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.

He has held many roles such as chair of departmental Learning and Teaching Committee, admissions tutor, schools liaison, faculty director of learning and teaching, MSc tutor, year tutor and also plays a role in numerous 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 focusses mostly 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.

Dr. Rossiter has acted and continues to act as a reviewer for funding bodies and numerous journals and conferences. He is currently editor for the international journal of adaptive control.

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), B. Jones (Sheffield), P. Trodden (Sheffield) and many Ph.D students from other institutions than his own.

He currently works with 5 PhD students in Sheffield working on various aspects of applications and MPC theory.

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 role in a number of University and departmental administrative structures supporting both strategy and implementation.

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, 2nd edition due in 2018).

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 a series of online resources for the world wide community to use freely:
Videos on modelling, control and analysis.

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 roles

Dr. Rossiter is chair of the Internal Federation of Automatic Control or IFAC control education technical committee 9.4 (EDCOM) and honorary chair of the partner Technical Committee in the IEEE.

List of some recent publications

Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers