Electrical Engineering
      and Computer Sciences

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences


UC Berkeley


Joint Colloquium Distinguished Lecture Series

Real-time Estimation of Distributed Parameters Systems: Application to large scale infrastructure systems

Alexandre Bayan

Wednesday, September 29, 2010
306 Soda Hall (HP Auditorium)
4:00 - 5:00 pm

Alexandre Bayen
Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley

Downloadable pdf


The coupling of the physical world with information technology promises to help meet increasing demands for efficient, sustainable, and secure management of our built infrastructure and natural environment. A mathematical abstraction of the physical environment can be achieved in the form of distributed parameters systems, described by partial differential equations. Yet, initial and boundary conditions, and other model parameters necessary for complete characterization of these models are often unknown, driving the need for distributed sensing of the physical environment. Because of the nonlinearities and distributed nature inherent to these physical processes, efficient estimation algorithms to reconcile modeling and measurement errors in real-time remains an open challenge for many applications.

This work investigates the problem of real-time estimation of distributed parameters systems in the context of monitoring traffic, river flows and earthquakes. The recent explosion of smartphones with Internet connectivity, GPS and magnetometers is rapidly increasing sensing capabilities for numerous infrastructure systems. The talk will present theoretical results, algorithms and implementations designed to integrate mobile measurements obtained from smartphones into distributed parameter models of infrastructure systems. The models considered include Hamilton-Jacobi equations, first order conservation laws and systems of conservation laws. A new convex formulation of data assimilation and data reconciliation problems will be derived and demonstrated for some of these models. Other techniques developed will be briefly presented as well, relying on ensemble Kalman filtering.

The talk will focus mainly on a traffic monitoring system launched jointly by UC Berkeley and Nokia, called Mobile Millennium, which is operational in Northern California and streams more than 60 million data points a day into traffic models. The talk will also present two more recent applications of this research: the floating sensor network, for real-time riverflow reconstruction, and the iShake system, for smartphone-based real-time earthquake monitoring.


Alexandre Bayen received the Engineering Degree in applied mathematics from the Ecole Polytechnique, France, in July 1998, the M.S. degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University in June 1999, and the Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University in December 2003. He was a Visiting Researcher at NASA Ames Research Center from 2000 to 2003. Between January 2004 and December 2004, he worked as the Research Director of the Autonomous Navigation Laboratory at the Laboratoire de Recherches Balistiques et Aerodynamiques, (Ministere de la Defense, Vernon, France), where he holds the rank of Major.

He has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley since January 2005, and an Associate Professor since 2010. He is the recipient of the Ballhaus Award from Stanford University, 2004, of the CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, 2009 and he is a NASA Top 10 Innovators on Water Sustainability, 2010. His projects Mobile Century and Mobile Millennium received the 2008 Best of ITS Award for ‘Best Innovative Practice’, at the ITS World Congress and a TRANNY Award from the California Transportation Foundation, 2009.

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