Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Electrical & Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Sherif Abdelwahed


Cyber-physical systems (CPSs) are composed of heterogeneous, and networked hardware and software components tightly integrated with physical elements [72]. Large-scale CPSs are composed of complex components, subject to uncertainties [89], as though their design and development is a challenging task. Achieving reliability and real-time adaptation to changing environments are some of the challenges involved in large-scale CPSs development [51]. Addressing these challenges requires deep insights into control theory and machine learning. This research presents a learning-based control approach for CPSs management, considering their requirements, specifications, and constraints. Model-based control approaches, such as model predictive control (MPC), are proven to be efficient in the management of CPSs [26]. MPC is a control technique that uses a prediction model to estimate future dynamics of the system and generate an optimal control sequence over a prediction horizon. The main benefit of MPC in CPSs management comes from its ability to take the predictions of system’s environmental conditions and disturbances into account [26]. In this dissertation, centralized and distributed MPC strategies are designed for the management of CPSs. They are implemented for the thermal management of a CPS case study, smart building. The control goals are optimizing system efficiency (lower thermal power consumption in the building), and improving users’ convenience (maintaining desired indoor thermal conditions in the building). Model-based control strategies are advantageous in the management of CPSs due to their ability to provide system robustness and stability. The performance of a model-based controller strongly depends on the accuracy of the model as a representation of the system dynamics [26]. Accurate modeling of large-scale CPSs is difficult (due to the existence of unmodeled dynamics and uncertainties in the modeling process); therefore, modelbased control approach is not practical for these systems [6]. By incorporating machine learning with model-based control strategies, we can address CPS modeling challenges while preserving the advantages of model-based control methods. In this dissertation, a learning-based modeling strategy incorporated with a model-based control approach is proposed to manage energy usage and maintain thermal, visual, and olfactory performance in buildings. Neural networks (NNs) are used to learn the building’s performance criteria, occupant-related parameters, environmental conditions, and operation costs. Control inputs are generated through the model-based predictive controller and based on the learned parameters, to achieve the desired performance. In contrast to the existing building control systems presented in the literature, the proposed management system integrates current and future information of occupants (convenience, comfort, activities), building energy trends, and environment conditions (environmental temperature, humidity, and light) into the control design. This data is synthesized and evaluated in each instance of decision-making process for managing building subsystems. Thus, the controller can learn complex dynamics and adapt to the changing environment, to achieve optimal performance while satisfying problem constraints. Furthermore, while many prior studies in the filed are focused on optimizing a single aspect of buildings (such as thermal management), and little attention is given to the simultaneous management of all building objectives, our proposed management system is developed considering all buildings’ physical models, environmental conditions, comfort specifications, and occupants’ preferences, and can be applied to various building management applications. The proposed control strategy is implemented to manage indoor conditions and energy consumption in a building, simulated in EnergyPlus software. In addition, for comparison purposes, we designed and simulated a baseline controller for the building under the same conditions.


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