Once every week while school is in session, EECS invites a distinguished researcher or practitioner in a computer science or electrical and computer engineering-related field to present their ideas and/or work. Talks are generally targeted to electrical engineering and computer science graduate students. This colloquium series is free and open to everyone.

Upcoming Colloquia

Nonlinear Oscillators for Modular Power Electronics Architectures

Monday, November 19, 2018 - 4:00pm to 4:50pm
LINC 200

Speaker Information

Brian Johnson
Assistant Professor
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Washington


Power electronics systems are commonly built by interconnecting multiple converters together. To name a few examples, such an approach is ubiquitous in computing power supplies, renewable energy interfaces, and microgrids. This architecture is motivated by the fact that a multi-converter structure enhances resilience to failures, eases expandability, and streamlines installation. The particular way in which the converters are controlled is largely dependent on whether the system is ac or dc. For instance, parallel-connected ac converters must be synchronized to produce sinusoids of identical frequencies. We call this synchronization and it is a prerequisite for any stable ac system. On the other hand, parallel dc-dc converters are often controlled such that the phases of their periodic switching are evenly dispersed. This switching technique, which is called interleaving, allows for the distortion produced be each converter to cancel once summed at their common interconnection. Upon comparison, the synchronization and interleaving conditions take opposite forms where the former implies aligned ac waveforms and the latter entails evenly dispersed switch waveforms. In this talk, we consider a nonlinear control strategy that takes the form of an oscillator and can be used to tackle both problems. We show that a simple sign flip on the measured feedback signal yields either synchronized or interleaved behavior in multi-converter systems. Experimental results demonstrate this framework on modular power electronics architectures for both ac and dc applications.

Speaker Bio

Brian Johnson obtained the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, in 2010 and 2013, respectively. He is the Washington Research Foundation Assistant Professor within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Washington. Prior to joining the University of Washington in 2018, he was an engineer with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO. He was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2010, and currently serves as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion. His research interests are in renewable energy systems, power electronics, and control systems.

Past Colloquia

Liang Huang
Monday, January 23, 2017 - 4:00pm
Allan Johnston
Monday, November 21, 2016 - 4:00pm to 4:50pm
Suresh Venkatasubramanian
Monday, November 7, 2016 - 4:00pm to 4:50pm
Pradeep Dubey
Monday, October 24, 2016 - 4:00pm to 4:50pm
Frank O'Mahony
Monday, October 17, 2016 - 4:00pm to 4:50pm
David Hendrix
Monday, October 10, 2016 - 4:00pm to 4:50pm
Robert Adams
Monday, October 3, 2016 - 4:00pm to 4:50pm
Kofi A.A. Makinwa
Monday, June 13, 2016 - 4:00pm to 4:50pm
Nan Sun
Monday, May 9, 2016 - 4:00pm to 4:50pm