Spring 2009


Control of a machine tool for sheet metal working

In this project, the robust RST controller design for an hydraulic machine tool is considered. Nowadays, hydraulic systems find a wide variety of applications in the industrial world. They provide many advantages over electrical motors, including high durability and the ability to produce large forces. Unfortunately, the dynamic characteristics of hydraulic machines are relatively difficult to control. The RST Controllers, that can ensure high performances for industrial systems, are suitable for these applications. Since the parameter tuning of RST controllers is not intuitive, in contrast to well-known PID controllers, some tuning methods are developed in the Automatic Control Laboratory. A new method, based on the frequency-domain data and using convex optimization approach, will be used for the control of the considered machine.
The objective of the project is to design an RST controller to improve the machine performance. In the first step some non-parametric frequency-domain models are identified in different operating points. Then, using the proposed method, a robust controller is designed to guarantee as well stability and performance for all identified models. In the final step, the controller will be applied on the real system and its performance will be evaluated.
This project is proposed in collaboration with a Swiss numerical control manufacturer.

Professor: Roland Longchamp and Alireza Karimi
Type of project: Semester
Contact: Gorka Galdos
Student: Gregor Schuetz


Adaptive highways

The navigation of multi-vehicle systems in grid-based environments is considered in this work. In particular, we study the problem in dense environments having a considerably high number of vehicles with respect to the
grids. Under such circumstances, the congestion is well known to unfavorably affect the performance of the system.

In our framework, every agent is provided with an internal path planner and allowed to communicate with a nearby control center in order to reserve and/or free slots. Hence, the vehicles are able to interact with each
other as well as with the control center in order to forecast the conflicts in advance and utilize this information for re-planning whenever the shortest path becomes congested.

A reliable communication protocol combined with a fast, efficient path planning algorithm is required to develop control schemes that improve the throughput of the system. The ability of the proposed strategy to adapt
itself with changes in the structure and parameters of the system in addition to augmenting the average velocities of the vehicles are amongst central aspects of this work. Besides, we are interested to study the traffic patterns that may evolve from the rules of the highway and their relationship with how the navigation scheme functions.

This project is carried out in collaboration with Prof. Raffaello D’Andrea (



MER : Denis Gillet
Type of project: Master
Student: Hajir Roozbehani




Mobile interface for a Web 2.0 collaborative application

The aim of this project is to design and implement a mobile interface for eLogbook. eLogbook is a Web 2.0 Social Software application designed for sustaining collaboration for online communities. It can simultaneously serve as a shared repository, a communication and networking platform as well as a task management system. Its mobile interface should be adaptive and user-friendly. It should allow community members to interact with each other anytime and anywhere using their mobile devices. It should also provide a ubiquitous access to the knowledge resources and to the events notifications. Special techniques such as text-to-speech can be incorporated to allow an easier exploitation of resources, notably when the target device has limited display facilities. This project requires students to have good programming skills.

MER : Denis Gillet
Type of project: Semester
Contact: Sandy El Helou
Student: Vincent Delort



Control of inverted pendulum with restricted car travel

The project aims at extending the controller developed using the SIM (Successive Invariant Manifold) algorithm for inverted pendulums to the inverted pendulum with restricted cart travel. The nonlinear controller developed using the SIM technique assumes infinite travel for the cart (travel without restriction), but in practice the cart has a restricted travel. Therefore, for most initial conditions, the controller generates a very large travel for the cart. The aim of this project is to develop a strategy so as to induce restricted travel of the cart. The student will study the controller developed using the SIM algorithm and make appropriate changes so that the pendulum can be brought to the unstable inverted position even with restricted cart travel.

Professor: Dominique Bonvin
Type of project: Master
Contact: Willson Shibani and Philippe Müllhaupt
Student: David Ingram



End-to-end model for streaming AJAX transmission

Some of the Laboratoire d’Automatique setups can be remotely accessed via a Java applet (http://lawww.epfl.ch/page13172.html). This applet implements minimal end-to-end bandwidth adaptation on top of the UDP protocol. We would like to remove the java dependencies by using web 2.0 technologies (Ajax). Preliminary work shows promising results when using streaming HttpRequest. The aims of this project are to consolidate the initial Ajax code, to model the end-to-end transmission QoS (Quality of service) and to devise a controller that enforces transmission latency. The student should be familiar with Web technologies (Ajax, Javascript) or strongly willing to learn them.

MER : Denis Gillet
Type of project: Semester
Contact: Christophe Salzmann
Student: Henry Genet



Trust and Reputation in Web 2.0 Collaborative Learning Social Software

As remote interactions between distant parties become pervasive these days, research on trust and reputation issues has recently become a key concern in human computer interaction of social software. The project aims at analyzing opportunities and needs for implementing trust, competence and reputation enforcement features in the eLogbook  Web  2.0 Collaborative learning social software. Solutions suitable for informal learning communities will be investigated rather than for eCommerce.

MER : Denis Gillet
Type of project: Master
Contact: Sandy El Helou, Sire Stéphane
Student: Na Li