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Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Office: BSE 1.514,
Phone # (210)-458-5568
Univ. of Texas at San Antonio
1 UTSA Circle, TX 78249
ahmad.taha@utsa.edu

Welcome to my homepage! I’m an assistant professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio. I am interested in understanding how complex and dynamic urban systems and infrastructure operate, behave, and sometimes misbehave. Specifically,  I am interested in dynamic network theory as well as control and optimization of cyber-physical urban systems and the next generation of smart power grids, water networks, and (more recently) transportation systems. Please browse through the page. If something grabs your attention, please shoot me an email—I love discussing research ideas. I also like coffee, so we can always have coffee and talk research—a win-win scenario.

Updates, News:

  • [June 12] I have four PhD positions in my lab. Send me an email with your info and I promise to respond. If I don’t respond within few days, it means I’m still waiting for more candidates to make a decision for a shortlist. Click on this link for more info. 
    • [June 25] I have responded to all emails regarding this position. If you haven’t heard back, please email me back. I might have accidentally missed your email. 
  • [June 5] MacKenzie Hall joins our team as an undergraduate research assistant. Welcome to the team, Mack! She’ll be working on water quality related problems.
  • [June 2] Issue 382 of the CSS E-Letter is out! View it here
  • [May 31] Black lives matter. Palestinian lives matter. The oppressed, enslaved, imprisoned people will be free. 
  • [May 1] Issue 381 of the CSS E-Letter is out! View it here
  • [May 1] How do Lipschitz constants grow for nonlinear DAE hydraulic models in water networks? This paper has all the (hopefully right) answers. 🙂 
  • [May 1]  I’m still corona-free. 
  • [February 13] New paper on traffic density estimation considering the asymmetric cell transmission model. The paper will be presented at the 2020 ACC. We use simple \mathcal{L}_{\infty} observers and show how they can be far more efficient than their counterparts. 
  • [February 7] In our new paper (to appear in 2020 ACC in Denver), we make interesting discoveries about nonlinear dynamic networks parameterization. Thanks to the reviewers/editor who were helpful and encouraging. 
  • [February 3] Our paper entitled A New Derivative-Free Linear Approximation for Solving the Network Water Flow Problem with Convergence Guarantees is accepted for publication in the Water Resources Research journal. 
  • [February 2] CSS E-Letter, Issue 378 is out
  • [January 16] Our submitted ACC’2020 papers are accepted. Will post the pre-prints soon.
    • Thanks for the anonymous reviewers who provided us with encouraging, thorough, and critical feedback. 
  • [January 1] CSS E-Letter, Issue 377 is now online. Happy new year everyone! 
  • [December 15] Our paper on a new control algorithm for water distribution networks has been recommended for publication in the IEEE Trans. of Control of Network Systems. Congrats to Shen on this fantastic work. Here’s a pre-print.  
  • [December 3] Traveling to Nice, France next week to present our three papers at the 58th Conference on Decision and Control. Will post presentations/pre-prints soon. Excited to reconnect with CSS colleagues!
  • [December 1] CSS E-Letter, Issue 376 is now online
  • [November 21] I have GRA openings in my lab on optimization and control of dynamic systems with applications to water and energy systems as well as transportation networks. Check the information here
  • [November 8] Our paper on robust traffic density estimation will appear in the upcoming issue of the IEEE Trans. on Intelligent Transportation Systems.  Click here for a pre-print. 
  • [November 1] CSS E-Letter, Issue 375 is now online
  • [October 21] Resilience week is only couple weeks away, and this time it’s in San Antonio! If you’re visiting SA and interested in infrastructure and urban systems research (and wanna have some coffee), shoot me an email!  Would love to show you nice spots in SA and talk infrastructure research! 
  • [October 20] So delighted that our work on state estimation in power systems with guarantees has been accepted for publication in IEEE Trans. on Power Systems.   Here’s the pre-print
  • [October 1] CSS E-Letter, Issue 374 is now online. Loads of exciting CSS news, publications, job opportunities, and announcements! 😀 
  • [September 10] Pre-prints for papers on control/estimation of water networks:
  • [September 8] American Control Conference 2020 crunch time!
    • We are working on exciting research problems in water quality control, nonlinear dynamic systems theory, state estimation in water, energy, and transportation systems. 
  • [September 5] CSS E-Letter, Issue 373 is now online.
  • [August 25] Teaching Linear Systems Theory and Control this semester. 
  • [July 20] Our three submitted papers to the 2019 CDC in Nice, France have all been accepted! Will post pre-prints soon 🙂 (see above). 
  • [July 12] Our paper on Robust Control for Renewable-Integrated Power Networks (available here) is accepted for publication in the IEEE Trans. on Control of Network Systems, Special Issue on Analysis, Control and Optimization of Energy System Networks.  

Bio & Interests

Short Biography

I was born in 1989 in the Lebanese capital, Beirut (Arabic: بيروت‎ Bayrūt), the midpoint of Lebanon’s gorgeous Mediterranean coast. Here’s my quick career highlights:

  • September 27, 2007: Started undergraduate education at the American University of Beirut (AUB). I majored in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  • Summer 2010: Interned at  Laboratory of Information and Decision Systems (LIDS),  MIT. I worked on a  traffic testbed that would simulate people’s behavior when a large disruption hits a transportation network.
  • June 25, 2011: Graduated with a B.E. in ECE from AUB with two minors—one in Mathematics and another in Engineering Management.
  • Summer 2011: Started drinking coffee.
  • August 2011—August 2015: At Purdue, I was a teaching and research assistant with the Schools of ECE and Mechanical Engineering. I worked mainly on the security, optimization and control of uncertain cyber-physical systems, and applications in energy systems.
  • Summer 2014: Went for a summer internship at the University of Toronto and worked on the problem of dynamic integration of steady and transient state operations in power networks.
  • Spring 2015: Interned at Argonne National Lab as a visiting researcher with the Center for Energy, Environmental, & Economic Systems Analysis.  I worked with on cyber-security and control-related topics in smart-grids.
  • August 2015: Joined the ECE department at the University of Texas at San Antonio as an assistant professor.
  • August 2016: Started investigating problems in water and traffic systems; continued my research on energy systems.
  • Now: Still drinking coffee.

General Interests

My long term career goal is: (a) understanding how complex, nonlinear dynamic networks—present in infrastructure and urban systems—behave and misbehave, (b) proposing algorithms to manage these systems, and (c) streamlining this research by making it accessible to a wide audience through contemporary tools and approaches. Specifically, I am interested in solving complex engineering problems and developing tools, protocols, and control algorithms that would ultimately empower policy makers and system operators to make better decisions about their systems, while enabling more resilient and tolerant systems against disturbances and unwanted attacks. I have applied the techniques I developed to drinking water systems, sustainable energy networks, more recently to transportation networks. 

Specific Research Interests

I am specifically interested in the following interrelated research areas:

  • Uncertain Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and Nonlinear Dynamic Network Theory for Urban Systems
  • Water Distribution Networks Control and Optimization
  • Sustainable Energy and Water Systems Operations, Stability, and Control
  • Estimation and Control in Traffic Networks with Connected Vehicles
  • Buildings-to-Grid Integration
  • Contamination Mitigation and Water Quality Control in Drink Water Networks
  • Cyber-Security of CPS, Smart Grids, Water Distribution Networks

Some of the above interests are fairly recent, some date to couple years ago, and some date back to my early PhD studies. The word ‘interest’ has an expiry date, too. 🙂

Publications

Click here to visit my Google Scholar page.