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John C. Doyle 道耀

Jean-Lou Chameau Professor
of Control and Dynamical Systems
Electrical Engineering
and BioEngineering

Division of Engineering and Applied Science
California Institute of Technology


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Fall 2017 CDS 231 New Control Course

For last spring's course: See CDS 270 Course details (Spring 2017) for more

The aims of CDS 231 are similar to CDS 270 (Sp 2017) but with more emphasis on math details, and less on motivating case studies.

Aims: Complex tech, bio, neuro, med, eco, and socio-econ networks have both strikingly universal shared architectural features and constraining "laws" but with extremely different domain specific details. The first half of the course will use familiar case studies to motivate a new mathematical framework for understanding these similarities and differences, emphasizing layering, dynamics, optimization, nonlinearity, learning, communications, and control, sparsity and structure, and tradeoffs between robustness, efficiency, and evolvability. Lectures will primarily be by video with class time devoted to discussions and lots of live demos and games involving audience participation. The second half of the term will be a fast review of core theory in robust and optimal control and a bit of nonlinear using SOSTOOLS.

To get started on the videos, and reading material, see the subfolder New_CDS231 in the dropbox folder:

Dropbox folder

See Course details for more details on 231 (nothing there yet).

Brief Bio

John Doyle is the Jean-Lou Chameau Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems, Electrical Engineer, and BioEngineering at Caltech, and received the BS&MS in EE, MIT (1977), and PhD in Math, UC Berkeley (1984)). He was a consultant at Honeywell Systems and Research Center from 1976 to 1990.

Research is on mathematical foundations for complex networks with applications in biology, technology, medicine, ecology, neuroscience, and multiscale physics that integrates theory from control, computation, communication, optimization, statistics (e.g. Machine Learning). An emphasis on universal laws and architectures, robustness/efficiency and speed/accuracy tradeoffs, adaptability, and evolvability and large scale systems with sparse, saturating, delayed, quantized, uncertain sensing, communications, computing, and actuation. Early work was on robustness of feedback control systems with applications to aerospace and process control. His students and research group developed software packages like the Matlab Robust Control Toolbox and the Systems Biology Markup Language (SBML).

Prizes, awards, records, championships include the 1990 IEEE Baker Prize (for all IEEE publications), also listed in the world top 10 “most important" papers in mathematics 1981-1993, IEEE Automatic Control Transactions Award (twice 1998, 1999), 1994 AACC American Control Conference Schuck Award, 2004 ACM Sigcomm Paper Prize and 2016 “test of time” award, and inclusion in Best Writing on Mathematics 2010. Individual awards include 1977 IEEE Power Hickernell, 1983 AACC Eckman, 1984 UC Berkeley Friedman, 1984 IEEE Centennial Outstanding Young Engineer (a one-time award for IEEE 100th anniversary), and 2004 IEEE Control Systems Field Award. Best known for fabulous friends, partner, colleagues, and students. Has held world and national records and championships in various sports, but is otherwise quite fragile.

NIH Style Bio

(Old) Athletics Bio

Somewhat Recent Application Papers

For recent theory papers see Nikolai Matni

For fairly complete list of references see Google Scholar

Neuroscience and Machine Learning : Interpretation of the Precision Matrix and Its Application in Estimating Sparse Brain Connectivity during Sleep Spindles from Human Electrocorticography Recordings Das, Sampson, Lainscsek, Muller, Lin, Doyle, Cash, Halgren, Sejnowski, Neural Computation, 2017

Education and Neuroscience: Tutorial on education for Conference on Decision and Control, 2016

Medicine: Robust efficiency and actuator saturation explain healthy heart rate control and variability‎ Li, Cruz, Chien, Sojoudi, Recht, Stone, Csete, Bahmiller, Doyle (2014), P Natl Acad Sci USA 111 (33)

Medicine: Sepsis: Something Old, Something New, and a Systems View J Crit Care. (2012)

Universal architectures: Architecture, constraints, and behavior, JC Doyle, MC Csete, P Natl Acad Sci USA, vol. 108, Sup 3 15624-15630

Biology: Gycolytic oscillations and limits on robust efficiency, FA Chandra, G Buzi, JC Doyle Science 333(6039):187-192, July 2011

Turbulence: Amplification and nonlinear mechanisms in plane Couette flow., D Gayme, B McKeon, B Bamieh, A Papachristodolou, and J Doyle. Physics of Fluids v23:6:065108 (2011)

Biology: Analysis of autocatalytic networks in biology, G Buzi, U Topcu, J Doyle, Automatica 47:1123-1130 (2011)

Earthquakes: The magnitude distribution of earthquakes near Southern California faults Page, Alderson, and Doyle JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 116, (2011)

Physics: On Lossless Approximations, the Fluctuation-Dissipation Theorem, and Limitations of Measurements, H Sandberg, JC Delvenne, JC Doyle, IEEE Trans Auto Control, v56:2, 293-308 (2011)

Wireless: Cross-layer design in multihop wireless networks, L Chen, SH Low, and JC Doyle, Computer Networks 55:480–496 (2011)

Circuits: Solving Large-Scale Hybrid Circuit-Antenna Problems Lavaei, Babakhani, Hajimiri and Doyle, IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems I, vol. 58, no. 2, pp. 374-387, Feb. 2011.

Complexity: Contrasting Views of Complexity and Their Implications For Network-Centric Infrastructures Alderson and Doyle, IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON SYSTEMS, MAN, AND CYBERNETICS—PART A: SYSTEMS AND HUMANS, VOL. 40, NO. 4, JULY 2010

Internet: Mathematics and the Internet: A Source of Enormous Confusion and Great Potential Willinger, Alderson, and Doyle, Notices of the AMS Volume 56, Number 5 (2009)

Fire: Fire in the Earth System, Science 324, 481 (2009)

Biology: Robustness of Cellular Functions, Stelling, Sauer, Szallasi, Doyle, and Doyle, Cell, 2004

Biology: Reverse Engineering of Biological Complexity, Csete and Doyle, Science, (2002)


  • Dennice Gayme (Hopkins) named Carol Linde Croft Faculty Scholar.
  • Na (Lina) Li (Harvard) gets NSF CAREER and AFOSR YI awards.
  • Javad Lavaei (Berkeley) gets SIAM Control and Systems Theory Prize and AACC Eckman, and too many other awards to list.
  • Old: Discover magazine "This man wants to control the internet" by Carl Zimmer, Discover magazine, 2008.
  • Newer: Blog and new videos Follow link to dropbox folder with accessible introductory videos and case studies in neuroscience, cell biology, and medical physiology. Our you can go directly to the dropbox folder or see above video lists.

Please download the .mp4 files from the dropbox, otherwise they will run in preview mode, which limits the time.

Not very recent talk slides

U Wisc Madison CS Sept 2012 pdf

UCSB Sage lectures, May 2012. (These are pdf files. Ask me for the ppt if you want to steal anything. I would be very flattered.)

Lecture 1 May 7, 2012

Lecture 2 May 14, 2012

Lecture 3 May 21, 2012

Lecture 4a May 30, 2012

Lecture 4b May 30, 2012

Summary: Universal laws and architectures (maybe start here)

Old Teaching Material


Mailing Address

John Doyle
California Institute of Technology
Control and Dynamical Systems, MC 107-81
1200 E. California Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91125 USA

Contact information

E-mail: doyle AT caltech dot edu
Office: 210 Annenberg,
Phone: 626.395.4808

Admin Assistant: Monica Nolasco
Office: 107 Steele,
Email: mnolasco AT caltech dot edu
Phone: 626.395.4140

Other Caltech links

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