Mathematics Department Colloquium
Spring 2005

Date: Thursday, January 20
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: 215 Thomas Building
Name: Alberto Bressan
Affiliation: The Pennsylvania State University
Title: Geometric control and optimal feedback stabilization

Abstract: The first part of the talk will review some basic concepts in the theory of optimal control. I shall then discuss the problem of time-optimal stabilization, i.e. designing a control that steers a system to the origin in minimum time. For control systems in the plane, a local and global classification of time-optimal stabilizing feedback controls is now available. In higher space dimensions, the analysis of optimal feedback controls becomes increasingly complex. An alternative strategy, recently developed, is to look for sub-optimal control strategies. In particular, the so-called "patchy feedbacks" perform almost optimally but retain a simple geometric structure. The talk will be addressed to a general audience, and will not assume any previous expertise on control theory.