This year’s International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) World Congress, which will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from August 24 to 29, will focus on ways that control and automation can serve humankind. The Congress aims to promote dialogue and debate in the automatic control profession, while promoting the development of the profession in the wider engineering and relevant communities.
This is the first time that the Congress, which is held every three years, will be held in Africa, although several IFAC workshops and symposia have been held in the country. The first IFAC Congress was held in Moscow, in Russia, in 1960 and the most recent one was hosted in Milan, Italy, in 2011.
The theme for the 19th Congress is “Promoting automatic control for the benefit of humankind” and more than 2 000 presentations, spanning about 25 parallel sessions, have been scheduled.
Attendees, who are mostly academics representing universities worldwide, as well as industry representatives and other users and vendors of automatic control technology, will discuss, present and exhibit on the ways in which the sector has advanced over the years.
Automatic control can, and is, playing a significant role in providing technologies that assist humankind in living lighter lives on the planet. It is significant that the technical area with the most contributions at the Cape Town Congress is power and energy systems.
Also in dialogue will be the competing demands of high performance and high complexity. This competition can lead to the development of better automation technology as systems that used to be run by hand or with relatively low levels of control and automation are not sustainable. These systems include power grids, telecommunications, transportation systems, ecological systems, agriculture and medical systems.
The Congress will also include discussions on the interaction between control systems and biological systems, where there is new multidisciplinary work exploring the application of high-level mathematical concepts in dynamics and control in very complex interactions of biological systems.