ECE faculty, Prof. Murti Salapaka (Vincentine Hermes-Luh Chair in Electrical Engineering) has been named an IEEE Fellow effective January 2019. He has been cited by the IEEE for his application of control and systems technology in nano-science.
Prof. Salapaka’s research focuses on systems and control, and spans control theory and its applications to nano-interrogation and bio-manipulation at the molecular scale using laser tweezers and atomic force microscopes. Under his direction, Prof. Salapaka’s research group are exploring several complementary areas: network, control, and system theory, nanoscience and related physics, molecular biology, and energy. These areas of research have had and are poised to have far reaching impact on fundamental research and application.
Network, Control, and System Theory
At the theoretical level, Salapaka and his team of researchers have made significant contributions to several strands of theoretical research including, learning structure from measured data in networks with feedback, structured control, multiobjective control synthesis, and distributed computations over networked systems. Outcomes of their theoretical research have informed their approach to the applied aspects of their work.
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
In the area of nanoscience and nanotechnology, Salapaka and his team have deployed control and systems frameworks to establish new perspectives and methods. At the experimental level, this has included customized atomic force microscopes, in-house realized optical tweezers to supplement opto-mechanical effects, and advanced TIRF (total internal reflection fluorescence) microscopy. At the theoretical level, his research has included exploration of fundamental limits on energy need for computation, sources of noise, and how feedback relates to nanoscience and nanotechnology.
Wielding innovative tools and technologies based in control and systems, and in nanoscience and nanotechnology research that Salapaka has been carrying out, his lab has been conducting single molecule research focused on intracellular transport and protein folding-unfolding. Intracellular transport is effected by molecular-motors, and a disturbance in the motion of these motors has been linked to neuro-degenrative diseases. Murti created a learning-based approach for the detection of events in single-molecule interactions, and the software implementing the method is being widely used by molecular biologists. His work bears significant import on detection and emergence of diseased states.
Energy and Power Networks
Salapaka’s research interest extends to energy and power networks, seeking novel ways to address the challenges of system reliability and power quality introduced by renewable power generation. Using techniques for cloud-based and peer-to-peer networks, he proposes a system that can provide a coordinated response by multiple units to adjust consumption and generation of electricity in response to grid events. He uses concepts from nonlinear and robust control theory to design such self-organizing power systems, a key feature of which is plug-and-play architecture which allows devices and smaller power networks to engage or disengage from the other power networks or the entire grid. A revolutionary design, it is soon to be tested across multiple scenarios, deploying more than a hundred devices ranging from photovoltaics and battery storage inverters, to home appliances.
Salapaka is the author of numerous journal articles that document and present his pioneering systems approach to nanoscience and nanotechnology. Besides carrying out trailblazing research with outcomes at the fundamental and application levels, he has also generously given his time towards sharing his research know-how, techniques, and tools with the controls community through workshops and tutorials. He has also performed critical service roles as editor, keynote speaker, and lecturer at platforms organized by IEEE and non-IEEE entities.
The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is proud of Prof. Murti Salapaka’s research and service accomplishments, and congratulate him on his elevation to IEEE Fellow.
From the IEEE website: “[…] the IEEE Grade of Fellow is conferred by the Board of Directors upon a person with an extraordinary record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest. The total number selected in any one year does not exceed one-tenth of one percent of the total voting Institute membership.”