December 2010 Spencer C. Schantz Distinguished Lecture Series

Stephen P. Boyd
Dr. Stephen P. Boyd
Stanford University

Date and Time: 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - 3:30pm

Event Location: 

Perella Auditorium, Rauch Business Center
Room 453, Mohler Lab

Public Lecture - "The Role of Embedded Optimization in Smart Systems and Products"

Many current products and systems employ sophisticated mathematical algorithms to automatically make complex decisions, or take action, in real time. Examples include recommendation engines, search engines, spam filters, on-line advertising systems, fraud detection systems, automated trading engines, revenue management systems, supply chain systems, automatic circuit synthesis and layout tools, electricity generator scheduling, flight management systems, and advanced engine controls. I'll cover the basic ideas behind these and other applications, emphasizing the central role of mathematical optimization and the associated areas of machine learning and automatic control. The talk will be nontechnical, but the focus will be on understanding the central issues that come up across many applications, such as the development or learning of mathematical models, the role of uncertainty, the idea of feedback or recourse, and computational complexity.

The Role of Embedded Optimization in Smart Systems and Products slides.

Technical Talk - "Real-Time Embedded Convex Optimization"

Joint work with Jacob Mattingley, Michael Grant, Yang Wang

This talk concerns the use of convex optimization, embedded as part of a larger system that executes automatically with newly arriving data or changing conditions, in areas such as automatic control, signal processing, real-time estimation, real-time resource allocation and decision making, and fast automated trading. Such systems are already in use in applications such as model predictive control or supply chain optimization, with sample times measured in minutes (or longer); our focus is on systems with much faster dynamics, with execution times measured in milliseconds or microseconds for small and medium size problems. We describe a preliminary implementation of an automatic code generation system, which scans a description of the problem family and performs much of the analysis and optimization of the algorithm, such as choosing variable orderings used with sparse factorizations, at code generation time; compiling the generated source code yields an extremely efficient custom solver for the problem family.

Real-Time Embedded Convex Optimization slides.

Bio Sketch: 

Dr. Stephen P. Boyd is the Samsung Professor of Engineering, and Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Information Systems Laboratory at Stanford University. His current research focus is on convex optimization applications in control, signal processing, and circuit design.

Professor Boyd received an AB degree in Mathematics, summa cum laude, from Harvard University in 1980, and a PhD in EECS from U. C. Berkeley in 1985. In 1985 he joined the faculty of Stanford’s Electrical Engineering Department. He has held visiting Professor positions at Katholieke University (Leuven), McGill University (Montreal), Ecole Polytechnique Federale (Lausanne), Qinghua University (Beijing), Universite Paul Sabatier (Toulouse), Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm), Kyoto University, and Harbin Institute of Technology. He holds an honorary doctorate from Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm.

Professor Boyd is the author of many research articles and three books: Linear Controller Design: Limits of Performance (with Craig Barratt, 1991), Linear Matrix Inequalities in System and Control Theory (with L. El Ghaoui, E. Feron, and V. Balakrishnan, 1994), and Convex Optimization (with Lieven Vandenberghe, 2004).

Professor Boyd has received many awards and honors for his research in control systems engineering and optimization, including an ONR Young Investigator Award, a Presidential Young Investigator Award, and an IBM faculty development award. In 1992 he received the AACC Donald P. Eckman Award, which is given annually for the greatest contribution to the field of control engineering by someone under the age of 35. In 1993 he was elected Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Control Systems Society, and in 1999, he was elected Fellow of the IEEE, with citation: “For contributions to the design and analysis of control systems using convex optimization based CAD tools.” He has been invited to deliver more than 30 plenary and keynote lectures at major conferences in both control and optimization.

In addition to teaching large graduate courses on Linear Dynamical Systems, Nonlinear Feedback Systems, and Convex Optimization, Professor Boyd has regularly taught introductory undergraduate Electrical Engineering courses on Circuits, Signals and Systems, Digital Signal Processing, and Automatic Control. In 1994 he received the Perrin Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching in the School of Engineering, and in 1991, an ASSU Graduate Teaching Award. In 2003, he received the AACC Ragazzini Education award, for contributions to control education, with citation: “For excellence in classroom teaching, textbook and monograph preparation, and undergraduate and graduate mentoring of students in the area of systems, control, and optimization.”