Nicola Elia

Professor Nicola Elia

Nicola Elia

Professor, Vincentine Hermes-Luh Chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Kenneth H. Keller Hall
Room 5-179
200 Union Street Se
Minneapolis, MN 55455


Iowa State University (Emeritus Professor)


Laurea Politecnico di Torino (Italy), 1987
Ph.D. EE Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1996

Professional Background

Network control systems, distributed robust optimization, communication systems with access to feedback, cooperative networked multi-agent systems, control and optimization of smart grid

Research Interests

My research interests focus on analysis and design of networked systems. I study how limitations on the interactions and information exchanges among subsystems affect the overall performance and behavior of the networked system. A relevant part of my work is at the intersection of control and information theory. I am interest in characterization and design of systems over unreliable communication networks, and to study how control theory can help designing communication systems with access to feedback information. I am also interested in designing distributed networked controllers to improve reliability and performance of networked systems. A related application domain is the development of network distributed agent/systems capable of collectively optimize performances and/or to make complex decisions outside the computing and intelligence capabilities of a single agent. Applications include distributed robust optimization algorithms for learning and decision making, cooperative autonomous multi-agent robotic systems, and control of smart grids.

Honors and Awards

2019 Vincentine Hermes-Luh Chair in Electrical Engineering
2019 IEEE Fellow for contributions to networked control systems
2011 Co-Author Finalist Best Student Paper of the 50th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control and European Control Conference
2009 Veishea Oustanding Faculty Award, IEEE Student Chapter, Iowa State University
2004 Harpole-Pentair Developing Faculty Assistant Professor, Iowa State University
2001 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award
1987 IBM ITALIA best thesis in artificial Intelligence applications

Selected Publications


X. Ma and N. Elia, “Optimization Dynamics: A bus-level distributed approach for optimal power flows” IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems, 2018, early access.

C. Li and N. Elia, “Youla coding and computation of Gaussian feedback capacity”, IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, Vol, 64, no 4, 2018.

A.S.M. Vamsi and N. Elia, “Optimal Distributed Controllers Realizable over Arbitrary Networks”, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, Vol. 61, no. 1, pp. 129-144, 2016.

C. Li and N. Elia, “Stochastic Sensor Scheduling via Distributed Convex Optimization”, Automatica, Vol. 58, Issue C, pp. 173-182, Aug. 2015.

J. Liu, N. Elia, and S. Tatikonda, “Capacity-achieving Feedback Schemes for Gaussian Finite-State Markov Channels with Channel State Information”, IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, Vol 61, No.7, pp. 3632-3650, 2015.

N. Elia, J. Wang and A.S.M. Vamsi, “Computing over Unreliable Networks” in Information and Control in Networks, G. Como, B. Bernhardsson and A. Rantzer Editors. Sringer, Volume 450, pp 241-275, 2014.

J. Liu and N. Elia, “Convergence of Fundamental Limitations in Feedback Communication, Estimation, and Feedback Control over Gaussian Channels”, Communications in Information and Systems (CIS), Vol. 14, no 3, pp. 161-211, 2014.

N. Elia, J. Wang and X. Ma, “Mean Square Limitations of Spatially Invariant Systems” in Control of Cyber-Physical Systems, Lecture Notes in Control and Information Sciences, Series Editors: M. Thoma, F. Allgower, M. Morari, Spinger Volume 449, pp 357-378. 2013.

J. Wang and N. Elia, “Distributed Averaging Algorithms Resilient to Communication Noise and Dropouts”, in IEEE Transaction on Signal Processing, Vol 61, no. 9, pp. 2231-2242, 2013.

J. Wang and N. Elia, “Distributed averaging Under Constraints on Information Exchange: Emergence of Levy flights, ’’ IEEE Transaction on Automatic Control, Vol. 57, no. 10, pp. 2435- 2449, 2012.

N. Elia, and J. N. Eisenbeis, “Limitation of Linear Control over Packet Drop Networks”, IEEE Trans. Automatic Control, Vol. 56, no. 4, pp. 826 – 841, 2011.

J. Wang and N. Elia, “A Control Perspective for Centralized and Distributed Convex Optimization’’, IEEE Conference on Decision and Control and European Control Conference, pp. 3800-3805, 2011, Finalist Best Student Paper Award.

J. Wang and N. Elia, “Consensus over Networks with Dynamic Channels,” International Journal of Systems Control and Communications: Special Issue on Information Processing Decision Making in Distributed Control Systems, Vol. 2, pp. 275-297, 2010.

N. Elia, “Remote Stabilization over Fading Channels”, Systems and Control Letters, Vol. 54, no. 3, pp. 238-249, 2005.

N. Elia, “When Bode Meets Shannon: Control Oriented Feedback
Communication Schemes” in IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, special issue on Networked Control, Vol. 49, no. 9, pp. 1477 – 1488, Sept. 2004.

N. Elia, and S. K. Mitter , “Stabilization of Linear Systems with Limited Information”, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control Vol.46, no. 9, pp. 1384 -1400, Sept. 2001.

N. Elia and M. A. Dahleh, “Controller Design with Multiple Objectives,” IEEE Trans. Automatic Control, Vol. 42, no. 5, pp. 596-613, 1997.

N. Elia, and M. A. Dahleh, “Computational Methods for Controller Design”, Lecture Series in Control and Information Sciences 1998.