Ian Petersen


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Ian Ross Building (31), R220b


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Electrical and electronic engineering; calculus of variations, systems theory and control theory; control systems, robotics and automation; quantum information, computation and communication; quantum optics and physics.


Professor Petersen’s primary area of research interest is in the fields of Systems and Control and in particular in the area of Robust Control Theory. Within the area of systems and control theory, his particular research interests have been as follows:

  • Quantum Control Systems
  • Negative Imaginary Systems Theory
  • Robust Stochastic Control Theory and Risk Sensitive Control.
  • Integral Quadratic Constraints in Robust and Nonlinear Control Theory
  • H infinity Control Theory
  • Robust Kalman Filtering
  • The Quadratic Stability Approach to Robust Control System Design

A component of his research has involved applying control theory and in particular robust control theory to engineering applications. These applications have included:

  • Control in Quantum Optics
  • Control of Atomic Force Microscopes
  • Control of Flexible Structures using Smart Materials
  • Aircraft and Missile Control including control of hypersonic vehicles
  • Active Noise Control.
  • Control of Electrical Machines.
  • Control and Fault detection in Chemical Processes
  • Control of Steel Mills


Ian Petersen has been a Professor in the ANU Research School of Engineering since 2017. Before this, he held several positions at UNSW from 1985-2016, including Scientia Professor, Australian Laureate Fellow, Acting Associate Dean (Research), and Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Petersen received his PhD (Electrical Engineering) from the University of Rochester, USA, in 1984, his MSc (Electrical Engineering) from the University of Rochester, and his BEng (Electrical) First Class Honours from the University of Melbourne, in 1979.

Activities & Awards

Professor Petersen serves as an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, Automatica Editor for Optimization in Systems and Control, and reviewer for numerous international journals.

Fellowships and Professional Society Membership

  • Fellow, Australian Academy of Science.
  • Fellow, International Federation of Automatic Control.
  • Fellow, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences President’s International Fellow.
  • Fellow, Institution of Engineers Australia.
  • Member, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.
  • Senior Member, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Awards and Honours

  • Professorship under the Chinese Academy of Sciences President’s International Fellowship Initiative, 2015.
  • Best paper award at the 11th World Congress on Intelligent Control and Automation, 2014, joint with Guodong Shi, Karl Henrik Johansson and Daoyi Dong.
  • ISI Highly Cited Researcher in the field of Engineering.
  • Visiting Fellow, Corpus Christi College Cambridge, 1998.
  • Fellow Commoner, Churchill College Cambridge, 1989.
  • Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship, 1979-1983.

Recent grants:

  • Airforce Office of Scientific Research (USA) Grant, 2016, 2017, 2018. “Systems Theory Approach to Modelling and Robust Design of Quantum Information Processing Devices”, with M.R. James $US 150,000 in each year.
  • ARC Discovery Grant, 2016-2018. “Generalised Energy Based Robust and Nonlinear Control Systems.” $125,800 in the first year, $135,600 in the second year, $150,380 in the third year.
  • Airforce Office of Scientific Research (USA) Grant, 2012-2014. “Linear Quantum Systems: Non-Classical States and Robust Stability.” with M.R. James, $US 180,000 in the first year, $US190,000 in the second year, $US180,000 in the third year.
  • ARC Linkage Infrastructure Grant, 2012. “Facility for characterisation of engineered microelectromechanical systems”, with Professor S. O. Reza Moheimani, Professor Erich H Kisi, Professor Gursel Alici, Professor Elanor H Huntington, Dr Sam Behrens, A/Prof Charles C Harb, A/Prof Hemanshu R Pota, A/Prof Weihua Li, Dr James S Welsh, Dr Terrence J Summers, $300,000.
  • ARC Linkage Projects Grant, 2012-2014. “Theoretical Framework for Practical Partial Fingerprint Identification”, with Jiankun Hu, Mohammed Bennamoun and Fengling Han, $50,000 in the first year, $45,000 in the second year, $50,000 in the third year.
  • ARC Laureate Fellowship, 2011-2016. “Consensus, Estimation and Control in Complex Large-Scale Quantum Systems”, $620,444 in each year for the first four years and $575,778 in the fifth year.

Professor Petersen can also be reached at i.r.petersen@gmail.com.

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