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Zhihua Qu received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and joined the University of Central Florida (UCF) in 1990. From 1995 to 1997, he served as the assistant chair of the department. From 1999 to 2004, he was the Director/Interim Chair of Electrical Engineering. From 2010 to 2021, he was the Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering after a re-organization. Currently, he is the Thomas J. Riordan and Herbert C. Towle Chair and Pegasus Professor of ECE.

Dr. Qu conducts interdisciplinary research in broad fields of energy and power, networked systems, and advanced control. In energy systems, his research interests include power system stability, wide-area controls and their modular data-driven designs, self-organizing microgrids, distributed energy resources, distributed optimization, and cooperative control. He is the Founding Director of RISES, a university research center on energy systems. RISES consists of 16 faculty members from three colleges and has 7 laboratories (four of which are named by external sponsors). He also founded FEEDER Center which, funded from 2013 to 2019 by US Department of Energy and afterwards by industrial/utility partners, consists of 12 universities, 18 utility companies, 10 industry companies and 2 national labs. This intercollegiate and partnership team provides a full spectrum of collaborative research, development and educational activities, including its innovative multi-institutional course sharing, to better train the current and future workforce and to accelerate the deployment of distributed power systems technologies.

Dr. Qu has been leading a DOE SETO research team to design autonomous inverter controls for grid forming and resilient/secure grid operations. He also led the DOE ENERGISE team to design and implement highly scalable technologies for distribution systems to operate reliably and securely with 100% renewable penetration. A modular and plug-and-play grid platform has been developed for real-time operation and control of large scale (one-million-node) distribution networks, and self-organizing distribution operation and distributed control functions have been tested to manage distributed energy resources in a cost-effective, reliable, scalable and secure manner.

Fundamental advances of his recent work emcompass plug-and-play operation of networked systems, distributed optimization, cooperative control and game-theoretical algorithms, and resilient networked controls against attack. In addition to smart grid, he has successfully pursued applications in autonomous vehicles, medical robotics, and missile guidance. He is also known for his earlier work on robust control of nonlinear uncertain systems.

Dr. Qu is serving on Standing Council, Vision for Engineering Leadership Multi-sector Alliance, the NSF Engineering Research Visioning Alliance (ERVA); IEEE Smart Grid Operational and Steering Committees; and Board of Trustees and Vice Chair of ECE Foundation.

Research Interests

  • Systems Theory and Control
  • Optimization and Control of Networked Dynamical Systems
  • Distributed Control and Optimization for Smart Grid
  • Autonomous Vehicle Systems
  • Medical Robotics

Ongoing Research Projects

  • Autonomous Inverter Controls for Resilient and Secure Grid Operation: Vector Control Design for Grid Forming (DOE)
  • Secure and Resilient Operations Using Open-Source Dis-tributed Systems Platform (DOE)
  • Building Intelligence with Layered Defense using Security-Constrained Optimization and Security Risk Detection (DOE)
  • Nonlinear Autopilot Design and Robustness Analysis (Lockheed)
  • Adaptive and Resilient Autonomy for Unmanned Autonomous Systems (CAE)
  • Long-Duration Energy Storage Study (Duke Energy)
  • Data Analytics for Autonomous Building and Smart Infrastructure (Siemens Building Technology)
  • Data Analytics: Electric Grid Data Integration and Support (Siemens Digital Grid)

Professional Activities

  • Associate Editor, Automatica
  • Associate Editor, IEEE ACCESS
  • Advisory Board, International Journal of Robotics and Automation

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow, IEEE
  • Fellow, AAAS
  • Lockheed Martin Corporate Award
  • Technology Transfer Award, NASA
  • Robert M. Janowiak Outstanding Leadership and Service Award
  • IEEE Distinguished Lecturer