Home page of Jan C. Willems
Department of Mathematics and Computing Science
University of Groningen
P.O. Box 800
9700 AV Groningen
IWI - building, room 323
9747 AC Groningen.
Phone : +31 (0)50 3633984
Fax : +31 (0)50 3633800
Phone : +31 (0)50 3633976 (secretary)
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
JAN WILLEMS was born in Bruges, Belgium in 1939. He studied engineering
at the University of Ghent, the University of Rhode Island, and the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, where he received his Ph.D. in 1968. He was an
assistant professor in electrical engineering at MIT until 1973, when he
was appointed to the position of Professor of Systems and Control at the
Mathematics Department of the University of Groningen. Since November 2001
he has become Guest Professor at the University
of Leuven in Belgium.
The central concept which we take as our starting point is that of a dynamical system. This is defined as a triple = with the time-axis, W the signal space, and a subset of , called the behavior of . The behavior consists of those trajectories which satisfy the laws imposed by . However, in first principles modelling one invariably needs to introduce auxiliary variables in order to express the laws of a system. This feature is incorporated by distinguishing ab initio between manifest variables (the variables which the model aims at) and latent variable (the auxiliary variables). The systems which we consider interact with their environment. However, in our set-up neither the input/output nor state space structure are taken as the starting point. They enter as very useful, but special, types of system representations.
Problems which have been or are being considered in this framework include:
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Last modified: January 2000