Name of the graduate school

The name of the graduate school will be Graduate School in Systems, Optimization, Control and Networks. The French title will be Ecole doctorale thématique en Systèmes, Optimisation, Commande et Réseaux.

Graduate colleges

Because of the inter-disciplinary nature of the themes of the school, it will belong to the following Graduate Colleges (écoles doctorales près le F.R.S.-FNRS) 

  • Graduate College in Engineering Sciences (Ecole Doctorale en Sciences de l’Ingénieur) 
  • Graduate College in Sciences (Ecole Doctorale en Sciences)
Participating teams and description of research theme

The graduate school gathers teams of the French Community (UCL, ULB, ULg, UNamur and FPMs) and of the Flemish Community (KUL, VUB and UGent) of Belgium. The proposal essentially merges the Graduate School in Systems and Control (which started in 1992 as an initiative of the Interuniversity Attraction Pole on Modelling, Simulation and Control of Complex Systems) with the Graduate Program in Mathematical Programming (which has been sponsored by the F.R.S.-FNRS as a 3rd cycle program since 1994). The participating teams are active in the area of Systems, Optimization, Control and Networks, or have strong interests in topics related to it. A common research theme pursued by the participating teams consists in the modelling of certain systems and phenomena with the purpose of controlling or optimizing their behavior and performance. These models are based on dynamical systems, differential (or difference) equations and mathematical programming formulations. Research of the participating teams focusses on the identification, analysis, control and optimization of these models, including the corresponding theory, algorithmic aspects and numerical resolution techniques. This area of growing interest finds numerous applications in various fields such as automatic control, biotechnology and biomedical engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, production and supply chain management and planning, process engineering, robotics, routing, traffic or service networks and signal processing.

The different universities and teams involved are listed below. For each of them we provide a number of keywords describing its research activities related to the themes of the graduate school, a list of the permanent academic and scientific staff involved and a list of doctoral students currently enrolled.

3.1 UCL

INMA/CESAME (Center of Systems Engineering and Applied Mechanics) Contact person: Paul Van Dooren Research activities : systems and control theory, numerical linear algebra, neural networks, nonlinear control, networks, hybrid systems. Staff : (8) Bastin Georges, Blondel Vincent, Campion Guy, Dochain Denis, GeversMichel, Lefèvre Philippe, Van Dooren Paul, Wertz Vincent Doctoral students currently enrolled : (24) Aylaj, Aksikas, Coulaud, Daye, de Kerchove, Delvenne, Ferrera, Franc¸ois, Fraikin, Guffens, Haut, Hendrickx, Ho, Ninove, Orban, Provost, Ronsse, Schreiber, Simeonova, Solari, Theys, Trinh, White, Ykman

CEREM (Center for Research in Mechatronics) Contact person : Paul Fisette Research activities : design, modelling and optimization of mechatronic systems, multibody dynamics Staff : (5) Samin Jean-Claude, Fisette Paul, Raucent Benoˆıt, Labrique Francis, Dehez Bruno Doctoral students currently enrolled : (7) Collard, Delannoy, Ganovsky, Kluyskens, Smal, Tran Duy, Vloebergh

INMA/CORE (Center for Operations Research and Econometrics) Contact person : Franc¸ois Glineur Research activities : mixed integer programming, convex optimization, operations research, networks Staff : (5) Glineur Franc¸ois, Nesterov Yurii, Smeers Yves, Wolsey Laurence, Loute Etienne Doctoral students currently enrolled : (4) Baes, Sadykov, Malkin, Warichet

IAG/POMS (Production, Operation Management and Management Science) Contact person : Yves Pochet Research activities : operations research, mixed integer programming, networks, supply chain management Staff : (5) Agrell Per, Chevalier Philippe, Fortz Bernard, Pochet Yves, Semal Pierre Doctoral students currently enrolled: (8) Botton, Brusset, de le Court, Kasperzec, Lorenz, Tancrez, ¨Umit, Van den Schriek

3.2 ULB

SAAS (Automatique et analyse des systèmes) Contact person : Michel Kinnaert Research activities : modelling, identification, control, fault detection, process industry. Staff : (2) Hanus Raymond, Kinnaert Michel Doctoral students currently enrolled : (2) Grosfils, Maddens

MECA (Active Structures Laboratory) Contact person : André Preumont Research activities : active structural control and vibration damping, mechatronics, robotics, SMART structures Staff : (1) Preumont André Doctoral students currently enrolled : (5) Avraam, Colette, Marneffe, Ganguli, Kalyani

GEOM (Géométrie, Combinatoire et Théorie des Groupes) Contact person : Jean-Paul Doignon Research activities : algorithms and geometric structures, polytopes, convex sets, combinatorial optimization Staff : (2) Doignon Jean-Paul, Fiorini Samuel Doctoral students currently enrolled : (3) Christophe, Joret, Labarre

GOM (Graphes et Optimisation Mathématique) Contact person : Martine Labbé Research activities : mathematical programming, combinatorial optimization, networks and graphs Staff : (1) Labbé Martine Doctoral students currently enrolled : (5) Fasbender, Heilporn, Huygens, Mélot, Ozsoy

3.3 ULg

SYST (Systems and Control) Contact person : Rodolphe Sepulchre Research activities : nonlinear systems, networks of oscillators, dynamics of collective motion, geometry of optimization algorithms, stochastic methods, computer vision, machine learning, power systems, bioinformatics Staff : (2) Sepulchre Rodolphe, Wehenkel Louis Doctoral students currently enrolled : (7) Dechesne, Gerard, Germay, Ronsse, Stan, Auvray, del Angel

HEC (Ecole de Gestion) Contact person : Yves Crama Research activities: operations research, production management, combinatorial optimization, integer programming Staff : (3) Crama Yves, Colson Gèrard, Schijns Micha¨el Doctoral students currently enrolled : (2) Bay, Fauconnier RUN (Research Unit in Networks) Contact person : Guy Leduc Research activities : computer networks, traffic engineering and optimization, congestion control, autonomic networks Staff : (1) Leduc Guy Doctoral students currently enrolled: (7) Balon, Calomme, El Khayat, Franc¸ois, Lepropre, Martin, Soldani

3.4 UNamur

OCTA (Optimization and Control: Theory and Applications) Contact person : Joseph Winkin Research activities : nonlinear optimization, convex analysis, dynamical system modelling, finite and infinite dimensional systems, optimal control, feedback Staff : (4) Callier Frank, Nguyen Van Hien, Strodiot Jean-Jacques, Winkin Joseph Doctoral students currently enrolled : (4) Beauthier, Nguyen, Pastor, Xhonneux AnNum (Analyse Numérique) Contact person : Philippe Toint Research activities : nonlinear continuous optimization, large-scale problems, software, interior point methods Staff : (2) Annick Sartenaer, Philippe Toint Doctoral students currently enrolled : (5) Demaseure, Wanufelle, Sainvitu, Weber, Tshimanga

Quan (Méthodes Quantitatives) Contact person : Franc¸ois Louveaux Research activities : operations research, stochastic models, transport problems, networks Staff : (1) Louveaux Franc¸ois Doctoral students currently enrolled : (2) Thijs, Verheyden

3.5 FPMs

AUTO (Unité d’Automatique) Contact person : Alain Vande Wouwer Research activities : automatic control, bioprocess modeling, state estimation, robust control, vehicle positioning, numerical simulation Staff : (3) Remy Marcel, Renotte Christine, Vande Wouwer Alain Doctoral students currently enrolled : (6) David, Goffaux, Lepore, Levrie, Renard, Witsel MATHRO (Mathématique et Recherche Opérationnelle) Contact person : Marc Pirlot Research activities : operations research, production planning, multi-criteria optimization and decision Staff : (5) Teghem Jacques, Fortemps Philippe, Pirlot Marc, Saucez Philippe, Tuyttens Daniel Doctoral students currently enrolled: (4) Bellabdaoui, Chaabane, Souai, Yougbare

