Doctoral dissertation

Dissertation: Control development for boundary controlled processes

Mathematics provides a unique framework for improving industrial processes. The doctoral dissertation of MSc (Tech) Jukka-Pekka Humaloja explores control strategies for mathematical systems that enable, for example, the modelling of chemical processes and vibrations in flexible structures.

In the fields of mathematical control theory and control engineering, controllers have been developed especially for industrial purposes since the 1970s. Industrial processes can be modelled by mathematical equations, and the behaviour of the process can be estimated by analysing these equations. Correspondingly, one can develop controls for the processes so that they behave in a desired way.

“Instead of considering a specific process, mathematical control theory focuses on analysing the general properties of abstract mathematical models. This approach allows the development of broad general control laws for large classes of mathematical systems. These laws can be applied to any processes that can be modelled by the class of systems in question,” says Jukka-Pekka Humaloja.

In his doctoral dissertation, Humaloja developed control laws for systems that can only be controlled (and usually also measured) via the boundaries of the system.

”One example of boundary control in an industrial context is continuous steel casting, whereby the temperature of liquid steel is controlled by adjusting the flow rate of steel from runners into the mould. When liquid steel is poured into a runner, the mouth of the runner acts as the boundary of the system and therefore the flow of steel serves as boundary control. The measurement can be thought to occur on the boundary as well, because the temperature of the liquid steel can only be measured through the walls of the runners,” describes Humaloja. 

As Jukka-Pekka Humaloja’s research falls in the category of basic research, further research is needed before his discoveries can be translated into practical applications. However, one of the areas of interest of the Mathematical Systems Theory Research Group at Tampere University is the application of theoretical models to essential practical processes, which promotes the transfer of research into practice.

”Besides industrial processes, mathematical systems theory has applications across a wide range of areas, such as neuroscience, biomedicine and economics,” says Humaloja.

The doctoral dissertation of MSc (Tech) Jukka-Pekka Humaloja in the field of mathematics titled Robust and Model Predictive Control for Boundary Control Systems will be publicly examined at the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences at Tampere University at 12 on Friday, 15 March 2019 in auditorium SA203 in the Sähkötalo building (Hervanta campus, address: Korkeakoulunkatu 3, Tampere, Finland). The Opponent will be Professor Kirsten Morris from the University of Waterloo. The Custos will be Assistant Professor Lassi Paunonen from the Computational Sciences Unit at Tampere University.

The dissertation is available online at