Erik Ydstie

Carnegie Mellon University, USA 

"Thermodynamics, Control and Networked Systems"


The second law of thermodynamics defines the geometric structure of thermodynamic phase space and form the basis for such key properties and duality, dissipation and stability. In the past decade, this geometric structure has led to new and exciting developments that provide connections amongst thermodynamics, nonlinear control, observer theory and optimization of open (irreversible) chemical processes and large networks. A number of different mathematical approaches have been taken to capitalize on these structures. The aim of the seminar is to review some research directions and show how control and stability problems of interest to chemical engineers can be solved using these approaches. One specific aim is to show how Gibbs tangent plane stability theory for isolated systems, generalize to open systems. Applications to be discussed include the multi-component flash, distillation columns, particulate systems with application to the calibration of global aerosol models with satellite data, and stabilization of silicon wafer processes.

Faculty Host: Stevan Dubljevic


B. Erik Ydstie holds a BS and MS degree in Chemistry from NTNU (1977) and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College (1982).  From 1982 till 1992 he taught in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts. Since 1992 he has been a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, where he also holds a position of Professor of Electrical Engineering. From 1999 to 2000 he was Director of R&D with ELKEM ASA where he restructured the R&D organization and initiated R&D programs aimed towards developing new processes for making aluminum and high purity silicon for solar cells. He was Professor II of Material Science and Electrical Engineering at NTNU from 2001 till 2015.  In 2005 he founded iLS Inc., to commercializes nonlinear control systems using machine learning technology. He has served on the advisory boards of the American Chemical Society, Petroleum Research Fund and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He has held visiting positions at Imperial College, Ecoles des Mines, Paris, UNSW in Australia, and UCL Louvain in Belgium. His current areas of research are process control and machine learning, irreversible thermodynamics, process modeling, crystallization, global aerosol modeling, and solar cells.

Erik Ydstie

"Thermodynamics, Control and Networked Systems."

Date: Thursday, October 5, 2017

Time: 3:30 pm

Location: ETLC 1-001