Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

David DiBiasio, Department Head

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Nikolaos K. Kazantzis, Advisor




The present research study is comprised of two main parts. The first part aims at the development of a systematic system-theoretic framework that allows the derivation of optimal chemotherapy protocols for HIV patients. The proposed framework is conceptually aligned with a notion of continuous-time model predictive control of nonlinear dynamical systems, and results in an optimal way to control viral replication, while maintaining low antiretroviral drug toxicity levels. This study is particularly important because it naturally integrates powerful system-theoretic techniques into a clinically challenging problem with worldwide implications, namely the one of developing chemotherapy patterns for HIV patients that are effective and do not induce adverse side-effects. The second part introduces a new digital controller design methodology for nonlinear (bio)chemical processes, that reflects contemporary necessities in the practical implementation of advanced process control strategies via digital computer-based algorithms. The proposed methodology relies on the derivation of an accurate sampled-data representation of the process, and the subsequent formulation and solution to a nonlinear digital controller synthesis problem. In particular, for the latter two distinct approaches are followed that are both based on the methodological principles of Lyapunov design and rely on a short-horizon model-based prediction and optimization of the rate of“energy dissipation" of the system, as it is realized through the time derivative of an appropriately selected Lyapunov function. First, the Lyapunov function is computed by solving the discrete Lyapunov matrix equation. In the second approach however, it is computed by solving a Zubov-like functional equation based on the system's drift vector field. Finally, two examples of a chemical and a biological reactor that both exhibit nonlinear behavior illustrate the main features of the proposed digital controller design method.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Chemical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





model predictive control, discrete-time model, continuous-time model, nonlinear systems, Lyapunov design, HIV infections, Chemotherapy, Lyapunov functions, Nonlinear control theory