[3/24/2020 UPDATE] We will hold a shortened online meeting on 3/26/2020 from 10 am – 1 pm CDT (GMT-5), and then at a later date, as soon as practical, we will follow-up with an in-person meeting. The online event will be free, and will be open to up to 300 remote participants. Please also consider subscribing to the control co-design (CCD) listserv, an email list for the CCD research community. Online meeting and workshop updates are being sent to this list. Details for connecting to the online meeting via Zoom will be emailed to this list as well.

We hope that the combination of the online meeting and a future in-person workshop will help accomplish our original workshop goals, including both research community formation and identification of research priorities at the intersection of physical and control system design. Registration for the in-person workshop is closed at present, but will reopen once a new in-person workshop date is finalized. If you have already registered, the registration fee paid will apply to the rescheduled in-person workshop.

General Information


The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and North Carolina State University are pleased to announce the Workshop on Integrated Design of Active Dynamic Systems (IDADS), which is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and will focus on bringing together a diverse set of viewpoints related to the topic of combined physical and control system design (commonly termed co-design, or more precisely, control co-design). This workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to:

  • Connect with a diverse domain of researchers on an emerging subject with extremely high scholarly and societal impact;
  • Collaboratively identify strategies for industry adoption of control co-design (CCD) methodologies and tools;
  • Be a part of defining how science is done in future control co-design work;
  • Shape potential future opportunities for control co-design research, and help establish a new interdisciplinary research community.

The objective of this workshop is to bring together scientific and technical expertise from the dynamics and controls, the engineering design research, and other relevant communities to craft and engage fundamental research questions at the interface of physical and control system design. We also seek involvement of individuals with significant experience in application domains that stand to benefit from advancement and adoption of CCD methods (e.g., aerospace, automotive, precision manufacturing, etc.). We hope that this effort will lead to the creation of a new research community that can move forward with 1) theoretical frameworks for active system design, 2) creation and analysis of integrated active system design methods with new levels of design and modeling fidelity, and 3) development of tools for engineering practice, such as design automation methods and validated design guidelines, with potential for significant societal impact. We envision continued regular interactions in different forms, including technical collaboration, future CCD community meetings, and identification of additional technical communities who may contribute to or benefit from CCD activities.


The overall performance of actively-controlled systems can be improved, sometimes very significantly, by treating physical and control aspects of system design together in an integrated way. Examples of physical system design decisions include geometric, inertial, material, and configuration variables. Optimization of a physical system design is the subject of significant ongoing efforts in design optimization research. Control variables, on the other hand, include parameters/settings that are manipulated in the real-time software. The potential improvement from treating physical and control design together exists due to design coupling, which arises because physical system design decisions influence how the control system should be designed, and vice versa. 

The existence of design coupling in actively controlled engineering systems has been recognized for a few decades, and several research initiatives have focused on creating new methods to capitalize on this coupling to improve system performance. Most notably, control structure interaction (CSI) was an area of high research activity in the 1980s and 1990s, aiming to simultaneously reduce structural mass while meeting requirements on structural dynamics (vibration, positional accuracy, etc.) and other failure modes. While this earlier work has resulted in important integrated methods and their validation, it largely focused on specific systems such as flexible structures for space applications. Unifying theory and methods have yet to be created. Similarly, co-design work carried out within the control systems community in the 2000s established several promising frameworks for combined plant and controller design, but the theoretical guarantees have been limited to systems with restrictive structures (e.g., linear systems, unidirectional coupling) and have been validated only on relatively simple, low-order applications. This workshop will focus on new interdisciplinary research initiatives that not only leverage earlier work, but address completely new elements at the interface of physical and control system design. This event will bring together researchers with strategically complementary expertise to begin filling the existing gaps in CCD theory, methods, and other factors influencing industry adoption. We hope that this community building effort will create new research capabilities and increase impact compared to continuing current separate research efforts.

Workshop Aims

  • Begin construction of unifying theory for general integrated design methods for actively controlled dynamic engineering systems.
  • Articulate the interface between the engineering design and control systems research domains, including defining terminology and language and understanding, as well as identification of scientific needs and strategies at this interface.
  • Build upon earlier work in integrated design methods, while also raising the profile and general awareness of these efforts so that researchers working in various areas related to integrated active system design can combine their efforts to have greater impact.
  • Identify collaborative research opportunities that could result in new theory or design tools with new capabilities.
  • Critique of CCD research advancements and identify factors limiting high-impact adoption of CCD methods in systems engineering practice.