3.6 KUL

ESAT/SCD (Signals, Identification, System Theory and Automation; Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography; Document Architectures) Contact person : Joos Vandewalle Research activities : systems and control theory, numerical linear algebra, signal processing, neural networks, biomedics, bioinformatics, communication. Staff : (8) Vandewalle Joos, De Moor Bart, Barbé Andre, Moonen Marc, Moreau Yves, Suykens Johan, Van Huffel Sabine, Willems Jan Doctoral students currently enrolled : (94) Aerts, Allemeersch, Alzate, Ameye, Antal, Barhumi, Barjas-Blanco, Batina, Bellemans, Berden, Bex, Bormans, Bosschaert, Bosselaers, Braeken, Buijs, Cappaert, Cendrillon, Coessens, Cuypers, De Bie, De Brabanter, De Canniere, De Mulder, De Neuter, Deng, Depuydt, Devos, Dewitte, Duhoux, Durinck, Engelen, Geerits, Gevaert, Gillijns, Glenisson, Goethals, Herlea, Hoegaerts, Hostens, Janssens, Karsmakers, Klasen, Kucuk, Lano, Laudadio, Lemmens, Lerouge, Lukas, Maerivoet, Maier, Mathys, Mentens, Monsieurs, Morren, Munoz, Mihai Muresan, Paepen, Papy, Pelckmans, Pels, Pluymers, Pochet, Poullet, Rousseaux, Sakiyama, Sassaman, Schellekens, Schiettecatt, Schuermans, Seys, Sheng, Sima, Singelee, Tandur, Thys, Tsiaflakis, Van Delm, Van den Nest, Van Dromme, Van Hellemont, Van Herpe, Van Loo, Van Meerbergen, van Waterschoot, Vangorp, Vanhaute, Vanluyten, Vergult, Wolf, Wouters, Wyseur, Ysebaert

CS (Computer Science - Numerical Analysis and Applied Mathematics) Contact person : Dirk Roose Research activities : numerical analysis, applied mathematics, computational science and engineering, scientific software, large scale simulation Staff : (7) Bultheel Adhemar, Dierckx Paul, Haegemans Ann, Piessens Robert, Roose Dirk, Van Barel Marc, Vandewalle Stefan Doctoral students currently enrolled : (19) Boonen, Codevico, Delvaux, Demarsin, Huybrechts, Maes, Samaey, Seynaeve, Speleers, Van Aerschot, Vandebril, Van Camp, Van Gucht, Vandekerckhove, Van Leemput, Van Lent, Verheyden, Verleye, Volodine

BioTeC (Bioprocess Technology and Control) Contact person : Jan Van Impe Research activities : model based design, optimization, control, (bio)chemical processes, mathematical modelling Staff : (2) Van Impe Jan, Smets Ilse Doctoral students currently enrolled : (18) Antwi, Banadda, Cappuyns, Deurinck, Gins, Janssen, Logist, Philips, Valdramidis, Standaert, Theys, Tsilia, Valdramidis, Van Derlinden, Ona, Geysen, Garcia-Gonzalez, Vermeulen

PMA (Production Engineering, Machine Design, and Automation) Contact person : Jan Swevers Research activities : modelling, identification, control, mechatronics, robotics, machine tools. Staff : (6) Paul Sas, Jan Swevers, Herman Bruyninckx, Hendrik Van Brussel, Joris De Schutter, Wim Desmet. Doctoral students currently enrolled : (45) Aertbelien, Claes, Corteville, Da Silva, De Coninck, De Gersem, De Keuster, De Munck, De Oliveira, De Roeck, De Volder, Demeester, Devos, Farkas, Gadeyne, Hemschoote, Kindt, Lauwagie, Lauwerys, Malfliet, Meeussen, Moers, Paijmans, Peeters, Pinte, Pipeleers, Pluymers, Ranftl, Reymen, Rubio, Rutgeerts, Schillebeeckx, Slaets, Smolders, Soetens, Stallaert, Stenti, Tjahjowidodo, Vaes, Van De Vijver, Vanmaele, Verbert, Verschuure, Waumans, Zamberi

MeBioS (Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors) Contact person : Herman Ramon Research activities : biological systems, automation, mechatronics, modelling Staff : (3) Anthonis Jan, De Baerdemaeker Josse, Ramon Herman Doctoral students currently enrolled : (15) Bravo, Calmeyn, Coen, Crassaerts, De Temmerman, Deblander, Dintwa, Duerincks, Engelen, Franssens, Loodts, Moshou, Saeys, Van Leiekerke, Van Zeebroeck

