Professor Rick Middleton

Systems & Control

Tel. +353 (0)1 7086923
Fax. +353 (0)1 7086269
Mob. +353 (0)8 58481336

Research Professor:
The Hamilton Institute,
National University of Ireland Maynooth
Co. Kildare, Ireland

I also have a part time position as a Senior Research Associate with:
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Complex Dynamic Systems and Control
School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,
The University of Newcastle, Australia

Recent publications

Systems & Control Research

I am interested in a broad range of feedback and dynamic systems theory and applications. Some of my recent interests and results are below

Trade-offs & Performance limitations in Feedback Control Systems

I have a long standing interest in trying to analyse and understand the factors inherent in a system that limit the achievable feedback control performance, and hance give rise to inevitable trade-offs in control system design. Early work on this examined the roles of open loop instability, non-minimum phase behaviour (that is, lack of a stable inverse), and time delays. More recently I have looked at communication constraints, and also problems in formation control of autonomous vehicles. In particular, I have worked on conditions in rigid formation following that give rise to a problem known as 'String Instability'.

String Instability
Soccer Aibos

RoboCup Soccer

For several years now, I have been part of the University of Newcastle's RoboCup soccer team, the NUbots. We have competed in the 4 Legged League Soccer, and have been placed in the top three since we joined the competition in 2002. In this application, I am particularly interested in the problem of robot localisation using the Extended Kalman Filter, feedback control for legged motion, and distributed systems. At NUIM, we have been accepted to compete in the standard platform league of the RoboCup soccer competition.
An introductory presentation on this, with some brief video clips, is available here.
Newcastle University (Australia) and NUI Maynooth competed as the NUManoids in the 2008 RoboCup Soccer, Standard Platform (Nao) League and achieved first place! More information, including details oft he program for Summer Internship in Autonomous Robotics is available here.

Applications of Systems, Control and Optimisation:

I have a wide range of experience in applications of systems, control and optimisation. A selection of recent work includes:
  • Advanced Software Tools for Model Based Control (with Matrikon Pty Ltd)
  • Scheduling and Stochastic Optimisation for Open Pit Mining Operations (with BHP Billiton Innovation)
  • Automotive Control Applications
  • Control of Power Electronics Inverters

Mine Planning using MILP

Coupled Oscillators

Systems Biology

I am interested in applications of systems, control and dynamics in biology, working with the Systems Biology group at the Hamilton Institute. Previous work has focussed on phase analysis of coupled oscillators. More recently I have been working with colleagues in the Systems Biology group at the Hamilton, in particular relating to understanding the dynamics of networks of biochemical reactions. I am also interested in modelling and control of HIV infection dynamics and Parkinson's disease.

Control over Communication Networks

I have examined a number of aspects of feedback control loops over finite capacity communication channels. These works include examining information theoretic analyses of limits on the achievable loop properties dictated by finite capacity. In addition, I have worked on achievable performance for particular classes of power constrained AWGN and ACGN channels.

Selected Research Grants

  • Australian Research Council Centre for Complex Dynamic Systems & Control (ARC Centre of Excellence, 2003-2010, AU$13,600,000 (Director 2003-2006). 
  • Science Foundation of Ireland Research Professor Award, 07/RPR/I1177  €521,000 (2007-2009)
  • Science Foundation of Ireland UREKA Site Award (co-PI with Sean McLoone and Adam Winstanley) €180,000 (2009-2011)
  • Science Foundation of Ireland Principle Investigator Award, 07/PI/I1838 €1,240,000 (2009-2013)



Ruth and I regularly attend and are actively involved in Maynooth Community Church