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Winter/Spring 2011 Newsletter

In this first AACC Newsletter of 2011, let me welcome you, our readers, to an exciting year of activities, which involve directly the American Automatic Control Council. The first is the upcoming American Control Conference (ACC), to be held in San Francisco, California (June 29-July 1), for which the technical program is already in place (for more details, see All indications are that we should again expect a memorable event. In addition to what looks like a very high quality technical program, we will also have our annual awards ceremony scheduled during the conference, on its second day (June 30), and just preceding the luncheon banquet, as in the recent past. The ceremony will feature four 2011 AACC individual awards (Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award, John R. Ragazzini Education Award, Control Engineering Practice Award, Donald P. Eckman Award), two 2011 AACC paper awards (O. Hugo Schuck Best Paper Awards, in the Theory and Applications categories), and the 2011 ACC Best Student-Paper Award. For the six AACC awards, the Awards Committee (chaired, as in the last year, by Stephen Yurkovich), along with its subcommittees, has already completed its work, and the recipients of this year’s awards have already been informed. I look forward to seeing a big turnout at the ceremonies this year.

The second AACC affiliated event this year is the IFAC World Congress, which will be held in Milan, Italy (August 28 - September 2), organized by the Italian National Member Organization (NMO) of IFAC (for more details, see AACC is of course the US NMO at IFAC, and has actually played an important role in the creation of IFAC in the late 1950’s as a multi-national federation in the field of automatic control. The first president of IFAC was from the US, Harold Chestnut, and two previous congresses were held in the US (1975, in Boston/Cambridge, during the IFAC presidency of John Lozier; and 1996, in San Francisco, during the IFAC presidency of Stephen Kahne). To document all this history, which parallels that of IFAC, we are currently working on a booklet, which will be completed (and designed and printed) in time for the IFAC Congress in Milan. The latest American IFAC President, Steve Kahne, is leading this effort, with the support of a committee comprised of Frank Doyle, Abe Haddad, Mike Mastin, and me. The booklet will be made available at the Friendship Evening Reception AACC will be hosting during the IFAC Congress, on Tuesday, August 30. Preparation of such a booklet and hosting of a reception in Milan are part of a bigger plan of a possible bid for a future Congress (the third) in the US (in 2020 or 2023). For this purpose, our past AACC president, Wayne Bequette, is leading a task  force, which is also working on the details of the reception in Milan. In my last column in the AACC Newsletter, I had expressed the hope that there would be a strong US participation in Milan, and the first step in assuring this would be a strong inflow of paper submissions from US authors. Based on the number of US papers in the technical program of the Congress (204 papers where corresponding authors are from a US institution), we can expect a strong showing in Milan. For those who will not be able to make it to Milan, we will post the booklet on the history of AACC on our website shortly after the Congress.

Talking about our website, we have recently updated its contents and made it current. It is also currently undergoing a face-lifting, which will be completed by the time of the ACC in San Francisco. If you have visited our website recently (this year), you would have noticed a new member society added to our council. With the beginning of this year, AIST (Association for Iron and Steel Technology) has retired from the Council, and SIAM (Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics) has been added as a new full member. SIAM will be represented by its Activity Group on Control and Systems Theory. William Levine (a past president of AACC) has been named the SIAM representative on the AACC Board of Directors (BoD), with William McEneaney as alternate. This leaves the size of BoD again at eight, with the full roster being AIAA, AIChE, ASCE, ASME, IEEE, ISA, SCS, and SIAM. This is the first change in the composition of the BoD in many years. It is of historical importance to note that when AACC was founded 54 years ago, four of the current member societies constituted the first board:  AIChE, ASME, IEEE, and ISA, with IEEE (the name did not exist at the time) actually represented by AIEE (American Institute of Electrical Engineers) and IRE (Institute of Radio Engineers), making the total number of board members five. (AIEE and IRE later merged and created IEEE.)

Before closing, I should also mention that another important development that has taken place since the beginning of this year is that we have finalized a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IEEE on the publication of our ACC Proceedings, hosting it on line, and other related issues. This multi-year MoU, which I had the pleasure of signing on behalf of AACC, puts the existing relationship between AACC and IEEE with regard to ACC on a solid footing for many years to come.

In closing, I express my hope to see many of you, our readers, in San Francisco in late June at the 2011 American Control Conference, and two months later at the World Congress in Milan.

As always, feel free to write to me if you have any questions or any suggestions on any aspects of  AACC and its operation. I look forward to hearing from you!

Tamer Başar
President, AACC 2010-2011