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Galip Ulsoy

For seminal research contributions with industrial impact in the dynamics and control of mechanical systems especially manufacturing systems and automotive systems

A. Galip Ulsoy is the C.D. Mote, Jr. Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering (ME) and the William Clay Ford Professor Emeritus of Manufacturing at University of Michigan (UM), Ann Arbor, where he served as the ME Department Chair, Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center for Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems, and the Director of the USA Army Ground Robotics Reliability Center. He also served as Director of Civil and Mechanical Systems at NSF and the President of the American Automatic Control Council (AACC). He received the Ph.D. from University of California at Berkeley (1979), the M.S. degree from Cornell University (1975), and the B.S. degree from Swarthmore College (1973). His research interests are in the dynamics and control of mechanical systems, and he has published 4 books, holds 3 patents, and has published over 300 journal and conference papers. His work is highly-cited and has had major impact in industry. He has received numerous awards, including the AACC 1993 O. Hugo Schuck Best Paper Award, the 2003 and 2016 Rudolf Kalman Best Paper Awards from the J. Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, the 2008 Albert M. Sargent Progress Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the 2008 Rufus T. Oldenburger Medal, the 2013 Charles Russ Richards Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the 2014 Hideo Hanafusa Outstanding Investigator Award in Flexible Automation. He is a member of the USA National Academy of Engineering, received the 2012 Presidential Special Award from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, and is a Fellow of ASME, SME, IEEE and the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC).

Text of Acceptance Speech: 

To receive the Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award is truly an honor. I am thankful first to all of you for attending today after two postponements of these ceremonies due to the pandemic. I am grateful to the honors committee for selecting me, and to my nominator and references for their willingness to put forth and support my nomination.

The Bellman Award is given for “distinguished career contributions to the theory or application of automatic control.” My career in control started as a junior at Swarthmore College in 1972 when I took a course based on the textbook Dynamics of Physical Systems by Robert Cannon. That course really challenged me, and I found myself putting in a lot of time and energy just to get by. That investment sparked my interest, and so as a master's student at Cornell University I worked with Dick Phelan and learned the practical and experimental side of automatic control in the laboratory using analog computers. In 1975 I decided to pursue control engineering for my Ph.D. work and Prof. Phelan said, in mechanical engineering at that time, there were really only two choices: MIT or UC Berkeley. So I wound up at UC Berkeley where I learned controls from Yasundo Takahashi, Masayoshi Tomizuka (Tomi is also a Bellman Award recipient), and Dave Auslander. I not only learned the latest in control theory from the book Control and Dynamic Systems by Takahashi, Rabins and Auslander, but did my first experiments using digital controllers. My doctoral advisor and professional role model, Dan Mote, is a dynamicist, and my research was on reducing sawdust by controlling vibrations of bandsaw blades during cutting and included theory, computation and experiment.

When I started as an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan in 1980, I had the great fortune to have two very special mentors. The late Elmer Gilbert (another Bellman Award recipient) came to my office to welcome me, to offer his help with the new graduate course I was developing, and to invite me to participate in a College of Engineering control seminar – a regular Friday afternoon seminar which I still continue to attend! The other was my longtime friend and collaborator Yoram Koren, together with whom I conducted many joint research projects, and from whom I learned much of what I know about control of manufacturing systems. Yoram and I had the first digital control computer, a PDP-11, at UM in our laboratory. Michigan was, and is, a wonderful place for control engineering. I had the good fortune to work with, not only Elmer and Yoram, but many outstanding collaborators: Joe Whitesell, the late Pierre Kabamba, Panos Papalambros, Dawn Tilbury, Huei Peng, Ilya Kolmanovsky, Harris McClamroch, Jeff Stein, Gabor Orosz, Chinedum Okwudire and many others! I worked on topics such as automotive belt dynamics, adaptive control of milling, reconfigurable manufacturing, vehicle lane-keeping, co-design of an artifact and its controller, time delay systems, and I was always richer for the experience. Throughout my professional career I worked extensively with industry, especially the Ford Motor Company, where I collaborated with and learned from excellent engineers like Davor Hrovat and Siva Shivashankar (automotive control), Charles Wu (control of drilling), and Mahmoud Demeri (stamping control).

I would like to recognize my wife, Sue Glowski, who is here today, for her love and support. She was educated in English and Linguistics but is always willing to patiently listen to my latest idea about control, even if she has to eventually ask: "what the hell is an eigenvalue?"

Finally, and most importantly, I want to recognize and thank my students and postdocs. This award recognizes your great ideas, and your fine work, and I am delighted to be here today to accept it on your behalf. Thank you!

June 7, 2022

Atlanta, GA USA

ACC 2022