Control Perspectives for Social Systems and Industry Engagement

Tariq Samad Technological Leadership Institute, University of Minnesota, USATariq Samad


The concepts of control are broadly relevant beyond the realm of engineered systems. Environmental, social, economic, and other phenomena are essentially complex dynamical systems, and their effective management can benefit from the application of control system principles. Even where accurate mathematical modeling is infeasible—as it is in the vast majority of social and institutional systems—control concepts offer relevant and useful insights. This talk will highlight how managerial decision making in societal and industry settings can be viewed from a control perspective, and how that perspective can improve outcomes for stakeholders and society. Connections with systems thinking and system dynamics will be drawn. Examples will be presented from fields as diverse as food security and technology management.


Tariq Samad holds the Honeywell/W.R. Sweatt Chair and is a Senior Fellow at the Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Samad joined TLI in 2016 after a 30-year career with Honeywell, from which he retired as Corporate Fellow. While at Honeywell, he contributed to and led automation and control technology developments for applications in clean energy, electric power systems, building management, the process industries, automotive engines, unmanned aircraft, and advanced manufacturing.

Dr. Samad is a past president of IEEE Control Systems Society and the American Automatic Control Council. He is a Fellow of IEEE, IFAC, and AAIA and the recipient of a few awards including the IEEE CSS Control Systems Technology Award, Distinguished Member and Outstanding Service Awards from IEEE CSS and IFAC, respectively, an IEEE Third Millennium Medal, and inclusion in Control Global’s Process Automation Hall of Fame. He was the founding chair of the IFAC Industry Committee and currently chairs the IFAC Activity Fund. Dr. Samad holds 20 patents and has authored or coauthored over 200 publications. His book publications include the Encyclopedia of Systems and Control (co-editor-in-chief, Springer, 2014; 2nd edition 2021). He is the founding editor of the Wiley/IEEE Press book series on Technology Management, Innovation, and Leadership. He serves on the boards of Clean Energy Economy Minnesota, leading its diversity and inclusion workgroup, and IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Society,, for which he is Vice President of Publications. Dr. Samad holds a B.S. degree in Engineering and Applied Science from Yale University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.