Professor Peter Fleming

FREng, BSc, PhD, DSc, CEng, FIET, FInstMC

Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering

Emeritus Professor

Full contact details

Professor Peter Fleming
Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering
Amy Johnson Building
Portobello Street
S1 3JD

My research has addressed a wide range of issues and challenges related to the common theme of the creation of design environments for control systems and decision-making. Originally encouraged by the potential benefits afforded by new optimisation methods and computing developments, the research expanded to embrace multiobjective optimisation problems and, subsequently, multi- and many-criteria decision-making.

Research investigations have taken place at the intersection of the disciplines of automatic control, computer science and systems engineering and the work has a strong applications focus. Exposure to a wide variety of applications, in sectors such as aerospace, automobiles, power generation, food processing, pharmaceuticals, marketing and manufacturing has informed and galvanised the investigations.

PhD research at Queens University, Belfast (1969-1993) set in motion my career-long interest in optimisation methods. I was appointed Lecturer at University of Wales, Bangor (1993), subsequently becoming Professor of Computer Systems Engineering in 1988. In the mid-1980s, as Visiting Scientist at NASA, Langley, I was introduced to multiobjective optimisation, thereby launching my enduring interest in this area. In 1993 we made an important breakthrough in the numerical solution of multiobjective optimisation (MO) problems that described how the population-based evolutionary computing approach to search could satisfactorily handle the simultaneous optimisation of competing objectives, publishing and pioneering the use of Pareto optimality in evolutionary multiobjective optimisation. Following this, we devised a rigorous framework for the use of preference articulation in MO. This advance enabled designers to target specific domains, or regions of interest, on the Pareto-optimal surface and to refine these choices on-line during algorithm evolution. This is an important development that enables practitioners and experts to interact with the design software to achieve their goals and in a manner that inspires confidence in the search process. Our most recent research has involved many-criteria (>3) decision-making and solution sensitivity to a range of problem uncertainties.

In 1991, I was appointed Professor of Industrial Systems and Control at the University of Sheffield where I was Head of Department from 1993-1999. In 1993, Rolls-Royce chose to establish its University Technology Centre in Control and Systems Engineering at Sheffield and I was UTC Director from 1993-2012. The relationship with Rolls-Royce was invaluable for the insights it provided and the ability to tailor practical and effective research methods.

I was University Pro Vice-Chancellor for External Relations from 2003-2008 and Vice-President, International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) (2002- 2008). In 2008 I was appointed IFAC Adviser.

In 2005 I was elected Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Fellow of the International Federation of Automatic Control in 2009. Awards include the Sir Harold Hartley Medal  (Institute of Measurement and Control), 1997 and the Edgeworth-Pareto Award (International Society on Multiple Criteria Decision Making), 2015.

Automatic Control and Systems Engineering at Sheffield, attracts many excellent PhD applicants. I have successfully supervised ~50 PhD students and have had the very good fortune to have worked with outstanding and dedicated research students, a number of whom now enjoy world-class research careers.

Research interests
Selected publications

Duro, JA, Yan, Y, Giagkiozis, I. et al., Liger: A cross-platform open-source integrated optimization and decision-making environment, Applied Soft Computing Journal, 98, 106851, 2021.

Oree V, Sayed Hassen SZ, Fleming PJ: A multi-objective framework for long-term generation expansion planning with variable renewables, Applied Energy, 253, 113589, 2019 .

Oree V, Hassen SZ, Fleming PJ: Generation expansion planning optimisation with renewable energy integration: a review, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 69, pp 790-803, 2017.

Salomon S, Avigad G, Purshouse RC, Fleming PJ: Gearbox design for uncertain load requirements using active robust optimization, Engineering Optimization, 48, pp 652-671, 2016.

Zaidan MA, Mills AR, Harrison RF, Fleming PJ: Gas turbine engine prognostics using Bayesian hierarchical models: A variational approach, Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, 70-71, pp 120-140, 2016.

Giagkiozis I, Fleming PJ: Methods for multi-objective optimization: an analysis, Information Sciences 293, pp. 338–350, 2015.

De Freitas A, Guimaraes FG, Fleming PJ: Aggregation Trees for Visualization in many-objective optimization, Information Sciences, 298, pp 288-314, 2015.

Giagkiozis I, Purshouse RC, Fleming PJ: Generalized decomposition and cross entropy methods for many-objective optimization, Information Sciences, 282, pp. 363-387, 2014.

Giagkiozis I, Purshouse RC, Fleming PJ: Towards Understanding the Cost of Adaptation in Decomposition-Based Optimization Algorithms, Proc IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics SMC2013, pp. 615–620, 6721863 2013.

Wang R, Purshouse RC, Fleming PJ: Preference-inspired co-evolutionary algorithms for many-objective optimisation, IEEE Trans Evolutionary Computation, 17(4), pp 474-494, 2013.

