UJ’s Prof Wang recognised as global leader in Intelligent Systems for Engineering and Finance

Researcher Prof Qing-Guo Wang from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) was awarded an A-rating by the SA National Research Foundation (NRF) for his globally leading research in Control and Automation for Engineering and Financial applications on Monday 27 Feb 2017.

He joined the Institute of Intelligent Systems (IIS) within the UJ Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE) in 2016. He is an internationally renowned Electrical Engineering researcher in the areas of PID control, auto-tuning of control systems, and multivariable decoupling control. He is very well known for his work in system identification, relay feedback systems, time delay systems and multivariable control.

The NRF awards funding for research that can benefit all South Africans.

The award brings the number of UJ A-rated researchers to seven, which includes Prof Beukes in Geology, Prof Ferreira in the UJ Centre for Telecommunications, Prof Harris in Optometry, Prof Henning in Mathematics, Prof Maina in Zoology and Prof Metz in Philosophy.

Says UJ’s Prof Tshilidzi Marwala: “Prof Wang’s research is on modelling, optimisation and control. As we move into the fourth industrial revolution where much of the work that is done by people will be done by machines, Prof Wang’s work becomes even more important. His research to date touches many sectors such as manufacturing, finance and construction. At UJ’s Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, his projects range across mechanical to electrical and electronic engineering.”

Prof Marwala serves as the UJ Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation.

Over recent years, Prof Wang’s research has shifted significantly from the narrow control of traditional engineering process variables to the broad control of large and complex systems; which include environmental systems, new energy devices/facilities, defense systems, medical engineering, and financial markets.

“I needed to shift my attention from the narrow to the broad because of rapid change in the world,” says Prof Wang. “Rapid technological advances such as the internet connect and integrate different systems together. The systems that result from this are much larger and far more complex than those that came before.”

Prof Wang has published over 400 technical papers with 280 journal articles. He has received over 12000 citations with an h-index of 60. He was presented with the award of the most-cited article of the Journal of Automatica in 2006-2010 and was in the Thomson Reuters list of highly-cited researchers 2013 in Engineering (1 out of 250 worldwide). He received the prize for the most influential paper in 30 years for the journal Control Theory and Applications. He has authored or co-authored 7 research monographs, all published by Springer-Verlag.

Research planned

Prof Wang is planning several research projects funded by the NRF at the UJ IIS. These may include industrial projects for power systems, building automation, chemical and electrical systems, new batteries/super capacitors, medical engineering and flying drones mimicking the flying action of birds; as well as theoretical projects on system identification and systems control.

Industry experience

Early in his career, Prof Wang gained extensive industrial experience in paper mills in China.

“During my Master’s and PhD studies, I worked for three years at a paper mill in the People’s Republic of China. There, my supervisor, a classmate and I developed the first-ever paper machine computer control system in China. The paper industry started using it in 1985. After that I helped to implement the system in many mills for another five years until 1990, at which time I moved to Germany. The spin-off company from this technology has dominated the China market since then,” says Prof Wang.

In 1992 he moved to Singapore, developing practical control systems for cleanrooms, furnaces, crystallization, oil refineries and power systems.

Prof Wang has collaborated with major engineering control giants such as Siemens for dynamic load dispatch; Yokogawa for multivariable decoupling control; Fisher-Rosemount/Emerson for PID controller auto-tuning; Honeywell for multivariable control; Aspen Technology for model predictive control; DuPont for real time optimal control; and Supercon Technology for robust process identification.

He co-holds five patents in USA and Singapore, two of which have been licensed to USA.

In the last five years, Prof Wang’s research has included projects at UC Berkeley, Cambridge, and a MINDEF joint programme between the National University of Singapore and the Singapore Ministry of Defence. The projects addressed applications in building sustainability and energy efficiency; integrated chemical and electrical system operations; rechargeable high-power fuel cells and neuroengineering.

Professorial Inauguration

On 8 March 2017, Prof Wang was inaugurated as Distinguished Professor at the UJ Institute of Intelligent Systems on 8 March 2017. The topic of his address was “The 4th Industrial Revolution and Our Roles/Future”.

His Google Scholar profile here.

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