Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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Gary J. Balas
Distinguished McKnight University Professor (Deceased November 12, 2014)

Gary Balas

Contact information
Office: 117C Akerman Hall
Phone: 612-625-8000
E-mail: aem-dept (at)

Personal web page
See a research Q&A
List of research topics
Current research projects

Professor Balas' main research interest is narrowing the gap between engineering requirements, real-time control implementation and theoretical control analysis and design techniques. He has focused on describing "real" physical systems via sets of models with the goal to develop an integrated framework for fault detection and isolation, control modeling, analysis, and synthesis, based on physically motivated assumptions, which make use of the specific characteristics of each system to be controlled. Research being pursued to achieve these goals includes: 1) development of theoretical tools for nonlinear robustness analysis, 2) theoretical extensions of nonlinear control algorithms, 3) applying these theoretical developments to real world control problems, and 4) experimentally validating results.

Dr. Balas' areas of research include: extension of receding horizon control (RHC), linear, parameter-varying (LPV) control and dynamic inversion techniques to address highly nonlinear and switched systems, development and application of a robust, multivariable control theory to flexible structures, flight and high speed underwater vehicle control and process control; development of a unifying approach to aircraft health management and control to dramatically increase flight safety. Specific topics being studied are: development of a systematic nonlinear robustness analysis tools to aid validation and verification of adaptive, flight control systems; design and experimental validation of vehicle control algorithms for a high speed, supercavitating underwater vehicle; development of a new control framework for impulse vehicle control, robustness of nonlinear inversion techniques in the presence of model error and development of an indoor, uninhabited aerial vehicle to help test and validate the theory, algorithms and real-time software being developed by his group.


B.S., Civil and Electrical Engineering, University of California, Irvine, 1982
M.S., Civil and Electrical Engineering, University of California, Irvine, 1984
Ph.D., Aeronautics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, 1989


2006 - 2014: Department Head Aerospace Engineering & Mechanics, University of Minnesota
2001 - Present: Professor Aerospace Engineering & Mechanics and Control Science & Dynamical Systems Center, University of Minnesota
1996 - 2001: Associate Professor Aerospace Engineering & Mechanics and Control Science & Dynamical Systems Center, University of Minnesota
1995 - Present: Co-Director Control Science and Dynamical Systems Program, University of Minnesota
1992 - 2004: Director of Graduate Studies Control Science & Dynamical Systems Department, University of Minnesota
1990 - 1996: Assistant Professor Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, University of Minnesota
1990 - 1991: Visiting Research Fellow Department of Electrical Engineering, California Institute of Technology
1984 - 1989: Research Assistant California Institute of Technology
1987 - 1988: Teaching Assistant California Institute of Technology 1984; Staff Engineer H R Textron, Systems Group, Irvine, CA
1982 - 1984: Research & Teaching Assistant University of California
1979 - 1984: Bachelor Fellowship Engineer Hughes Aircraft Company, Fullerton, CA

Five Recent Publications

  • D.Escobar Sanabria, G.J.Balas, R.E.A.Arndt, 2014, Modeling, Control and Experimental Validation of a High Speed Supercavitating Vehicle, IEEE Journal on Ocean Engineering, (Journal Article) More Details
  • P.Freeman, R.Pandita, N.Srivastava, G.J.Balas, 2013, Model-based and Data-driven Fault Detection Performance for a Small UAV, IEEE/ASME Trans. Mechatronics, 18, 1300-1309, (Journal Article) More Details
  • E.Summers, A.Chakraborty, W.Tan, U.Topcu, P.Seiler, G.J.Balas, A.K.Packard, 2013, quantitative L2-gain and reachability Analysis for Nonlinear Systems, Int. J. Robust and Nonlinear Control, 23, 10, 1115-1135, (Journal Article) More Details
  • A.Dorobantu, B.Mettler, G.J.Balas, 2013, System Identification for Small, Low-Cost, Fixed-Wing Unmanned Aircraft, AIAA Journal of Aircraft, 50, 4, 1117-1130, (Journal Article) More Details
  • H.Mokhtarzadeh, G.J.Balas, R.E.Arndt, 2012, Effect of Cavitator on Supercavitating Vehicle Dynamics, IEEE Journal on Ocean Engineering, 37, 1, (Journal Article) More Details

See more publications

Honors and Fellowships

Honorary Member, Hungarian Academy of Engineering, 2012
Plenary Speaker, 7th IFAC Symposium on Robust Control Design, Aalborg, Denmark, 2012
Prize for the development of the Hungarian Aeronautical Science
Hungarian Scientific Association for Transport, 2010
Plenary Speaker, 2nd Workshop on Clearance of Flight Control Laws, Stockholm, Sweden, 2010
Chair, Aerospace Department Chairs Association (ADCA), 2010
Plenary Speaker, 49th Israel Annual Conference on Aerospace Sciences, Tel Aviv and Haifa, Israel, 2009
Distinguished McKnight Fellowship, 2007
O. Hugo Schuck Best Paper Award, 2006
IEEE Control System Society Fellow, 2005-2006
Fellow, Committee on Institutional Cooperation Academic Leadership Program, 2005-2006
Semi-Plenary speaker, 16th International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) World Congress
Prague, Czech Republic (w/Prf. J. Bokor), 2005
Fellow, IEEE, 2004
Plenary Speaker, Technical University of Delft Center for Systems and Control,
"Challenges for the 21st Century", 2004
Institute of Technology George Taylor Distinguished Research Award, 2003
Semi-Plenary Speaker, European Control Conference, Cambridge, England, 2003
Associate Fellow, AIAA, 2002
Senior Member, IEEE, 2002-2004
Session Plenary Speaker, International Council of Aeronautical Sciences Conference, Toronto, 2002
Outstanding Young Investigator Award, 1999
McKnight-Land Grant Professorship, 1993-1995
NASA Graduate Student Fellowship, 1986-1989
Donald Wills Douglas Fellowship in Aeronautics, 1986
Hughes Aircraft Graduate Student Fellowship, 1982-1984
Hughes Aircraft Undergraduate Student Fellowship, 1980-82

Subjects and Courses Taught

AEM 3101 -- Mathematical Modeling and Simulation in Aerospace Engineering
EE 4231 -- Linear Control Systems: Designed by Input/Output Methods
EE 5235 -- Robust Control System Design
AEM 5495 -- Topics in Aerospace Systems
AEM 8400 -- Research Seminar in Dynamics and Controls
AEM 8401 -- Modern Feedback Control
AEM 8421 -- Robust Multivariable Control Design
AEM 8495 -- Selected Topics in Dynamical Systems and Controls
CSDY 8899 -- Control Science Seminar
Curriculum Vitae

Last Modified: Wednesday, 03-Dec-2014 10:08:30 CST