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Hybrid Systems Theory

What Are Hybrid Systems?

George Pappas

Naturally occurring and artificially engineered systems are characterized by dynamics that are continuous at some levels and discrete at others. While continuous dynamics have been well studied in control theory and continuous mathematics, and discrete distributed systems have been investigated in computer science, the combination of the complexity in both discrete and continuous aspects leads to foundational problems that are not well understood. Such hybrid systems are the theme of our research group.

Hybrid systems can be used to model embedded systems, such as avionics, automotive electronics, and robotics. Nature also provide us with examples of hybrid systems such as the cell-cycle control system in biology. Our research group brings together researchers from biology, computer science, engineering, and mathematics with the goal of developing the mathematical foundations and computational tools for understanding and designing such complex hybrid systems.