Author's School

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Author's Department/Program

Electrical and Systems Engineering


English (en)

Date of Award

Summer 9-1-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Jr-Shin Li


Ensemble control involves the manipulation of an uncountably infinite collection of structurally identical or similar dynamical systems, which are indexed by a parameter set, by applying a common control without using feedback. This subject is motivated by compelling problems in quantum control, sensorless robotic manipulation, and neural engineering, which involve ensembles of linear, bilinear, or nonlinear oscillating systems, for which analytical control laws are infeasible or absent. The focus of this dissertation is on novel analytical paradigms and constructive control design methods for practical ensemble control problems. The first result is a computational method %based on the singular value decomposition (SVD) for the synthesis of minimum-norm ensemble controls for time-varying linear systems. This method is extended to iterative techniques to accommodate bounds on the control amplitude, and to synthesize ensemble controls for bilinear systems. Example ensemble systems include harmonic oscillators, quantum transport, and quantum spin transfers on the Bloch system. To move towards the control of complex ensembles of nonlinear oscillators, which occur in neuroscience, circadian biology, electrochemistry, and many other fields, ideas from synchronization engineering are incorporated. The focus is placed on the phenomenon of entrainment, which refers to the dynamic synchronization of an oscillating system to a periodic input. Phase coordinate transformation, formal averaging, and the calculus of variations are used to derive minimum energy and minimum mean time controls that entrain ensembles of non-interacting oscillators to a harmonic or subharmonic target frequency. In addition, a novel technique for taking advantage of nonlinearity and heterogeneity to establish desired dynamical structures in collections of inhomogeneous rhythmic systems is derived.


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