Prof. Xi Chen


Professor Xi Chen

College of Control Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University, China

Title: Advanced Optimization Approaches for Polymerization Processes with Microstructural Quality Indices


Polymerization processes face the additional challenge of meeting tight product specifications, which are dictated by the demands of high-quality and advanced materials. Compared with traditional macro quality indices, the molecular structure of polymers essentially determines the end-use properties of products. Meeting the specifications requires the incorporation of complex microstructural models based on population balances of all the polymer chains. Addressing these challenges requires the development and application of efficient, robust, and powerful optimization strategies and modeling frameworks. Generally, there are two different categories of methods to obtain microstructural qualities. One category is based on solving equations derived from material balances, which can take advantage of gradient-based optimization algorithms to develop optimal operating policies. But to construct complete microstructural information, millions of equations are involved and impractical to solve directly. The other category is based on Monte Carlo simulation, which is essentially “math-free” without solving complex differential-algebraic equations. However, since Monte Carlo simulations are stochastic and computationally expensive, integrating the Monte Carlo model into optimization is also computationally intractable. This talk presents the development and application of novel optimization strategies for both the deterministic and the stochastic methods. Significant advances will be demonstrated through examples.


Xi Chen is professor in the College of Control Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University, China. His current research interests include complex process modeling and optimization, parallel computation, symbolic computation, and industrial applications in polymerization, air separation, fine chemicals, and plastic processing. Dr. Chen served as the Chair of Process Monitoring & Control Division, Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) in 2011-2012, and an international program committee for PSE-2018, ESCAPE-2018, ESCAPE-2019 and FOCAPD-2019. He also serves as an associate editor for Journal of Process Control and editorial board member of Computers & Chemical Engineering, Processes, and Journal of Chemical Engineering of Chinese Universities. He enlisted the Program for New Century Excellent Talents of the Department of Education, China, in 2013. He received the Natural Science Award of Ministry of Education in China in 2013, and the Science and Technology Progress Award of Ministry of Education in China in 2005. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed international journal/proceedings articles in the PSE area.