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Cybernetics in Advanced Energy and Production Systems

Plenary / Panel
english language

In our times, machines, production facilities and electricity networks are becoming increasingly smarter. This smartness is closely related to the soaring availability of computing power and the broad possibilities of digital real-time interconnection. To systematically develop, manage, control and optimise these systems, a deep understanding in systems theory and cybernetics is indispensable. Experts discuss the role of cybernetics as a driving force in the development of advanced manufacturing and energy systems.


Graduate Student Researcher, Center for Bits and Atoms, MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA Abstract
In order to manage the great complexity that our technology and world problems are driving towards we need to liberate the designer from the burden of production details. When developing a product design engineers balance the constraints of aesthetics, cost, time, manufacturing processes and capabilities. Yet they are limited by the iterations a single human can run against the endless potential configurations. Taking a hint from nature we see a limited set of base elements combine to generate the great complexity that is life. Yet that life only varies in so many ways; all life has similar machinery operating at each of its scales: proteins, to mitochondria, to bones, to muscles to cellulosic fibers. Automated assembly systems working at the molecular level enable the construction of complexity from relatively simple units. If we take the biological concept of automation with simple elements as inspiration, and reduce the scope of the design space we can actually expand the possibilities of our own manufacturing complexity.
Robotic systems have historically struggled with arbitrary environments and conditions. Similarly, optimization problems quickly become computationally infeasible even with limited variable scope. Increasing computational capacity is an option, but even with current technological projections the energy consumption required to solve even simple well posed problems quickly becomes unbounded. But if we limit the scope by discretizing the building blocks we bound both the computational and functional problem. The robotic assembly systems must not work amongst arbitrary conditions rather they are tuned to the specific building block elements - high performance Lego-like components. By limiting the construction to a set of known conditions, the remaining design constraints then become well posed enabling automation. What this ultimately leads to is a system wherein the designer is liberated to focus on the greater value abstraction of the problem while autonomous systems both solve the grueling details and perform the assembly and reconstruction of everything from custom tuned electronic systems, to arbitrarily large solar arrays, space stations, terrestrial infrastructure and more robots.
Questions: Is this something we should actually do? Will there always be a need for a designer? Are there bounds on the energy requirements of such systems?
Professor, Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering; Fellow, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO Abstract
Wind and solar energy are recognized as environmentally friendly sources of electrical energy. As they are becoming more cost effective, worldwide installations of wind and solar power have been increasing. However, science and engineering challenges still exist. It is commonly reported that the variability of wind speeds and solar irradiance are major obstacles to integrating large amounts of wind and solar energy on the utility grid. Wind and solar's variabilities create challenges because power supply and demand must match in order to maintain a constant utility grid frequency. As wind and solar energy penetrations increase to higher levels in many countries, however, systems and control techniques can be used to actively control the power generated by wind and solar farms to help regulate the grid frequency.
In this talk, we will first provide an overview of the growth of wind and solar energy worldwide and briefly review wind and solar energy technologies. The operation of the utility grid will then be outlined, where we will discuss the importance of preserving grid reliability through controlling the grid frequency (which is a measure of the balance between electrical generation and load).
We will point out the challenges in integrating large amounts of wind and solar energy, and then outline some novel ideas that are being explored to address the challenges. In particular, wind turbines and solar panels (and in turn wind and solar farms) can be controlled to help stabilize and balance the frequency of the utility grid. Results of simulation studies as well as experimental field tests will be presented to show the promise of the techniques being developed. We shall close by discussing further research avenues to enable much higher wind and solar energy penetrations while simultaneously maintaining and possibly increasing the reliability of the utility grid.
Professor, Department, Mechanical Engineering, and Associate Dean for Research, College of Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI Abstract
Rapid advances in networking and computing systems are giving unprecedented access to large volumes of data coming from manufacturing systems. These "cyber-physical systems" bring advanced computing and networking together with high-precision machines. As the systems are operating, torrents of data are generated, including information about the process, the quality of the parts being produced, how much energy is being used, etc. This "Big Data" has the potential to increase visibility into the actual production processes, although many challenges exist to take advantage of this potential.
Up until now, automation in manufacturing systems has been most successful for large-volume production of the same (or similar) products. Automation has increased quality and reduced cost, benefitting both producers and consumers. Advanced control and sensing technologies have the potential to enable automation in customized or personalized products. However, many challenges remain both in the cyber and physical sides to realize this potential.
Connecting all of the controllers and machines in a manufacturing system to the network enables the Big Data and Customized approaches, but also opens up vulnerabilities. As in any networked system, cybersecurity must be considered in the design of manufacturing control systems. The emerging field of cyber-physical security can be applied to detect any unwanted intrusions into the system.
In this talk, we will discuss several of these challenges, and present some ideas of how modeling and control theory can be used to take advantage of these potentials.
1. How can small and medium enterprises take advantage of these emerging technologies?
2. Why would people want to launch a cyberattack on a manufacturing system?
3. How much does this approach depend on the reliability and security of Cloud computing?
Head, Automation and Control Institute, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna Chair


Graduate Student Researcher, Center for Bits and Atoms, MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

