PhD: Embedded Model Predictive Control of Mechatronic Systems

Oct 10, 2016
Nov 30, 2016
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
The KU Leuven, Department of Mechanical Engineering is searching for an outstanding and highly motivated PhD researcher in optimization and control.



Model Predictive Control (MPC) is an optimization-based control strategy that appeals to mechatronic applications in automotive, aerospace, and robotics because of its ability to respect actuator and output constraints. The successful application of MPC to mechatronic systems, however, is challenging and hinges upon optimization algorithms that are fast (calculating the control action in the range of milliseconds to nanoseconds), simple (enabling implementation on embedded hardware devices with limited computational resources), and robust (allowing usage in safety critical applications). In this project you will develop cutting-edge optimization algorithms tailored to MPC of mechatronic systems. Hereto you will combine and extend recent developments within the MECO research team of the KU Leuven Mechanical Engineering Department under the supervision of Prof. Goele Pipeleers, and the group of Prof. Panos Patrinos at the Department of Electrical Engineering (ESAT-STADIUS). The project will involve theoretical advances to devise novel real-time optimization algorithms based on recent results of the two teams, as well as the numerical implementation of the algorithms in C/C++ and experimental validations on a mechatronic system.


  • Ideal candidates hold a Master’s degree in engineering, computer science, or applied mathematics.
  • Successful candidates have typically ranked at or near the top of their classes, have a solid mathematical background, relevant computer programming skills, and enthusiasm for scientific research.
  • Team player mentality, independence, and problem solving skills are expected, and proficiency in English is a requirement.


  • A fully funded PhD position for four years at the KU Leuven, one of the top European universities and a hub for interdisciplinary research in the field of optimization.
  • You will be embedded in the MECO research team ( and be part of OPTEC, the KU Leuven Center of Excellence for Optimization in Engineering ( OPTEC is a prestigious center of interdisciplinary research on theory, algorithms and engineering applications of mathematical optimization, emerging from four different engineering fields: computer science, as well as chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering.
  • Close collaboration with prof. Moritz Diehl of the University of Freiburg is anticipated.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Goele Pipeleers, tel.: +32 16 37 26 94, mail: or Prof. dr. Panos Patrinos, tel.: +32 16 37 44 45, mail: