer, pp. 316.
Ramrez, A., Espinoza, E., Garca, L., Mondi, S., Garca, A., and Lozano, R. (2014).
Stability analysis of a vision-based UAV controller: an application to autonomous road
following missions. In: Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems 74.1-2, pp. 6989.
Ramrez, A., Garrido, R., and Mondi, S. (2015). Velocity control of servo systems using
an integral-retarded controller. In: ISA Transactions 58.8, pp. 357366.
Ramrez, A., Sipahi, R., Mondi, S., and Garrido, R. (2015). Design of maximum decay
rate for SISO systems with delayed output feedback using elimination theory. In: Proceedings of the 12th IFAC workshop on time delay systems. Michigan, USA.
Espinoza, E., Garca, L., Ramrez, A., and Mondi, S. (2016). Algebraic dominant pole
placement methodology for unmanned aircraft systems with time-delay. In: IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems 52.3.
Ramrez, A., Garrido, R., Sipahi, R., and Mondi, S. (2016). On delay-based control of
low-order LTI systems: a simple alternative to PI/PID implementations in noisy environments. In: Proceedings of the 13th IFAC workshop on time delay systems. Istanbul,
Turkey.
Ramrez, A., Mondi, S., Garrido, R., and Sipahi, R. (2016). Design of proportionalintegral-retarded (PIR) controllers for second-order LTI systems. In: IEEE Transaction
on Automatic Control 61.6, pp. 16881693.

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