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Faculty Candidate Seminar

Complex Large-Scale Systems: From Antenna Circuits to Electricity Grids

Javad LavaeiPh.D. CandidateCalifornia Institute of Technology

Over the past few years, the idea of upgrading today's transmission grid into a Smart Grid has been seriously considered by the electric power industry, state and federal regulators, government agencies, and academics. The design of a smart grid requires tools from a variety of areas. In this talk, I will first outline my contributions in control systems, power systems, communications, networks, distributed computation, and circuits, and then explain how my results in these areas could be useful for the synthesis of a smart grid. In particular, I will focus on two of my recent works in power networks and communication systems:
Power Networks: Most of the optimization problems in power systems are highly nonconvex. The optimal power flow (OPF) problem is one of such nonlinear problems, which has been studied for 50 years with little success. I will show that there is an efficient method to solve a practical OPF problem, along with many other energy-related optimization problems, due to the underlying properties of a power circuit.
Communication Systems: Conventional antennas for wireless transmission radiate in almost all directions. To avoid co-channel interference, save power and improve security, much attention has been paid to designing smart antenna systems. Since the existing smart antennas are either hard to program or hard to implement, I will combine theories from algebraic geometry, control, communications and circuits to synthesize a new type of smart antenna, which is both easy to program and easy to implement. Finally, I will demonstrate that we can design an on-chip smart antenna with only one single active element (and several passive elements) to make a null in many directions.

Javad Lavaei received the B.Sc. degree in electronics engineering from the Sharif University of Technology in 2003 and the M.A.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from Concordia University in 2007. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Control and Dynamical Systems at the California Institute of Technology. He has worked on different areas of electrical and computer engineering, e.g. control, circuits, communications, networks and energy systems. He has authored and co-authored more than 55 articles during his M.A.Sc. and Ph.D. studies.
Javad Lavaei is a senior member of IEEE and has had different professional activities. He was the co-chair of the Control & Robotics Symposium in both 23rd and 24th IEEE Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering. He has won many awards such as the Governor General’s Gold Medal given by the Government of Canada, Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools Master’s Thesis Award, Postgraduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Silver Medal in the International Mathematical Olympiad.

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