Imperial College London


Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Reader in Control Engineering and Optimization



+44 (0)20 7594 6343e.kerrigan Website




Miss Michelle Hammond +44 (0)20 7594 6281




1108cElectrical EngineeringSouth Kensington Campus





My main area of research is the development of theory and methods for model predictive control (MPC) to handle nonlinearities and uncertainties in a systematic fashion. MPC is the most widely implemented advanced control technique in industry, because it deals with constraints, nonlinearities and uncertainties in a systematic and optimal manner. In MPC, a sequence of optimal control and estimation problems need to be solved in real-time – this requires orders of magnitude more computational resources than most other control methods. My interest is in the development of novel structure-exploiting numerical optimization methods and computer architectures for solving nonlinear optimal control and estimation problems with uncertainties in real-time. This allows engineers to solve new problems that are beyond the reach of current methods and computers.

I am also interested in developing new multi-objective optimization methods for the co-design of the overall closed-loop system. If one includes the parameters of the computer and physical system as part of the design variables, then it is possible to achieve significantly better performance than by just concentrating on the controller design. Mathematical optimization allows one to take a systematic approach to co-design in order to reduce design time and cost. I am therefore also interested in the development of novel multi-objective optimization methods for exploring how the parameters of an optimization-based control algorithm, computer architecture and physical design need to be traded off to satisfy performance specifications.

I have a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering and the Department of Aeronautics. My theoretical research is therefore motivated by a wide variety of problems in the design of aerospace, renewable energy and information systems. Applications include scheduling of computation and communication in aerial and mobile robotic networks, aerodynamic drag reduction over aerofoils, gust and load alleviation in wind turbine blades and space launch and re-entry vehicles.

See my Google Scholar page for my most recent publications and preprints.


If you are interested in doing a PhD under my supervision in the development of novel numerical methods and computer architectures for model predictive control and dynamic optimization, please contact me with your CV, transcript of your academic record and a personal statement. We will have a number of open studentships, which can be tailored to areas of mutual interest, available for applications submitted from October 2020 for start dates in 2021.


ICLOCS: Solves nonlinear optimal control problems subject to constraints.

SPLITC code generation for Model Predictive Control based on operator splitting methods. SPLIT is capable of generating both software and hardware-oriented C code to allow quick prototyping of optimization algorithms on conventional CPUs and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). See our paper for more details.

protoip: Quickly prototype C-based IP in FPGA hardware. This tool abstracts many specific low-level FPGA design details and shifts the main focus to algorithm coding and boosts productivity.


ECC 2016 Tutorial Session on Embedded Optimization: Presentations can be downloaded here.

My talk on co-design of optimization-based controllers, given at MATLAB EXPO 2015, is now available.

My talk on cyber-physical systems, hosted by the IET, is now available (audio starts at 1:05). See also the companion talk by Andy Chang from National Instruments with a further Q&A from both of us. 


  • 2006-present: Department of Aeronautics and Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Imperial College London
  • 2014: Sabbatical Visitor, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Melbourne
  • 2002-2007: Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow, University of Cambridge and Imperial College London
  • 2001-2005: Research Fellow, Wolfson College and Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge
  • 2001-2002: Research Associate, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge
  • 1997-2001: PhD in Control Engineering, St John's College and Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge
  • 1997: Electromechanical Engineer, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa
  • 1993-1996: BSc(Eng) in Electrical Engineering, University of Cape Town

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Jerez JL, Constantinides GA, Kerrigan EC, 2015, A Low Complexity Scaling Method for the Lanczos Kernel in Fixed-Point Arithmetic, IEEE Transactions on Computers, Vol:64, ISSN:0018-9340, Pages:303-315

Jerez JL, Goulart PJ, Richter S, et al., 2014, Embedded Online Optimization for Model Predictive Control at Megahertz Rates, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, Vol:59, ISSN:0018-9286, Pages:3238-3251

Longo S, Kerrigan EC, Constantinides GA, 2014, Constrained LQR for low-precision data representation, Automatica, Vol:50, ISSN:0005-1098, Pages:162-168

Hartley EN, Jerez JL, Suardi A, et al., 2013, Predictive control using an FPGA with applicationto aircraft control, IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, Vol:22, ISSN:1558-0865, Pages:1006-1017

Shahzad A, Kerrigan EC, Constantinides GA, 2012, A Stable and Efficient Method for Solving a Convex Quadratic Program with Application to Optimal Control, SIAM Journal on Optimization, Vol:22, ISSN:1052-6234, Pages:1369-1393

Jones BL, Kerrigan EC, 2010, When is the discretization of a spatially distributed system good enough for control?, Automatica, Vol:46, ISSN:0005-1098, Pages:1462-1468

Goulart PJ, Kerrigan EC, Ralph D, 2007, Efficient Robust Optimization for Robust Control with Constraints., Mathematical Programming, Vol:114, ISSN:1436-4646, Pages:115-147

Goulart, P.J., Kerrigan, E.C., Maciejowski, J.M., 2006, Optimization over state feedback policies for robust control with constraints, Automatica, Vol:42, ISSN:0005-1098, Pages:523-533


Kerrigan EC, Constantinides GA, Suardi A, et al., 2015, Computer Architectures to Close the Loop in Real-time Optimization, 54th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, IEEE, Pages:4597-4611

Kerrigan EC, 2015, Feedback and time are essential for the optimal control of computing systems, 5th IFAC Conference on Nonlinear Model Predictive Control, Elsevier, Pages:380-387, ISSN:1474-6670

Kerrigan EC, 2014, Co-design of Hardware and Algorithms for Real-time Optimization, 2014 European Control Conference (ECC), IEEE, Pages:2484-2489

More Publications