1998-2000 Mechanical Engineering / Computer Science, New York University, New York, NY
2000 Web Programmer,, Oakland, CA
2001 Research Assistant, CalPoly, San Luis Obispo, CA
2001-2002 Plastics Lab Technician, CalPoly, San Luis Obispo, CA
2001-2004 Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA
2002-2003 Exchange student Maschinenbau, Fachhochschule München, Munich
2005-2006 R&D Engineer, The Polymer Technology Group, Berkeley, CA
2006-2008 Master of Science Mechanical Engineering, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
2007-2008 Graduate Student Researcher, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
2007-2008 Graduate Student Instructor, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
2008-2009 Mechanical Engineer, Makani Power, Alameda, CA
2009-2010 Mechanical Design Engineer, Meka Robotics, San Francisco, CA
2010-2011 Mechanical Design Engineer (Senior Designer), IDEO, Palo Alto, CA
2011-2013 Lead Mechanical Design Engineer, Meka Robotics/ Redwood Robotics, San Francisco, CA
since 2013 Graduate Student Researcher, MIT, Cambridge
2013-2015 Master of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
since 2015 Doctor of Philosophy Media Arts and Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Ph.D. Lucy Y. PAO

Professor, Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering; Fellow, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

1988-1992 Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
1987-1988 M.S., Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
1985-1987 B.S., Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
since 1995 Professor, Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO


Professor, Department, Mechanical Engineering, and Associate Dean for Research, College of Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

 I am a Professor in the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and I have a courtesy appointment in the EECS department. My research interests lie in the area of control systems, and I am a member of the Robotics Group and the Controls Group in the College of Engineering.
 My undergraduate degree is in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. I did my M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of California in Berkeley, in the EECS Department in the Intelligent Machines and Robotics Laboratory. As a graduate student, I had the opportunity to be a visiting scholar at various places including: the robotics group at LAAS in Toulouse, LSS at Supelec in Paris, LIDS at MIT, and the robotics lab at Harvard.
 During my sabbatical leave in 2001-2002, I was an Academic Visitor at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in Hawthorne, NY in the Performance Management Group, and a Visiting Professor at ITIA, the Institute for Industrial Technologies and Automation, in Milan, Italy. During the summer of 2003, I was a summer professor intern at DaimlerChrysler in the Advance Manufacturing Engineering group in Auburn Hills, MI. In May 2004, I taught a course (ME 360) at Shanghai JiaoTong University as part of the UM-SJTU cooperative agreement. I am an alumna of the Defense Science Study Group; see Annie Anton's web page for a description of our activities. I am also a former member of the Information Science and Technology (ISAT) Study Group.
 During my sabbatical leave in 2010-11, I was a Guest Professor in the Department of Automatic Control at Lund University in Sweden. I worked on the DIAdvisor project.
 I am now the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Engineering.

Dipl.-Ing. Dr. techn. Andreas KUGI

Head, Automation and Control Institute, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna

1986-1992 Electrical Engineering (Dipl.-Ing.), TU Graz
1992-1995 PhD in Automatic Control (Dr.techn.), JKU Linz
1995/1996 Military service in Austria
2000 venia docendi, Habilitation in Control Systems Technology and Control Theory, JKU Linz
1992-2002 Research assistant, Associate Professor, JKU Linz
2002-2007 Full professor for System Theory and Automatic Control, Saarland University, Germany
since 2007 Full professor for Complex Dynamical Systems and Head of the Automation and Control Institute (ACIN), TU Wien
since 2016 Head Complex Dynamical Systems, Austrian Institute of Technology

Technology Symposium

show timetable


13:00 - 13:10OpeningPlenary
13:10 - 14:15RTI TalkPlenary
14:30 - 14:50From Austria to Silicon Valley - Cyber Security as a Global FactorPlenary
14:50 - 16:10Cybernetics in Advanced Energy and Production SystemsPlenary
16:30 - 17:45Complexity and the New EnlightenmentPlenary
20:00 - 20:15Best of Art and ScienceCulture
20:15 - 21:15Tickets to Berlin: Falling Walls Lab Austria and Alpbach Summer School on EntrepreneurshipPlenary
21:30 - 23:00Career LoungeSocial
21:30 - 23:30Evening ReceptionSocial


09:00 - 10:30Digital MedicinePlenary
09:00 - 18:00Junior Alpbach - Science and Technology for Young PeopleBreakout
09:00 - 15:00Ö1 Children's University Alpbach - Science and Technology for KidsBreakout
10:30 - 12:30Cross-sektorale Kooperationen von ClusternPartner
11:00 - 12:30Personalized Cancer MedicinePlenary
12:30 - 13:00Lunch Snacks for the Participants of the Breakout SessionsSocial
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 01: Innovation by Making: Paradigm Shifts and New Innovation CulturesBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 02: Silicon Austria: A Game Changer for Austria as a High-Tech Location?Breakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 03: Creating the Future: How to Reinvent Innovation ProcessesBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 04: The Cycle of Innovation and its EcologyBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 05: Heavy Impact of Lightweight DesignBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 06: Looking Into the Unknown and Shifting HorizonsBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 07: Radical Innovations: More Courage to Take RisksBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 08: The Acceptance of Technologies by Pupils with Migration History - a Plea for Transcultural Competence as new EnlightenmentBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 09: Cyber Security: A Fundamental RightBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 10: Open Access & Open Innovation - Tools for a New Enlightenment?Breakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 11: Realities and Futures of RoboticsBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 12: Energiewende - Empowering ConsumersBreakout
13:00 - 18:00Breakout Session 13: Security of Supply as a Locational FactorBreakout
19:00 - 20:30Innovation Marathon: Ideas Made to Order - 24 Hours NonstopPlenary


09:00 - 10:30Art Meets Science and Technology - Towards a New EnlightenmentPlenary
10:45 - 11:45Open Innovation: New Enlightenment? Participation - Democratisation - New SolutionsPlenary
12:15 - 13:30ETH Zurich, this Year's Special Guest at the Technology SymposiumPlenary
13:30 - 14:00Snack ReceptionSocial