PhD Studentship
Process Systems Engineering
School of Engineering
Cranfield University

Model Predictive Control (MPC) is an advanced control technique mainly used in chemical processes. In recent years, there is considerable interest in applying MPC to other engineering systems, particularly to fast dynamic systems with significant nonlinearity, examples ranging from smart instruments to unmanned aerial vehicles. Nonlinear Model Predictive Control (NMPC) is a nature extension of MPC for nonlinear systems. However, the introducing a nonlinear model into the controller causes significant online computation burdens blocking NMPC to be used in real-time control. 

At Cranfield, a novel NMPC approach, which improves online computation speed by 2 orders of magnitude, has been developed recently. The project aims to improve the NMPC performance further by developing an embedded system using the field programmable gate array (FPGA) technique to implement the NMPC on-a-chip. A state of the art industrial standard distributed control system is available in the department to be used as a test-bed for the project to ensure the embedded system developed can be directly used for industrial applications.

A fully funded EPSRC PhD studentship for UK students only is available. It includes student tuition fee (3,178 p.a.) as well as a tax-free maintenance stipend of 12,300 for the 06/07 academic year, increasing according to EPSRC national stipend requirements for three years.  

Applicants for the post must have a first-class or upper second-class degree in engineering or related discipline. A good knowledge in either electronic or control engineering background is essential. Practical experience of instrumentation and computer programming would be a distinctive advantage.

Applicants should make initial enquiries with Dr. Yi Cao or send a CV with contact details of at least two referees to:

Dr. Yi Cao
Process Systems Engineering
School of Engineering, Cranfield University
Cranfield, Bedford, MK43 0AL
Tel: +44 1234 750111
Fax: +44 1234 758207
Email: [log in to unmask]