Dr J Anthony Rossiter

Dr Anthony Rossiter, MA, DPhil, MIEE, CEng, FHEA
Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering
University of Sheffield
S1 3JD
Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 5685
Fax: (+44) (0)114 222 5683
Email: j.a.rossiter@sheffield.ac.uk
Room: C08, Amy Johnson Building


After studying his 1st degree in Engineering Science and DPhil (both at Oxford), Dr. Rossiter has been an academic at Loughborough (1992-2001) and now at Sheffield. He has always maintained strong interests in both technical research and education and currently has a high profile in both domains.

His technical research has predominantly been based around the area of predictive control and more specifically with a focus on modifying the basic algorithm to optimise computational efficiency and/or simplicity with minimal sacrifice to the expected performance. Currently he is looking at how the algorithm, more normally used at a high level and requiring substantial computing power and set up costs, might be effectively deployed on microprocessors and other low level implementation technologies with minimal set up costs; one focus is on understanding the potential of Predictive Functional Control approaches.

Within education his interests are varied and he is a fellow of the HEA. He has played a major role in improving mathematics support for engineers and also tries to enthuse colleagues to consider the potential of new technology for improving the learning experience available to students. He is a strong champion of the need for effective team work in both the design and delivery of the curriculum. Current teaching duties cover all 4 years and focus on   mathematics, modelling, analysis and control (modules ACS124, ACS221, ACS334, ACS426). Dr. Rossiter currently acts as an external examiner at Strathclyde and Glasgow Calendonian.

He has been in many roles such as chair of departmental Learning and Teaching Committee, admissions tutor, schools liaison, faculty director of learning and teaching and MSc tutor. His current administration roles are Year 4 tutor and several Faculty and University committees.

Technical research

With collaborators, Dr. Rossiter has made numerous contributions within the literature, perhaps the most well known being related to the closed-loop paradigm for predictive control (MPC), a concept that is now very widely adopted and often referred to using terms like terminal mode or terminal weights. His keenest interest is to properly understand the different elements within a predictive control law and hence to exploit this insight to design modifications with particular objectives.

Recent work has been most focussed on computational simplicity, that is how to reduce the online, and sometimes offline, loading associated to MPC. There are numerous avenues being pursed in the literature at large, but Dr. Rossiter has focussed most on a few of these:

  • How are the degrees of freedom best parameterised to capture flexibility, performance and the need to satisfy constraints.
  • Given the recent interest in parametric methods, what different ways of looking at the problem could lead to a dramatic reduction in the complexity of the solution.
  • How can an algorithm, including the modelling aspects, being posed to maximise the potential for adoption in low level and low cost control processes.

From a historical perspective, there are a number of issues which sit in the background of predictive control research and in which Dr. Rossiter still has an active interest. Examples in include: (i) How is an algorithm set up so that in the nominal case, or indeed for some specified uncertainty, you can be sure the resulting loop is guaranteed stabilising? (ii) An addendum to this, how can be sure that the optimising prediction will satisfy constraints and continue to do so at every sample, irrespective of some uncertainty (this is usually denoted recursive feasibility)? (iii) How do ideas extend to non-square systems or multi-rate systems or other non-standard setups? (iv) What are effective but efficient ways of taking account of uncertainty?

Dr. Rossiter has acted and continues to act as a reviewer for EPSRC and numerous journals and conferences. He is currently editor for the international journal of adaptive control. He himself has over 200 publications in various formats.

Collaboration and new research fields

Dr. Rossiter is always keen to entertain new ideas and enjoys collaborating with international colleagues. It will be clear from his publications that much of his best work has been in collaboration, perhaps the most notable of these being: Prof. Kouvaritakis (Oxford) and Dr M Cannon (Oxford University), Professor L Chisci (Firenze, Italy), Dr P Neal (Powergen), Prof SL Shah and T Chen (University Alberta, Edmonton), Prof J Richalet (Adersa), Dr Shead (Surrey), Prof. L. Wang (Melbourne) and Prof Muske (Villanova, USA), Prof. Haber (Cologne), Prof. Richalet (Founder of PFC) and many Ph.D students from other institutions than his own.

He is particularly keen to develop the research within wind energy and is currently building collaborations both internally (B. Jones, P. Trodden) and externally to support this.

He currently has 7 PhD students working on various aspects of applications (wind energy, solar energy, chemical process control and energy distribution) and MPC theory: Evans Ejegi, Shukri Dughman, Yahya Al-naumani, Adham Alsharkawi, Wai Hou Lio, Muhammad Abdullah and Hassrizal B Hassan Basri.

