Alberto Isidori 

Professor 

Alberto Isidori was born in Rapallo, Italy. He graduated in electrical engineering from the University of Rome in 1965. In 1969 he obtained a degree equivalent to a doctorate in automatic control from the University of Rome. Since 1975, he has been Professor of Automatic Control at the University of Rome ``La Sapienza". Since 1989, he has also held a position of rofessor (on a halftime basis) at the Department of Systems Science and Mathematics, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. He has held visiting positions at several academic institutions, including the University of Illinois (Urbana, Il.), the University of California (Berkeley, Ca.) and the ETH (Zurich, Switzerland). His research interests are primarily focused on mathematical control theory and control engineering. 

In 1979, Alberto Isidori initiated a research program aimed at the extension of socalled “geometric theory” of multivariable linear systems, pioneered in the early 1970's by various authors,to linear systems. Linear algebra and linear geometric methods were replaced in nonlinear systems by the methods of differential geometry, whose usefulness in the study of controllability, observability, and minimality of nonlinear systems had been demonstrated in the early 70's. The main intuition of Isidori was to use differential geometric methods in the synthesis of feedback laws for nonlinear systems, more or less in the same way as linear geometric methods were used in the synthesis of feedback laws for linear systems. The result of this seminal work was the development of systematic methods addressing outstanding design problems like feedback linearization, noninteracting control, disturbance decoupling, and model matching. From 1985 to 1990 Isidori's research concentrated on the development of the “nonlinear analogue” of the notion of “zero” of a transfer function. Taking as a point of departure the “geometric” interpretation of this notion, the concept of nonlinear zero dynamics was introduced, studied, and applied. As a result, it was shown that most of the features of the notion of zeros of the transfer function of a linear system are actually manifestations of more general principles. Remarkable examples of application of this theory consisted in the study and the solution of the nonlinear equivalent of the socalled “servomechanism problem” of linear system theory and in the characterization of the conditions for feedback equivalence to a nonlinear passive system. In the 90’s, Isidori has focused his research interests on problems of disturbance attenuation and robust stabilization of nonlinear systems.


Professional Activities 

President of the European Union Control Association (19951997). 

Awards and Honors 

Georgio Quazza Medal of IFAC, for “pionering and fundamental contributions to the theory of nonlinear control,” 1996. 

Selected Publications 
Nonlinear Control Systems (3rd edition), Springer Verlag (1995), pp. 1549. Topics in Control Theory, with W. Knobloch and D. Flockerzi, Berkhauser (1993), pp. 1166. Output Regulation of Uncertain Nonlinear Systems, with C.I. Byrnes and F. Delli Priscoli, Birkhauser (1997), pp. 1122. Trends in Control Theory (editor), Springer Verlag (1995), pp. 1422. Systems, Models and Feedback (coeditor, with T.J. Tarn), Birkhauser (1992), pp. 1402.

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