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My manifesto

I am:

What do I do?

My work has never followed the conventional path, ranging around four different disciplines: control engineering, computer science, mathematics and network science. Hence, I am highly multi-disciplinary, mixing theory and practice, cutting across boundaries of different disciplines and application domains. My current research is focused on hybrid dynamical systems and complex network systems with applications to multiple domains, recently, computational neuroscience, systems bilogy, ecology, bioinformatics and health. I am pushing the boundaries and bringing together three separate disciplines: formal methods of computer science, control methodologies and dynamical-systems tools to control complex systems and networks. I am devising DYVERSE, a general mathematical-computational-control framework for complex systems. As a control engineer, I cannot make theoretical contributions without applications in real-world problems. The systems considered in my research are wide-ranging; many of them come from industrial applications. From the control and design of legged walking robots to the study of morphogenesis and self-organisation in living organisms; from the analysis and control of mechanical vibrations in oilwell drillstrings to the modelling of supply chains; from the analysis of emergent complex behaviours of large-scale evolving networks to the modelling, analysis and control of electromechanical systems with friction and impacts; from oil/gas distribution networks to the control of switched power converters; from the control of hydraulically-actuated mechanisms to the study of the collective behaviour of animals, cells and people. Since 2011, my career has taken a radical new direction towards computational neuroscience, ecology and systems biology.

Short biography

I am from Alicante (Alacant in Valencian, Spain). I have an MEng in Computer Science Engineering, with a PhD specialisation in Space Dynamics and Celestial Mechanics from Universitat d'Alacant/Universidad de Alicante. I have also a BSc in Physical Systems Engineering and a BEng in Systems and Electronics from the same university. I completed a PhD in Control and Industrial Electronics at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Barcelona in 2002. From 1996 to 2000, I was a research assistant for the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) of Spain at the Instituto de Automática Industrial in Madrid and in the Instituto de Robótica e Informática Industrial in Barcelona. During 1999 and 2000, I made research stays in the Mechatronics Department of the Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del I.P.N. (CINVESTAV) in México, D.F. and in the Department of Electronics and Telecommunications of the Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE), B.C., México. After my PhD, I joined the Research Programme of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science at the Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo (IMP) in México, D.F., forming and leading a group on modelling, analysis and control of discontinuous dynamical systems, and mechanical vibrations in oilwell drillstrings. From 2006 to 2008, I held a Ramón y Cajal Fellowship for outstanding international researchers from the Spanish Government. In particular, I focused on the analysis and control of discontinuous dynamical systems and control switched system: mainly, electromechanical systems with impacts and friction, and power converters.

Since September 2008, I have worked within the School of Computer Science in Manchester, being a member of the Formal Methods Group and the Advanced Processor Technologies Group. I am also affiliated to the Text Mining Group and the Bio-Health Informatics Group. My research is focused on modelling, analysis and control of complex hybrid dynamical systems and networks with applications to neuroscience, ecology, systems biology, smart grids and a wide range of cyber-physical systems. In 2016 and 2017, my work on the brain was enhanced by a sabbatical year as visiting professor at Instituto Cajal, one of most prestigious neurobiology institutes in the world, founded by the father of neuroscience Santiago Ramón y Cajal.

I have served as the Principal Investigator of 5 projects, co-investigator of 2 projects, and worked in more than 20 projects and consultancies, most related to the oil and energy sectors, control, hybrid dynamical systems, cyber-physical systems, formal verification, neuroscience and smart grids. I have published 21 papers in major international journals of automatic control, computer science and dynamical systems (e.g. Automatica; IEEE TAC; Systems & Control Letters; Theoretical Computer Science; Chaos, Solitons & Fractals; EJC; JSV; Int. Journal of Systems Science; Ocean Engineering), 35 papers in major conferences of control/applications, hybrid systems, mathematics and recently, of network science and computational neuroscience (e.g. IFAC World Congress, IEEE CDC, IEEE CCA, ECC, ACC, HSCC, ADHS, FORMATS, NetSci, AIMS Conference), 6 book chapters, 3 papers in industry journals/magazines, 2 discussion papers, 2 editorial articles, 1 business plan, and 19 technical memoranda. The majority of the science undertaken is curiosity-driven science. My works have been cited in international journals, conferences and PhD/MSc theses in control, industrial applications (oil industry-related), hybrid systems and applied mathematics. You can have a look at my publications with their citations and h-index at Google Scholar.

In recognition of my contributions to research, from 2004 to 2010 I was awarded the membership of the Mexican National Research System (the national body for eminent scientists). I am an evaluator/advisor for AGAUR (Agency for Administration of Research Grants of the Government of Catalunya) and CONACYT (Mexican Council of Science and Technology).

In collaboration with the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, we participated in the RCUK Business Plan Competition 2009/10, and were invited to the final event in London in November 2010. This was the seed of the idea for the company Locomizer. I have been invited to several events organised by EPSRC to identify research needs and opportunities in systems and control engineering in the UK. You can find my recent invited talks by following this link.

A step towards understanding the machinery of science in the UK was my tenure at the Houses of Parliament during one week in November 2009, under the framework of the Royal Society Member of Parliament-Scientist Pairing Scheme. This scheme is awarded to some of the best research scientists in the UK to promote the importance of science in government policies and bring scientific expertise to the Houses of Parliament. I liaised with different government agencies and sat in Parliamentary select committees related to science and technology, in an initiative to promote the importance of Science in government policies.

I was the UK representative on the management committee of the European COST Action "Multi-Paradigm Modelling for Cyber-Physical Systems" from 2014 to 2019. I am a member of the IFAC Technical Committee of Discrete Event and Hybrid Systems, the IFAC Technical Committee of Biological and Medical Systems, and the IEEE-CSS Technical Committee on Power Generation Control (Renewable Energy Generation). I am one of the founders of ACM-Women Europe which is the Association for Computing Machinery's Council on Women in Computing in Europe. I was the 1st ACM-Women Europe Regional Celebrations Leader and the chair of the 1st ACM womENcourage Europe conference held in Manchester, 1st March, 2014. I am the founder of the ACM series of conferences ACM womENcourage in Europe. I am also a member of the Turing Centenary Advisory Committee, BCS Women in Computing Research committee, the Observatory of the Industry 4.0 in Spain and advisor for the prestigious Jülich Forschungszentrum in the foundation of a new Institute of Neuromorphic Computing. I am a regular reviewer of the best international journals and conferences in the control field; I have also chaired sessions and been a member of the programme committee at these conferences. I am a member of the editorial board of Ingeniare. Revista Chilena de Ingeniería, Chile.

I am a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the IEEE Control Systems Society (IEEE-CSS), IEEE Women in Engineering, and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and its special interest groups of embedded systems, and algorithms and computation theory. I am also a member of the EPSRC-funded eFutures, network for electronic systems research, the UK Network of New Academics in Control Engineering (New-ACE), the Black British Academics Community Interest Company, the EPSRC-funded Systems-NET, and the EPSRC-funded Network Plus on Emergence and Physics Far from Equilibrium, amongst others.