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Masayoshi Tomizuka

For seminal and pioneering contributions to the theory and practice of mechatronic systems control

Professor Masayoshi Tomizuka holds the Cheryl and John Neerhout, Jr., Distinguished Professorship Chair. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Keio University, Tokyo, Japan and his Ph. D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974.  He joined the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley in 1974.  He currently serves as Associate Dean of the College of Engineering.  Professor Tomizuka has taught courses in dynamic systems and controls.  He has supervised more than 110 Ph. D. students to completion.  His current research interests are optimal and adaptive control, digital control, signal processing, motion control, and control problems related to robotics, manufacturing, information storage devices, vehicles and human-machine systems.  He served as Program Director of the Dynamic Systems and Control Program at the National Science Foundation from Sept. 2002 to Dec. 2004.  He served as Director and CEO of the Berkeley Education Alliance for Research in Singapore (BEARS) from 2014 to 2016.

Dr. Tomizuka has been and is an active member of the Dynamic Systems and Control Division (DSCD) of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).  He served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Division (1986-87), Technical Editor of the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, J-DSMC (1988-93) and Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics (1997-99).  He served as President of the American Automatic Control Council (1998-99).  He is also active in the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC).  He chaired the IFAC Technical Committee on Mechatronic Systems (2005-2011).  He is a Life Fellow of the ASME and the Institute of Electric and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and is a Fellow of IFAC and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.  He is the recipient of the Best J-DSMC Best Paper Award (1995, 2010), the DSCD Outstanding Investigator Award (1996), the Pi Tau Sigma-ASME Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award (1997), the DSCD Leadership Award (2000), the Rufus Oldenburger Medal (2002), abd the John Ragazzini Award (2006).


Text of Acceptance Speech: 

Acceptance Video

Dear President Braatz, colleagues, students, ladies and gentlemen:

I feel tremendously honored to receive the Richard Bellman Control Heritage Award.  Thank you to those who nominated me and supported my nomination, to the selection committee, and to the AACC Board for making me this year’s recipient.

I completed my undergraduate studies at Keio University in Japan and my graduate studies at MIT. Following my education at these wonderful institutions, I was able to join the excellent academic environment at the University of California, Berkeley. I am grateful to my teachers and colleagues at these institutions.  I thank in particular my PhD advisor Dan Whitney and my early control colleagues at Berkeley, Yasundo Takahashi and David Aulander, and the many bright graduate students that I have had the privilege of having in my lab at Berkeley who are approximately 120 PhDs strong now.  I thank the National Science Foundation and other government sponsors as well as industrial sponsors for providing me resources to maintain the Mechanical Systems Control laboratory, which is the home of my research group. Last but not least, I thank my wife Miwako for supporting me and our family, permitting me to concentrate on academics and schoolwork for many years, starting almost 50 years ago in my MIT days.

I jumped into the area of dynamic systems and control during my senior year at Keio University.   The first book I read was Modern Control Theory by Julius Tou.  The book was an excellent summary of the State Space Control Theory, and I was fascinated by the elegant mathematical aspects of the subject.    There was no internet back then of course, and major periodicals such as IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control and ASME Journal of Basic Engineering were the best sources to find the latest developments in the field. I was frustrated by the time delay between the time of research and publication.  About at the time I completed my MS at Keio, I was fortunate to receive an admission offer from MIT. The time delay problem was naturally resolved.  At MIT, I was inspired by many people including Dan Whitney, Tom Sheridan and Hank Paynter. Sheridan’s early work on preview control was the starting point of my dissertation work on the “optimal finite preview” problem.    

In September 1974, I joined the University of California as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering.  It’s hard to believe, but I am now completing my 44th year at Berkeley.    

At Berkeley, I have worked on many different mechanical systems.  I joined UC Berkeley when the large scale integration technology was starting to make it possible to implement advanced control algorithms by using mini and micro computers.  This allowed me to emphasize both the analytical aspects of control and the laboratory work.  This research style still continues now.

Robots are multivariable and nonlinear. In particular, a configuration-dependent inertial matrix and nonlinear terms are unique for robots.  I convinced one of my PhD students, Roberto Horowitz (who is now a professor and chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Berkeley), to work with me on model reference adaptive control as it applied to robots. Since then, robot control has remained a major research topic in my group.  Our current research emphasizes efficiency and safety in human-robot interactions and merging model-based control and machine learning to make the robot system intelligent.

I worked on machining for a while. One control issue with machining is the dependence of input-output dynamics to cutting conditions and tool wear. One day, Jun-Ho Oh (who is now a professor at KAIST), took me down to the lab to show me model reference adaptive control on a Bridgeport milling machine. It was cleverly implemented and was the first application of modern adaptive control theory to machining. 

In many mechanical systems involving rotational parts, we encounter periodic disturbances with known periods.  Repetitive control is applied to this class of disturbances.  I learned of it from visitors from Japan in the mid-1980s. Tsu-Chin Tsao (who is now a professor at UCLA) and I then developed our version of repetitive control algorithms emphasizing discrete time formulation and easy implementation.

Another fundamental control problem for mechanical systems is tracking arbitrary shaped reference inputs. Feedforward control is popular in tracking, but unstable system zeros make the problem complicated.  To overcome this issue, I suggested to cancel phase shift induced by unstable zeros and introduced zero phase error tracking (ZPET) control in the late 1980s. The citation of this paper has reached 1,600 by now.  

In the mid-1980’s, UC Berkeley started Program on Advanced Transit and Highway under the sponsorship of CalTrans.  Automated highway systems was a topic of interest for quite a few control professors.  Karl Hedrick and I were the primary faculty participants from ME: Karl worked on controls in the longitudinal direction and I in the lateral direction of vehicles.  My first PhD student on this topic was Huei Peng (who is now a professor at University of Michigan). During the past five years or so, autonomous vehicles have become very hot as we all know, and I now have quite a few students working to blend control and machine-learning for applications to vehicles.

I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to address a variety of challenging mechanical control problems over the span on my career so far.  My research has been and continues to be rooted in the mechatronic approach; namely I have worked on the synergetic integration of mechanical systems with sensing, computation, and control theory.  This approach provides the opportunity for academic research to have broad impacts on control engineering in practice, and I am honored to have had a hand in helping to advance a small part of it.    

Thank you very much for this award. I am extremely grateful and honored.

ACC 2018

Milwaukee, WI USA

June 28, 2018