3.7 VUB

ELEC (Fundamental Electricity and Instrumentation) Contact person : Rik Pintelon Research activities : identification, experiment design, estimation, linear and non linear systems Staff : (4) Pintelon Rik, Schoukens Johan, Rolain Yves, Vandersteen Gerd Doctoral students currently enrolled : (11) Daghay, D’haene, De Belder, De Brauwere, De Locht, De Ridder, Linten, Monteyne, Paduart, Rabijns, Soens

3.8 UGent

SYSTeMS (Electrical Energy, Systems and Automation) Contact person : Dirk Aeyels Research activities : stability of coupled oscillators, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian models, differential equations, Petri nets, discrete event systems, filtering, statistical decision problems Staff : (6) Aeyels Dirk, Boel René, De Cooman Gert, De Keyser Robin, Loccufier Mia, Noldus Erik Doctoral students currently enrolled : (10) De Smet, Hermans, Huertos, Ionescu, Jiroveanu, Luyckx, Quaghebeur, Rogge, Sbarciog, Troffaes

3.9 Overview

We list below for the different university laboratories the total number of staff members, enrolled doctoral students and doctoral students who graduated in 2000-2004 (see the Appendix for a list).


Staff members Current Doct. Graduated (00-04)
UCL-INMA/CESAME 8 24 15 UCL-CEREM 5 7 4 UCL-INMA/CORE 5 4 5 UCL-IAG/POMS 5 8 3 8 5 5 5 24 7 4 8 15 4 5 3
ULB-SAAS 2 2 4 ULB-MECA 1 5 5 ULB-GEOM 2 3 1 ULB-GOM 1 5 5 2 1 2 1 2 5 3 5 4 5 1 5
ULg-SYST 2 7 6 ULg-HEC 3 2 4 ULg-RUN 1 7 1 2 3 1 7 2 7 6 4 1
UNamur-OCTA 4 4 3 UNamur-AnNum 2 5 4 UNamur-Quan 1 2 1 4 2 1 4 5 2 3 4 1
FPMs-AUTO 3 6 2 FPMs-MATHRO 5 4 4 3 5 6 4 2 4
Total French Comm. 50 95 67 50 95 67
KUL-ESAT 8 94 28 KUL-CS 7 19 11 KUL-BioTec 2 18 10 KUL-PMA 6 45 21 KUL-MeBioS 3 15 3 8 7 2 6 3 94 19 18 45 15 28 11 10 21 3
VUB-ELEC 4 11 14 4 11 14
UGent-SYSTeMS 6 10 3 6 10 3
Total Flemish Comm. 36 212 90 36 212 90
Grand total 86 307 157 86 307 157

Our main objective consists in providing a scientific environment of high quality and a wellbalanced graduate-level programme for the Belgian doctoral students in Systems, Optimization, Control and Networks. Several activities will be organized in order to realize these objectives: the graduate school will • provide high level graduate training for our doctoral students • build a network of all Belgian research teams that are active in the area and improve its visibility abroad • organize conferences and workshops in our area of interest • strengthen the links between Belgian teams by co-supervision of doctoral theses • interact with European initiatives such as the Marie Curie exchange and training program • encourage the exchange of students within national and international programs.

Such activities have been organized by the participating teams in the past and have proven to be very beneficial for the doctoral students in this area. As an example, the participation in the Marie Curie training and mobility programs Control Training Site CTS (2002-2006) and Algorithmic Discrete Optimization Network ADONET (2004-2007) consolidated collaborations between different teams of the proposal.

