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Contact Information

John-Michael McNew
PhD Candidate
University of Washington
Department of Electrical Engineering
Paul Allen Center, Room AE100R
Campus Box 352500
Seattle, WA 98195-2500

Research Statement

My research interests include control of networked dynamical systems, hybrid systems, modeling and control of biological systems, cooperative control, self-stabilizing algorithms, and estimation. My thesis centers on the modeling, specification, and control of networked hybrid systems. The work combines ideas from concurrency theory and hybrid systems to form a local model of networked systems called an embedded graph grammar (EGG). Embedded graphs model the discrete and geometric states of a system in addition to the desired network structure. One of the useful notions of the EGG formalism is that incomplete information arising from issues such as communication dropouts is naturally represented by nondeterministic application of embedded graph rules.

Curriculum Vitae.

Educational Background


  • John-Michael McNew and Eric Klavins. Non-Deterministic Reconfiguration of Tree Formations. American Control Conference, 2008. Accepted
  • J. M. McNew, E. Klavins and M. Egerstedt. Solving Coverage Problems with Embedded Graph Grammars. Hybrid Systems: Computation and Control. 2007. pdf.
  • J. M. McNew and E. Klavins, Locally Interacting Hybrid Systems with Embedded Graph Grammars, 45th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control. 2006, pp. 6080--87. pdf
  • J. M. McNew and E. Klavins, Model-Checking and Control of Self-Assembly, American Control Conference, Jun. 2006. pdf
  • J. M. McNew and E. Klavins, A Grammatical Approach to Cooperative Control: The Wanderers and Scouts Example, Cooperative Control. 2005. pdf
  • Sam McKennoch, J.M. McNew and Linda G. Bushnell, A Biologically-Inspired Platform for the Evolution of Communication in Multi-Agent Systems, Proceedings IEEE International Symposium on Intelligent Control (ISIC), October 2003.

Embedded Graph Grammar Examples and Simulations

  • Coordinate Free Triangulation This simulation of the system in the HSCC paper shows a group of mobile agents without a global coordinate system using communication and range measurements to establish an equilateral triangulation.
  • Non-Deterministic Reconfiguration of Tree Formations This simulation of the system in the ACC paper shows a group of mobile agents reconfiguring an unknown initial tree formation into a desired tree formation using only local communications.
  • Spatial Load Balancing This simulation of the system in the CDC paper considers an intial graph of unknow structure and an unknown number of "observation sites". The agents in the system maintain network connectivity while routing "observer" agents to the sites in equal number (balancing the load).
  • Cover, Clear and Hold An extension of "Coordinate Free Triangulation" coverage. Here an area may be "held" by a sparser triangulation provided that triangulation is enclosed by a perimeter of the smaller triangulations.
  • Probabilistic Rule Application. Formal work is ongoing. The basic idea is that by applying rules with different probabilities one can effect the meta-shapes that arise from a rule set. In the "skinny star" example, the set of rules from the "Coordinate Free Triangulation" is used, but the probability of applying the rule coressponding to corners is higher than that of rules involving the flat sides of the meta-hexagon. The resulting meta shape assumes a skinny starlike quality.