Hong Wang

Senior Distinguished R&D Staff, FIEE, FInstMC

Hong Wang received the master and doctorate degrees with distinguished grade in process control and power plant engineering from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (a top 10 Chinese University), Wuhan, China, in 1984 and 1987, respectively. He moved to UK in 1988 and was a postdoc Research Fellow with Salford University (Salford, UK), Brunel University (Uxbridge, UK) and Southampton University (Southampton, UK) before joining the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), Manchester, U.K., in 1992 as a lecturer in process control. He was then promoted to senior lecturer and reader in 1997 and 1999, respectively at UMIST. Wang was a Chair Professor in Process Control of complex industrial systems at the University of Manchester (UK) from 2002 to 2016, where he was the deputy head of the Paper Science Department, director of the UMIST Control Systems Centre between 2004 - 2007 (which is the birthplace of Modern Control Theory established in 1966). He was University Senate member and a member of general assembly during his time in Manchester. Between 2016 – 2018, he was with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL, Richland, WA, USA) as a Laboratory Fellow and Chief Scientist, and was the co-leader and chief scientist for the Control of Complex Systems Initiative (https://controls.pnnl.gov/).

Wang also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Washington and professor emeritus of the University of Manchester (UK).


Hong Wang's control research interests include stochastic distribution control, fault detection and diagnosis, nonlinear control, and data-based modeling for complex systems including industrial processes and transportation systems. Brief descriptions are as follows: 

1) Stochastic distribution control theory: Wang originated the theory on stochastic distribution control (SDC), where the main purpose of control input design is to make the shape of the output probability density functions to follow a targeted function for general non-Gaussian dynamic systems. This has been regarded as a novel stochastic control theory that has found applications in general modeling, data mining, filtering design and optimization for uncertain systems. This theory also provides effective tools for solving decision-making problems for systems subjected to uncertainties, and how the impact from uncertainties can be minimized during the decision -making phase.

2) Fault diagnosis and tolerant controls: Hong Wang has also been working on fault diagnosis and tolerant controls since 1989. He originated the theory of using adaptive control tuning mechanism to perform fast fault diagnosis for dynamic systems, and the collaborative fault tolerant control for complex dynamic systems composed of multi-agent subsystems. This area of research has led to his plenary talk at the 2018 IFAC Safeprocess Conference in Warsaw (which is the largest conference on process safety taking place once every three years per organized by the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC)), and contribution of a chapter titled "Stochastic Fault Detection" for  the Encyclopedia of Systems and Control.

3) {max, +} Algebra Based System integration and Human-in-loop systems: In 2010, he originated the use of {max, +} algebra for the integrated modelling of complex systems and discovered the square root impact principle that provides consolidated foundation for the mathematical understanding of integration between industrialization and advanced information Technology (IT). Along this new research direction, he has developed novel quantitative description of human-in-loop systems using Brain to Computer Interface (BCI) techniques and has received best paper awards on this. 

In terms of transportation research funded by the US Department of Energy (under SMART Mobility and ARPA - E nextCar projects), Hong Wang has initiated the following work

  •  Using stochastic distribution controls to realize the control of multiple intersections for a networked traffic flow, where the idea is to develop signal timing controls that ensure the uniform distribution of traffic flows over the concerned urban area so as to achieve smooth traffic flow with minimized energy consumption.
  • At vehicle level, Hong Wang has developed some novel powertrain controls that use vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) information to optimally tune the controller parameters using functional optimization theory so as to reduce the fuel consumption.


Hong Wang has received 10 prizes and awards for his work in these areas, including 

  • Jasber Mardon Memorial Prize for significant contribution to the science and technology development in papermaking at PITA Annual Conference, Bradford, 2006 (UK);
  • Best paper prize at the International Conference on Control 2006, Glasgow (UK);
  • Finalist for the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) World Congress Application Paper Prize, Cape Town, 2014, the conference had 2000 attendees and is the largest international control event once every three years in international automatic control community;
  • Best theory paper award for World Congress on Intelligent Control and Automation,  2014;

International Activities:

Hong Wang is a fellow of IEE (now IET) and fellow of Institute of Measurement and Control.

He was the associate editor for leading control journals IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control (2002 - 2004), IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology (2013 - 2019) and IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering (2013 - 2019). 

Hong Wang is an editorial board member for other 7 international journals, and is the member of the following 3 technical committees of International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC).

  • Stochastic Systems Technical Committee;
  • Adaptive and Learning Systems Technical Committee
  • Fault Detection, Supervision & Safety of Technical Processes-SAFEPROCESS Technical Committee

Over the past decades he has been actively involved in international activities such as chair/co-chairs of international conferences and IPC member for many conferences. 

Wang was the member of the executive committee for the UK Automatic Control Council (UKACC) and the honorary treasurer for UKACC when he was in UK, and member of EPSRC (NSF equivalent) college member. He was the general conference chair for the international conference on Control'2008, which is the largest conference series of UKACC taking place once every two years. He was also the program chair for the 2014 World Congress on Intelligent Control and Automation which attracted more than 1000 attendees worldwide.

Hong Wang was a member of Advanced Controls working group of the Paper Industry Technical Association (UK)

Publication Summary:

  • Hong Wang has published more than 200 refereed journal papers in international/national journals (e. g., IEEE Transaction on Automatic Control, IFAC Automatica, Int. J.  Contr, ASME, Trans M&C, Int. J.  Sys. Science and IEE/IMEchE Journals, etc);
  • He has also been invited to publish 18 journal papers; 
  • Hong Wang has presented 44 invited/plenary papers and 170 refereed papers in international congresses/conferences (i. e., IFACs, ACCs, CDCs, IEEE CCAs and IMAC, etc); 
  • Hong Wang has published 7 books (one by HUST Press Ltd in 1988,  one by  Pergamon Press in 1995, the other by Pira international in 1997 and two by Springer-Verlag in 2000 and 2010, respectively) and contributed to 6 book chapters ; 
  • Hong Wang has been invited to give seminars to more than 60 universities/industrial companies,  where with all expenses paid.