Automatica, July 2002, Volume 38, No. 7


A New Editor, and Three Editorial Areas Reviewed and Revised

Almost a year ago, Sigurd Skogestad of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology at Trondheim indicated that he did not wish to have his term renewed as Automatica Editor for Process Control and Computer Applications, which expires on June 30, 2002. Sigurd held the post since the IFAC Congress at San Francisco in 1996, and did the job with energy and enthusiasm. We were most pleased to find Frank Allg÷wer of the University of Stuttgart willing to succeed Sigurd. Frank has been an Associate Editor of Automatica since 1997, working with Sigurd.

A new editorial appointment is an occasion to review the editorial areas. This time we took a look at the three "applied" areas: Process Control and Computer Applications, until now covered by Sigurd Skogestad, Control System Applications, covered by Editor Mituhiko Araki, and Management and Decision Sciences, which is under the wings of Editor Alain Haurie. We compared the areas and their sub-areas with the Technical Areas defined by IFAC, and also with the technical areas planned for the 15th IFAC Congress at Barcelona this year. 

As a result, the names of the three editorial areas were slightly revised, and to each of them a list of sub-areas was appended to clarify the scope. We attempted and almost succeeded to include all the application areas listed by IFAC and the program of the World Congress. Especially the scope of the Management and Decision Sciences area, now called Systems Engineering and Management, was expanded to do justice to the wide interests of IFAC and its participants.

These are the new descriptions that appear in the Automatica front matter:

Control System Applications (Editor Mituhiko Araki)
(control applications in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and aerospace engineering; including robotics, mechatronics, adaptronics, automotive control, transportation systems and vehicles, energy systems, marine systems, advanced manufacturing technology, low-cost automation)

Process and Computer Control (Editor Frank Allg÷wer)
(control applications in chemical engineering, environmental engineering, civil engineering and biotechnology; including chemical, bio-technical and industrial process control, control in mining, mineral and metal processing, modeling and control of biomedical, environmental and agricultural systems, structural control for civil engineering applications, systems biology, computer control systems, computer-aided control system design, algorithms and architecture for real-time control, process monitoring, safety of technical processes and computer control systems)

Systems Engineering and Management (Editor Alain Haurie)
(control in systems engineering, management, economics and education; including large scale systems, business and management techniques, manufacturing modeling, management and control, enterprise integration, computation in economic, financial and engineering-economic systems, control education, social impact of control, control in developing countries, international stability, economic dynamics, decision support systems, conflict resolution)

Automatica has three editors covering applied control subjects. This is a clear signal that applications are well within the scope of Automatica. The misunderstandings that sometimes appear to exist about this are not justified. In an editorial that I wrote in 1996 (Kwakernaak, 1996) I tried to outline what Automatica expects of a good applications paper. Briefly, it should describe a new successful application of an existing theory or methodology. The application should to some extent be generic, that is, offer methodology that is also useful for other, related engineering problems or areas. Papers that show that a methodology is inadequate for certain application areas are also welcome. It should be superfluous to state that any paper published in Automatica, including applications papers, needs to be well written and timely. In 1996 I wrote: "Automatica welcomes papers with the characteristics as described. Like all submissions, such papers are subject to a rigorous but fair review procedure that aims at a high level of quality of all papers appearing in Automatica." This statement still stands.

The three areas that are named currently encompass about 30% of the papers published by Automatica. We can easily accommodate more. I cordially invite authors of good applications papers to submit them to Automatica. The rejection rate for papers submitted in these areas is not higher than the average rejection rate for Automatica, which is about 50%.

Huibert Kwakernaak
Faculty of Mathematical Sciences
University of Twente, P. O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
E-mail address:


H. Kwakernaak (1996), "Automatica and applications papers" (Editorial), Automatica Vol. 32, 1, p. 1.

Frank Allg÷wer, Editor for Process and Computer Control

Frank Allg÷wer was born in Heilbronn, Germany, in 1962. He studied Engineering Cybernetics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), respectively. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Chemical Engineering of the University of Stuttgart. 

Since 1999 he is Professor for Systems Theory in Engineering at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Engineering Cybernetics of the University of Stuttgart, and Director of the Institute for Systems Theory in Engineering. Prior to this, he held a professorship in the Electrical Engineering department at ETH Zurich, and was head of the Nonlinear Systems Group there. Prof. Allg÷wer was a visiting research associate at the California Institute of Technology and the NASA Ames Research Center, and spent a year as visiting research scientist with the Central Research and Development Organization of the DuPont Company in Wilmington, DE.

Prof. Allg÷wer's main research interest is in the area of process control, with a focus on the development of new methods for the analysis and control of nonlinear process systems and their identification.

He is Associate Editor for the Journal of Process Control and serves on the international advisory board of Chemical Engineering Science. He has been an Associate Editor for Automatica since 1997. He is organizer or co-organizer of several international workshops and conferences, and published over 100 scientific articles.