Purshouse RC, Fleming PJ: On the evolutionary optimisation of many conflicting objectives, IEEE Trans Evolutionary Computation, 11(6), pp 770-784, 2007.

Fleming PJ, Pashkevich MA: Optimal advertising campaign generation for multiple brands using MOGA, IEEE Trans Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 37, pp. 1190-1201, 2007.

Fleming PJ, Purshouse RC, Lygoe RJ: Many-objective optimization: An engineering design perspective, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 3410, pp 14-32, 2005.

Ramos-Hernandez D, Fleming PJ, Bass JM: A novel object-oriented environment for distributed process control systems, Control Engineering Practice, 13, pp. 213-230, 2005.

Ong M, Ren X, Allan G, Kadirkamanathan V, Thompson HA, Fleming PJ:

Decision support system on the grid, International Journal of Knowledge-Based and Intelligent Engineering Systems, 9(4), pp. 315-326 2005.

Rodriguez-Vazquez K, Fonseca CM,, Fleming PJ: Identifying the structure of nonlinear dynamic systems using multiobjective genetic programming, IEEE Transactions on Systems Man and Cybernetics Part A-Systems And Humans, 34, pp 531-545, 2004.

Ruano AE, Fleming PJ, Teixeira C, Rodriguez-Vazquez K, Fonseca CM: Nonlinear identification of aircraft gas-turbine dynamics, Neurocomputing, 55, nos. 3-4, pp. 551-579, 2003.

Purshouse RC, Fleming PJ: Conflict, harmony, and independence: Relationships in evolutionary multi-criterion optimisation, Evolutionary Multi-Criterion Optimization, Proceedings, Lecture Notes In Computer Science, 2632, pp16-30, 2003.

Fleming PJ, Purshouse RC: Evolutionary algorithms in control systems engineering: a survey, Control Engineering Practice, vol. 10, pp. 1223-1241, 2002.

Gillet VJ, Khatib W, Willett P, Fleming PJ, Green DVS: Combinatorial library design using a multiobjective genetic algorithm, J Chemical Information and Computer Sciences, 42, pp 375-385, 2002.

Nicolotti O, Gillet VJ, Fleming PJ, Green DVS: Multiobjective optimization in quantitative structure-activity relationships: deriving accurate and interpretable QSARs, J Medicinal Chemistry,  45, no. 23, pp. 5069-5080, 2002.

Evans C, Fleming PJ, Hill DC, Norton JP, Pratt I, Rees D, Rodríguez-Vázquez K: Application of system identification techniques to aircraft gas turbine engines, Control Engineering Practice, 9, no. 2, pp. 135-148, 2001.

Schroder P, Green B, Grum N, Fleming PJ: On-line evolution of robust control systems: An industrial active magnetic bearing application, Control Engineering Practice, 9, pp. 37-49, 2001.

Thompson HA, Chipperfield AJ, Fleming PJ, Legge C: Distributed aero-engine control systems architecture selection using multi-objective optimisation, Control Engineering Practice, 7, pp. 655-664, 1999.

Rodríguez-Vázquez K, Fleming PJ: Multi-objective genetic programming for nonlinear system identification, Electronics Letters, 34, pp. 930-931, 1998.

Chipperfield A, Fleming P: Multiobjective gas turbine engine controller design using genetic algorithms, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, 43, pp. 583-589, 1996.

Chipperfield AJ, Fleming PJ: The MATLAB genetic algorithm toolbox", IEE Colloquium on Applied control techniques using MATLAB, pp. 10/1‑10/4, 1995.

Fonseca CM, Fleming PJ: Multiobjective optimization and multiple constraint handling with evolutionary algorithms - Part 1: A unified formulation, IEEE Trans Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 28, pp. 26-37, 1998.

Fonseca CM, Fleming PJ: Multiobjective optimization and multiple constraint handling with evolutionary algorithms - Part II: Application example, IEEE Trans Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 28, pp. 38-47, 1998.

Fonseca CM, Fleming PJ: Genetic algorithms for multiobjective optimization: formulation, discussion and generalization, Proc Fifth Int Conf Genetic Algorithms, pp. 416‑423, 1993.

Fleming PJ: Design algorithms for a sensitivity constrained suboptimal regulatorInt J Control, 1977, 25(6), pp. 965–978.


Jamshidi M, Krohling  RA, Coelho LS and Fleming PJ: Robust control systems with genetic algorithms, CRC Press, 2002.

Zalzala AMS and Fleming PJ (eds): Genetic algorithms in engineering systems, Peter Peregrinus, 1997.

Chipperfield AJ and Fleming PJ (eds): MATLAB toolboxes and applications for control, Peter Peregrinus, 1993.

Garcia Nocetti DF and Fleming PJ: Parallel processing in digital control Springer Verlag, 1992.

Irwin GW and Fleming PJ (eds): Transputers for real‑time control, Research Studies Press, 1992.

Fleming PJ (ed): Parallel Processing in Control ‑ the Transputer and other Architectures, Peter Peregrinus, 1988.