2001 ACC Highlights of the 2001 American Control Conference

The 2001 American Control Conference began at 6:30pm, June 24, with a memorable Welcoming Reception. Due to a power outage, the Grand Ballroom at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, was illuminated with only a few auxiliary emergency lights during most of the evening. But this didn't seem to dim the spirits of the attendees who enjoyed a sumptuous spread of hors d'oeuvres in preparation for the upcoming three days of technical sessions.

The 2001 ACC followed the familiar format with a few variations. The over 1000 attendees used a new Web-based system for registration, both before and during the conference. The technical sessions were scheduled on Monday through Wednesday, rather than the traditional Wednesday through Friday, with Workshops on Sunday and Thursday. The usual two-hour sessions of oral presentations were complemented by parallel poster sessions in the main foyer outside the meeting rooms. And for the first time, LCD projectors were available for laptop computer presentations in all sessions.

The technical sessions began Monday morning with a plenary talk by Professor Christos Cassandras of Boston University on "Let's Control Everything." On Tuesday morning, Dr. Tariq Samad of Honeywell Laboratories continued the theme of new vistas for control in his plenary presentation on "Enterprise Optimization in the Process Industries--and Beyond." The Wednesday morning plenary presentation on "Challenges, Theory, and Applications in Process Control" was given by Professor Richard D. Braatz from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Attendees were treated to an additional special plenary session each day. Dr. Kishan Baheti of the National Science Foundation organized a special plenary session on Monday focusing on National Research Initiatives. The Tuesday special plenary session, organized by Professor Linda Bushnell of the University of Washington, featured Dr. Otto Mayr who spoke on the history of feedback control. The Wednesday special plenary session, also organized by Dr. Baheti, was titled "From Theory to Wall Street," where three well-known control theorists who are also entrepreneurs shared candid perspectives on what it takes to turn theory into practice.

The 2001 ACC continued the recent tradition of having special industry-tutorial sessions, comprising a one-hour tutorial on a topic of particular current interest, followed by four fifteen-minute presentations on real-world applications. These sessions have become some of the most popular sessions at the ACC. This year's ACC featured a full track of nine industry-tutorial sessions covering topics ranging from fault tolerant control to modeling and control of economic systems.

The 2001 ACC also hosted the Council of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC). The American Automatic Control Council (AACC) was pleased and honored that the IFAC Council accepted the invitation to hold its annual meetings in conjunction with the 2001 ACC. This brought to the conference many international leaders in control, who participated in the technical and social sessions throughout the week.

Sincere appreciation and gratitude is extended to the many people who made the 2001 ACC a success. We look forward to continuing the tradition next year in Anchorage, Alaska.