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“We know how to optimally control a low-dimensional system since the 1950s. However, this is not possible for large-dimensional and networked systems, such as drone swarms and smart grids, due to the so-called curse of dimensionality. Finding control laws closer and closer to optimal for such systems is an exciting endeavor I dedicate my time to.”

Research profile

Duarte Antunes is an Assistant Professor at Mechanical Engineering Department at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). He is part of the Control Systems Technology Group. His teaching and research activities revolve around control theory. Building upon a strong mathematical formalism, control theory deals with decision-making problems throughout time, where a desired behavior for a system needs to be achieved. Examples include a lithography machine to be placed with nanometer precision, an autonomous car avoiding obstacles, a cell regulating its mRNA, an economical agent maximizing its profit.

Duarte’s research expertise lies in optimal and stochastic control and networked control systems. Optimally controlling a large-dimensional system is hampered by the so-called curse of dimensionality, and one of Duarte’s research interests is to find approximate control strategies, which are close to optimal. Another strong research interest is control systems interconnected by communication networks, such as a robot which off-loads computationally demanding tasks to the cloud. Here, not only latencies have to be taken into account, but also the use of the cloud is expensive, which leads to using control only when needed (event-triggered control). Recently, he started working on robotics, in particular quadcopters.

Academic background

Duarte Antunes received the Licenciatura in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Lisbon, in 2005. He obtained his PhD (with honors) in 2011 at the Institute for Systems and Robotics, IST, Lisbon, in the research field of Automatic Control, under the supervision of Carlos Silvestre (IST) and João Hespanha (University of California, Santa Barbara).

On several occasions, prior to obtaining his PhD, he worked as a teaching assistant at the mathematics department at IST. From 2011 to 2013, he worked as a post-doc at the Hybrid and Networked Systems group (TU/e) headed by Maurice Heemels. In 2013, he was appointed Assistant professor at the Control Systems Technology Group headed by Maarten Steinbuch, Mechanical Engineering (TU/e). He was tenured in 2016. He teaches the course of optimal control and dynamic programming at TU/e and is responsible for two other teaching activities related to robotics.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


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