Technical University of Crete, Greece
Title: A System-of-Systems Approach to the Analysis and Control of Sustainability
Yannis A. Phillis received his diploma in electrical and mechanical engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, in 1973 and the M.S., Engineer Degree, and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles, in control systems in 1978, 1979, and 1980, respectively.
From 1980 to 1986, he was with Boston University, Boston, MA. Since 1986, he has been with the Department of Production Engineering and Management, Technical University of Crete, Chania, Greece where he is professor and director of the CAM Laboratory. In 1992 and between 2005 and 2007 he was visiting professor at UCLA's Chemical Engineering Department. Between September and October 2008, as Onassis Foundation Senior Visiting Fellow in the US, he lectured on environmental issues in four American Universities. His research interests are in stochastic control, discrete-event systems, and applications in manufacturing networks and environmental systems.
Dr. Phillis is Book Editor of the Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems, Advisory Board Member for the IEEE Systems Journal, Associate Editor for the International Journal of Engineering Management, Member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Environmental Engineering and Management Journal, and was on the Editorial Board of the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, and past Editor of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine. He has also served as Trustee of the Venizelos Research Institute and the Center of Mediterranean Architecture in Greece between 1999 and 2005.
He is the recipient of numerous honors among which Professor of the Year Award at Boston University in 1986, an award by the Academy of Athens for his environmental activities in 2007, Fellow of the Venizelos Research Institute in Greece, recipient of awards by the Municipalities of Chania and Assini, Greece in 2005 and 2008 respectively for his service to society, and recipient of a "Lifetime Achievement Award", for his contributions to production and environmental systems and leadership in higher education at the World Automation Conference 2010, Kobe, Japan.
He was general chair of the Fifth International Conference on Advances in Communication and Control (1995) and the 3d and 5th International Conference on Management of Technological Change (2003, 2005).
Dr. Phillis was rector of the Technical University of Crete for 10 years until 2005. In 1994 founded and developed the 80-acre Park for the Preservation of Flora and Fauna in Crete. The Park has a laboratory for the study and preservation of endangered plant species, which is also actively involved in ethnobotanical issues. The Park is visited by thousands of people every year.
He has published over 100 scientific papers and four technical books. He is an award winning writer in Greece and the US, having published five poetry collections, three novels, and two environmental books. He is a Fellow of AAAS; a Senior Member of IEEE; and Member of Sigma Xi; Poets and Writers, USA; P.E.N. Club; and the European Art Center, Athens.
Many complex systems influence the well-being and sustainability of a country. These systems could be natural or environmental and man-made or social. The state of biodiversity, water, air or land are examples of the former, whereas health, education, economy, and policies are examples of the latter. All of the afore mentioned systems are extremely involved and hard to model.
To overcome some of the modeling difficulties the System-of-Systems (SoS) approach is adopted. This is a multilayered and hierarchical approach that exposes the various levels of the system as well as their state and control parameters. Two such systems are examined as SoS: biodiversity and health. The goal is to devise strategies that improve biodiversity and health and thus overall sustainability for a given region or country. These strategies should be developed within certain constraints such as limited budget. For example, the goal of biodiversity conservation is reduced to bringing extinctions due to human activities down to zero, given the budget allocated for this purpose. Such a problem could be formulated as an optimal control problem whenever possible, or as an adaptive SoS control problem, where strategies span all possible uncertainties to bring biodiversity within the target region.
Each system is modeled as a SoS at various levels and each level is in turn modeled according to existing knowledge. Various adaptive policies are then designed that take into account missing intermediate targets. A host of strategies are finally developed so that environmental and societal systems contribute to the sustainability of a country.