Doctoral training being offered The goal of the Graduate School is to provide fundamental and advanced training in the area of systems, optimization, control and networks and to give an overview of recent research developments and applications in this field. The training will be done in various forms :

  • Graduate level courses We plan to organize about six courses every year, with lecture notes and evaluation possibilities. These courses will be taught for about 50% by invited lecturers from abroad and can also be followed by students from abroad. Past initiatives in this context include the Graduate School in Systems and Control organized since 1992 (, the interuniversity DEA courses in Optimization, the European SOCRATES program in Discrete Systems and Optimization and several other special doctoral courses organized in the areas of Systems, Optimization, Control and Networks.
  • Seminar series Every participating laboratory organizes seminars on a regular basis (weekly for several groups). The information will be centralized and distributed to all graduate students enrolled in our school. Such a coordination already existed within the subgroups of systems and control and of mathematical programming, but a more structured distribution channel will be organized for the larger network described in this proposal.
  • Specialized workshops We will organize short workshops on selected topics of special interest. Such workshops are meant for a more specialized audience. Examples of past initiatives of this type are the Workshops on Dynamics and Computation, on Integrated Text and Data-Mining, a summer school onModern Convex Optimization and a NATO Advanced Study Institute on Learning Theory and Practice.
  • Scientific meetings Meetings with a broader range of interest will be organized on a regular basis. Such meetings ought to put emphasis on inter-disciplinary topics whenever possible.

In the past we co-organized the annual Benelux Meetings on Systems and Control and Hansur- Lesse Mathematical Programming Conferences, the 2004 International Symposium on Mathematics in Networks and Systems but also several regional conferences in the area of Systems, Optimization, Control and Networks. (We refer to the web-pages of the participating laboratories for further details.) As indicated above, many of the above activities are already being organized and the aim of the proposed graduate school is to coordinate and advertise these activities within the network of participating teams.

The steering committee

The steering committee of the doctoral school of the French Community coordinates the educational activities of the different subgroups and oversees the scientific environment for the doctoral students enrolled in the French Community. There will be subcommittees in charge of the organization of educational activities (e.g. for each subarea), of matters relevant to each academy (for the French community) and for the organization of workshops and scientific meetings. These subcommittees will report to the steering committee. Finally, the individual groups in the different universities are responsible for handling all local administrative aspects in agreement with their local rules. The steering committee will always have at least one representative of each university and a fair balance between the different areas of interest will be pursued. The committee will have also representatives of the participating Flemish Universities. Its responsibilities and rules of functioning will be established at the first meeting. The proposed steering committee is as follows.

D. Dochain, UCL (directeur) F. Glineur, UCL M. Labbé, ULB R. Pintelon, VUB A. Sarlette, UGent A. Sarteneer, UNamur (co-director) R. Sepulchre, ULg J. Vandewalle, KUL (co-director) A. Vande Wouwer, UMONS

Scientific reputation of the teams

The participating teams have, on the whole, a very well established scientific reputation in Belgium as well as abroad. The scientific output is impressive and of high quality. Altogether, the group published (or edited) in the last five years more than 10 books, and published more than 1000 international journal papers and international conference papers in proceedings with reading committee. Below is a list of some of twenty of the top journals in our combined areas of research, which are also the journals in which a substantial part of the publications of our group appeared (between parentheses we indicated the Impact Factor). The journals listed with an asterisk are also journals for which one of the members of the group is an associate editor.

SIAM Review (6.118) Management Science (1.934) IEEE Control Systems Magazine (1.803) IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing (1.755)* Neural Networks (1.736)* IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control (1.545)* Informs Journal on Computing (1.522)* Foundations of Computational Mathematics (1.500)* Automatica (1.419)* ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software (1.312)* SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing (1.231)* SIAM Journal on Optimization (1.213)* SIAM Journal on Control and Optimization (1.048)* Mathematics of Operations Research (1.044) Mathematical Programming (1.016)* Numerische Mathematik (1.011)* International Journal of Production Economics (0.879)* European Journal of Operations Research (0.828)* Computational Optimization and Applications (0.815) Systems and Control Letters (0.782)*.

Several of our faculty members serve on editorial boards of journals, international societies and scientific evaluation committees in Belgium and abroad. Our staff has participated in the organization of national and international conferences, and have been invited to deliver plenary talks and mini-courses in premier conferences around the world. They also received in the past several national and international scientific awards. Finally, they participate in several European research and training and mobility networks.

More complete information on the scientific relevance of the teams can be found via the hyperlinks of each participating team :

Ecole doctorale de rattachement 

L'école en gras étant la principale...

  • Ecole doctorale en sciences  
  • Ecole doctorale en sciences de l'ingénieur  
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