Welcome Message from the Chair

Large-scale complex systems have been traditionally characterized by a large number of variables, nonlinearities and uncertainties. Their decomposition into smaller, more manageable subsystems, possibly organized in a hierarchical form, has been associated with intense and time-critical information exchange and with the need for efficient decentralization and co-ordination mechanisms.

The last decade of the past century and the beginning of the 21st century have revealed new characteristic features of industrial and non-industrial large-scale complex systems. In particular the issue of system complexity has become transparent. Moreover, the enterprise of the present time are to operate in a highly networked environment and there is an ever more increased concern for integration of various technologies and for economic, environmental and social aspects. Consequently the design of control and decision support systems must take into account more aspects and needs additional skills and tools. At the same time, the recent advances in computer and communication technologies can provide effective tools and adequate technical infrastructures to support the design and implementation of control and decision support systems for the large-scale complex system applications of the present time.

The IFAC Technical Committee on "Large-Scale Complex Systems" has already 30 years tradition. The main event of this TC are symposia entitled "Large Scale Systems: Theory and Applications" (abbreviated as LSS). The inaugural edition has held in Udine, Italy in 1976. Since then, at a three-year succession, the Symposium took place in Toulouse, France (1980), Warsaw, Poland (1983), Zurich, Switzerland (1986), Berlin, GDR (1989), Beijing, China (1992), London, UK (1995), Partas, Greece (1998), Bucharest, Romania (2001), Osaka, Japan (2004) and Gdansk, Poland in 2007. The next edition of Symposium will be held in Lille, France in 2010.

It can be appreciated now that several subfields that are traditional for LSS events remain of increasing interest to the scientific community, such as decentralized and hierarchical control, model reduction, optimization and complex system analysis. Traditional applications of LSS methods, such as power, gas, transportation, manufacturing, water systems agriculture, process industry, robotics and communication networks are still of interest. However, these application systems have been continuously developing and new challenges have emerged.

For example, during last Symposium in Gdansk key ideas regarding generic inteligent network systems and their application to decision support and control of critical infraracture systems were presented. The Inteligent Network Systems were identified as strongly emergent field with the applications such as water and mobile communication networks, autonomous intelligent unmaned vehicle systems and security systems.

The TC members and other members of the control community are welcome to contribute to the successful fulfillment of the mission of this TC.

Mietek A. Brdys
Chair of IFAC TC 5.4