Skip to main content



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 at UCF. He has been a Professor (since 2000), SAIC Endowed Professor (since 2010), and Pegasus Professor and Chair at Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (since 2010).

Dr. Qu conducts interdisciplinary research in broad fields of energy and power, networked systems & 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 PI and Director of 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 ENERGISE research 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. As the Co-Director of Electric Vehicle Transportation Center (a tier-1 university transportation center funded by U.S. Department of Transportation), he leads the effort of developing smart interfaces between electrical vehicles and electrical grid as well as autonomous vehicle technologies.

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.

In his areas of expertise, Dr. Qu has published 170 archival journal articles and 291 conference papers. He is a co-editor of and contributing author to Smart Grid Control: An Overview and Research Opportunities by Springer (2018), and is one of the contributors to IEEE Vision for Smart Grid Controls: 2030 and Beyond by IEEE Standards Association (2013). He is the author of four books, including Cooperative Control of Dynamical Systems by Springer(2009) and Robust Control of Nonlinear Uncertain Systems by Wiley (1998).

Dr. Qu served on the Committee of Visitors (COV), a review panel of NSF ECCS Division; on IEEE Smart Grid Operational and Steering Committees; as IEEE CSS Smart Grid TC Chair; Conference Chair of IEEE CSS TCAC; Secretary, Vice President, President of Southeast ECE Department Head Association (SECEDHA); Board of Directors of ECE Department Head Association (ECEDHA); Chair of ECEDHA award committee; Vice President and President of ECEDHA; Secretary and Board of Directors, Southeastern Center for Electrical Engineering Education (SCEEE); Board of Governors, IEEE CSS; and an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer. He is/was an Associate Editor for several journals, including Automatica, IEEE ACCESS, and IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control. He received a number of awards and is a Fellow of IEEE and a Fellow of AAAS.

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

  • FEEDER (Foundations for Engineering Education for Distributed Energy Resources) Consortium, one of the national-network centers funded under the GEARED program (US Department of Energy)
  • FEEDER: Strategic Expansion to Achieve GEARED Goals (STEP) (by DOE)
  • Novel Guidance and Control Algorithms for Missile Defense Systems (L-3 Communications Coleman Aerospace)
  • Scalable/Secure Cooperative Algorithms and Framework for Extremely-high Penetration Solar Integration (US Department of Energy

Professional Activities

  • Associate Editor, Automatica
  • Associate Editor, IEEE ACCESS
  • Advisory Board, International Journal of Robotics and Automation
  • Vice President, ECEDHA
  • Board of Directors and Secretary, SCEEE
  • Past President, SECEDHA
  • Director, ECE Systems & Control Laboratory
  • Director, ECE Robotics Laboratory
  • Director, UCF Medical Robotics Laboratory

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow, IEEE
  • Fellow, AAAS
  • SAIC Endowed Professorship
  • Pegasus Professor
  • Lockheed Martin Corporate Award
  • Technology Transfer Award, NASA
  • ECEDHA service award
  • IEEE Distinguished Lecturer