Global Concerns Global Concerns - XXV

In our last Newsletter, we announced the good news that the IFAC Council has accepted AACC's invitation to hold the annual IFAC meeting series at our upcoming 2001 ACC. We also identified the IFAC officials that will attend ACC. Let's now discuss how you can become involved in IFAC and identify the IFAC officials you can contact during ACC to explore your interests.


There's no doubt that society and technology are both becoming more "global". This is certainly true for automatic control with many excellent university laboratories and industrial centers making remarkable contributions in diverse parts of the world. IFAC is truly a global organization involved in technological and social aspects of control theory, practical applications, and education in most of these locations. When you participate in IFAC activities, you interact with international control leaders from throughout the world.


IFAC Conferences/Events

IFAC sponsors from 30 to 40 technical events each year on diverse control topics. An IFAC Symposium is a regularly scheduled meeting that focuses on a well defined theme. The symposia topics on IFAC's current Masterplan include: Chemical Processing, Real-Time Control, Aerospace, Human Skill Systems, Computer Aided Design, Fault Detection & Safely, Human-Machine systems, Manufacturing, Intelligent Vehicles, Components & Instruments, Large Scale Systems, Low Cost Automation, Mining/Mineral/Metal Processing, Biomedical, Nonlinear, Robust, System Identification, System Structure, Transportation, Education, and Economic/Financial systems.

An IFAC Conference is similar to a symposium but it is not necessarily a part of a series; themes for conferences may be one-time only.

An IFAC Workshop is more informal and less structured usually with a narrower scope and generally smaller attendance. Workshops are often the site for new emerging control topics that have not yet developed a broad following.

The IFAC Congress is of course the ultimate IFAC event which addresses all aspects of control, including both theory and practice. IFAC Congresses typically last a full-week with attendance sometimes reaching 2,000.

Perhaps you plan to attend an IFAC event - maybe to present a paper. The meeting may be held within the USA; however, with the diverse locations of IFAC's activities, it's likely that you will have the added benefit of visiting another region of the world. This opportunity to visit other countries adds significantly to the value of such events.

While you will obviously want to attend IFAC meetings, you may also want to organize an event. If you want to propose a meeting within the USA, the AACC will be able to assist. If you want to be involved in events outside the USA, then you may be able to visit with representatives of other IFAC National Member Organizations during the ACC.

IFAC Publications

IFAC has three major journals plus a newsletter, a dictionary, and several affiliated journals. Automatica is IFAC's monthly publication that emphasizes control theory and techniques. Control Engineering Practice is the monthly publication that focuses on applications and implementation. Annual Reviews in Control is an annual publication that contains review articles selected from material in recent IFAC symposia, conferences, or workshops, as well as the latest Congress. The affiliated journals are typically special interest publications that focus on narrower topics that align with IFAC's Technical Committees. The current list of affiliate journals address artificial intelligence, process control, real-time systems, robust and nonlinear control, space technology, robots & CIM, and transportation. Affiliate IFAC members can subscribe to IFAC journals at special rates; registration cards will be available at ACC so that you can become an Affiliate member and therefore qualify for these rates. Perhaps you are also interested in publishing in or serving on the Editorial Boards of the IFAC journals. The Editors-in-Chief for IFAC's journals will hold Editorial Board meetings during ACC; you may want to contact them regarding publishing opportunities or other service roles.

IFAC Technical Committees

IFAC's technical activities are coordinated by the Technical Board; the members include chairs of the nine Coordinating Committees which are responsible for 46 IFAC Technical Committees. The Technical Committees are the focal points of all IFAC technical activities with particular focus on organization of symposia, conferences, workshops, and the IFAC Congress. Some Technical Committees also prepare newsletters, state-of-the-art reports, and maintain WWW sites.

The current IFAC Coordinating Committees and their major focus include:

Each of the Chairs of these IFAC Coordinating Committees will be at the ACC. You may be interested in becoming a member of one of their Technical Committees.

IFAC Awards

IFAC has a host of awards intended to recognize outstanding control engineers and specific contributions to our field. Different awards focus on design methods, software, instruments, significant control projects, major applications, control education, outstanding papers (both journals, conferences, and poster papers), and outstanding control textbooks. Prizes are also awarded to young authors as well as to individuals with distinguished service to IFAC.

The IFAC Awards committee will also be meeting during the ACC if you would like to discuss any of the IFAC awards.


A rare opportunity will indeed be available when IFAC comes to our 2001 ACC. If you have questions about IFAC, or want to become more involved with IFAC activities, this is clearly a time that benefits your interest and further development in our exciting field.

See you in Arlington at the ACC!