Education Research and Dissemination

Engineering education in the UK is undergoing rapid change to keep up with the changes in school curriculum and large increases in numbers which is introducing a larger variability of backgrounds. One issue of particular importance is how to change teaching styles, content and support mechanisms to help these students both to progress and enjoy their time at university. Dr. Rossiter plays a central role in University administrative structures, for example as chair of the departmental learning and teaching committee and a previous role as a faculty director of learning and teaching.

His roles as external examiner for Reading University (2009-12), Portsmouth University (2010-15), Strathclyde University (2013-17) and Glasgow Caledonian (2015- ) allow him both to learn from and share with colleagues from other institutions. He acts as a reviewer for the higher education academy for many of their schemes such as national teaching fellowships and has organised and led several workshops on their behalf.

His fundamental belief is that we improve what we do by a combination of factors, for example: good ideas, good technology to make these ideas work, good evidence of efficacy and the ability to convince colleagues that it is in their interest to adopt new practices. Consequently his major contributions in education are mostly dissemination based, that is observing what works elsewhere and then tailoring this into an engineering scenario and showing that it works, for students and staff. Part of this desire to disseminate is behind his popular text book on predictive control (published in 2003).

He played the lead in bringing maths learning support to sheffield (www.shef.ac.uk/mash), was a lead in encouraging widespread adoption of virtual learning environments to his department along with many of the associated tools, has led several projects investigating the potential of new technologies such as podcasting/vodcasting and remote access laboratories and has produced series of Videos on modelling, control and analysis. He also has an interest in more mundane issues such as how to change culture to get the most out of the staff you have.

Dr. Rossiter has several prizes in recognition of his teaching contributions:

University of Sheffield Senate award for sustained excellence in learning and teaching, 2009
(See: http://www.sheffield.ac.uk/lets/cpd/reward/fellows)

The Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre Teaching Award 2008.
(See: http://www.engsc.ac.uk/an/teaching_awards/awards07_08.asp)

Engineering Teaching prize from Royal academy of Engineering, 2005.
(See: http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/news-releases/2005/December/academy-awards-its-first-ever-teaching-prizes)

International Symposium on Advances in Control Education coming soon

Dr. Rossiter is a vice chair of the IFAC control education technical committee 9.4 or EDCOM and academic lead on a HEA special interest group, http://controleducation.group.shef.ac.uk/; this meets at the biennial UKACC conference.

He was the general chair of an Advances in Control Education Conference in 2013 http://ace2013.group.shef.ac.uk/  and will serve as Chair of IPC in 2016.

List of some recent publications

Dr. Rossiter has over 250 publications in various formats. A few of the more recent ones are listed here. Please contact Dr. Rossiter if you would like a copy of any of the more recent publications.

  • Input shaping for PFC: how and why?, J.A. Rossiter,  Journal of control and decision, DOI: 10.1080/23307706.2015.1083408, 2015.
  • Fundamental performance similarities between individual pitch control strategies for wind turbine , Wai Hou Lio, Bryn Ll. Jones, Qian Lu & J.A. Rossiter,  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00207179.2015.1078912, IJC, 2015.
  • Long horizon input parameterisations to enlarge the region of attraction of MPC by B. Khan, G. Valencia-Palomo,  J.A. Rossiter, C. Jones, R. Gondhalekar, Optimal Control, Applications and Methods, 2014, SN 1099-1514. DOI: 10.1002/oca.2158
  • Experiences of and resources to enable lecture flipping in systems and control engineering, HESTEM, 2014
  • Using online lectures to support student learning of control engineering , J.A. Rossiter, IFAC symposium on advances in control education, 2013
  • Teamwork & Team Delivery: Improving student retention and satisfaction, J.A. Rossiter and L. Gray, in HEA Compendium of Good Practice: What works, student retention and success. 2012
  • Making learning accessible and encouraging student independence with low cost developments, J.A. Rossiter, Engineering Education, Vol 8, No. 2, 3013, pp15-29
  • Alternative Parameterisation within predictive Control: a systematic selection, B. Khan and J.A. Rossiter, IJC, 1397-1409, 86, 8, 2013
  • Case studies in making assessment efficient while developing student professionalism and managing transition, J.A. Rossiter, accepted European Journal of Engineering Education, 38,6, pp 582-594, Published online August 2013, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03043797.2013.824409.
  • A novel PLC implementation of a predictive controller based on Laguerre functions and multiparametric solutions G. Valencia-Palomo, J. A. Rossiter, Proceedings of IET, 6(8):1003-1014, 2012
  • A novel PLC implementation of a predictive controller based on Laguerre functions and multiparametric solutions, G. Valencia-Palomo, J.A. Rossiter, accepted, IET 2011
  • Using teamwork to engage students and manage transition, J.A. Rossiter and L. Gray, EngSc Journal, accepted for Summer 2012
  • Programmable logic controller implementation of an auto-tuned predictive control based on minimal plant information, ISA Transactions 50(1):92-100 2011