Masters Research at CSOIS

Varsha Bhambhani




It was during the course of my Bachelors that each passing day brought in more opportunities; opportunities to learn, and to explore. To further stretch my capacity to learn and to expand this knowledge, I joined Dr. Y. Q. Chen’s group at USU as a graduate student in August 2006.While pursuing my masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering at USU, I had the opportunity to learn and explore more about controls/robotics While at USU, I have been working at CSOIS. CSOIS has an outstanding infrastructure setup and a stimulating, world-class research environment. This enabled me to work with some of the best minds dedicated to control engineering research. I gained a lot from this association, particularly an idea of how rewarding and meaningful a career in research could be. I became deeply involved in the following five projects:

1. Fractional Controllers and Time-delay systems.

Working on this project, I designed a novel robust jitter controller called Optimum Fractional Order Proportional-Integral Controller for FOPDT plants (tau<0.5), whose efficiency in providing higher jitter margin outperforms other existing fractional order and integer order controllers. 

This was proved by simulating a test batch of 100 KLT systems, making generalizations, comparing and finally proposing OFOPI tuning rules. This work was submitted to and has been accepted by International Federation of Automatic Control’08 (IFAC’08) (click).

Furthermore, this involved engineering an embedded and telepresence control of a three-axis T2 Stand-alone Smart wheel control at CSOIS using the OFOPI controller/tuning rules (click).

2. Canal Modeling and Irrigation Control.

During my first semester I prepared a subjective research article based on 100 IEEE papers on Irrigation and canal modeling. After reading about the immense potential of control engineering and remote sensing, I feelvery excited about the potential for new research in this area. Presently I am assisting a PhD student working on water control problem in Sevier River and we further plan to extend our work by considering OFOPI controller to analyze water delays in the Sevier River basin.


My research in this area is focused on designing Fractional Order Proportional Integral Controller (FOPI), based on Fractional Ms Constrained Integral Gain Optimization (FMIGO) method at CSOIS work for two experimental set-ups at Hewlett Packard’s Lab: Coupled Tank System PP-100 and Heat Flow Apparatus. The work was accepted in IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, Cancun, Mexico, 2008 (click) and Chinese Conference on Decision and Control, Yantai, China, 2008 (click).

This involves modeling, analysis and control of dynamic systems and comparisons with other existing integer order PI/PID controllers. Working on    this project has helped me hone my analytical/problem solving skills on real-life problems. I developed an appreciation of 'the big picture', and conversely how important details are. 

4. Blind Calibration of sensor networks

This involved gain and offset identification based on singular value decomposition and least square technique to calibrate data from T-mote sensors and soil moisture data obtained from lysometers at Water Research Lab, Utah.

5. Sumo Robot Competition

This was more like a hobby then research at CSOIS. It was for a competition sponsored by Ball Aerospace which I participated in February 2007. During this project, I developed leadership skills and frequently assisted colleagues who had little or no background in hardware/programming.

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