James B. Rawlings

Mellichamp Process Control Chair


(805) 893-3089
3329 Engineering II
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5080

Assistant Contact Information: 

Cynthia Rojo
(805) 893-5438
Engineering II, Room 3353

ChemE Research Areas: 


2024  Warren K. Lewis Award, AIChE 
2020  Academy of Distinguished Chemical Engineers, McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas
2019  Distinguished Engineering Graduate Award, The University of Texas
2018  Mellichamp Process Control Chair, University of California, Santa Barbara
2017  William H. Walker Award, AIChE
2016  National Academy of Engineering
2016  Fellow, IFAC
2016  Steenbock Professor of Engineering, UW Madison
2016  Process Automation Hall of Fame
2015  Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor, UW Madison
2015  Centennial Lecturer, McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas
2013  Computers and Chemical Engineering 2012 Best Paper Award
2013  Simon Stevin Lecturer, KU Leuven
2013  Nordic Process Control Award
2013  Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, UW Madison
2012  Elected Fellow, IEEE
2012  WARF Named Professorship, Graduate School, UW Madison, W. Harmon Ray Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering
2011  “Doctor technices honoris causa,” Technical University of Denmark
2011  Inaugural High Impact Paper Award, International Federation of Automatic Control
2011  John R. Ragazzini (Education) Award, American Automatic Control Council
2010  Harvey Spangler Award for Technology Enhanced Instruction, College of Engineering, UW Madison
2010  Bayer Lecturer, Carnegie Mellon University
2009  Elected Fellow, AIChE
2008  Excellence in Process Development Research Award, Process Development Division, AIChE
2005  Byron Bird Award for Excellence in a Research Publication, College of Engineering, UW Madison
1999  Computing in Chemical Engineering Award, CAST Division, AIChE
1999  Van Ness Lecturer, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
1995-2015  Paul A. Elfers Chair in Chemical and Biological Engineering, UW Madison
1989  Presidential Young Investigator, National Science Foundation

Research Description: 

Chemical process monitoring and control: Chemical processes are inherently nonlinear and must operate at their design constraints to achieve optimal economic performance. We have developed methods of moving horizon estimation and model predictive control to monitor and control the operation of chemical processes. This research has provided new theoretical results as well as practical, implementable methods for industrial application.
Reaction engineering at the molecular level: When reacting systems are considered at small length scales (small catalyst particles, inside living cells, etc.), the concentrations are small enough that the stochastic fluctuations cannot be neglected, and the classical standard methods of chemical reaction engineering are not applicable. The focus of our research is to develop new systems tools to support chemical reaction engineering at this molecular level.
Computational modeling: Our group has developed Octave, a freely available, high-level computer language for numerical simulation and analysis of chemical engineering models. We use Octave in order to define models quickly, compute and analyze solutions, estimate model parameters from data, and solve controller design problems.


NATO Postdoctoral Fellow: Institute for System Dynamics and Process Control University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany 1985-1986
PhD: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Chemical Engineering
BS: The University of Texas at Austin, Chemical Engineering

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