Chen earned the award for his “contributions to control, estimation and analysis of large-scale multi-agent systems, including ensemble control theory, ensemble estimation theory, ensemble system identification and networked control theory,” according to the American Automatic Control Council, which grants the award.
Chen said he feels fortunate to get to pursue his research interests in the mathematical frameworks of ensemble control, which has applications in quantum spin systems, biological systems, unmanned aerial vehicles and robotics.
“Ensemble control is an emerging research area and is still under active development,” he said. “I look forward to making more contributions to the area and to establishing various collaborations with my colleagues on relevant topics.”
The award was announced during the 2021 American Control Conference, sponsored by the AACC and held virtually in May. The council is planning to host an in-person award ceremony next year, and Chen has been invited to give a plenary talk at next year’s American Control Conference.
Chen was also one of three ECEE faculty members to receive an National Science Foundation CAREER Award for 2021 – one of the NSF’s highest honors for young faculty members.
“Professor Chen’s research, which focuses on rigorous mathematical modeling and control system theory, has the potential for substantial impact on the performance of large, complex, networked systems,” said Chris Myers, chair of the Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering. “We’re very lucky to have him as part of our research and teaching community.”
Chen earned his BS in electronic engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing and his PhD in electrical engineering from Harvard University. In addition to the Eckman and CAREER awards, he is also an awardee of the 2020 Air Force Young Investigator Program. His current research interests are in the areas of control theory, stochastic processes, optimization and game theory and their applications in modeling, analysis, control and estimation of large-scale complex systems.
Chen is not the first CU Boulder faculty member to receive the Eckman Award. Recent recipients also include former ECEE faculty members Behrouz Touri and Jason Marden.
The AACC is an association of the control systems divisions of nine member societies, including IEEE, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.