Sergio Bittanti is professor of Model Identification and Data Analysis in the Politecnico di Milano – Italy, where he works in the Department of Electronics and Information.

Research activity - main lines

His research interests focus on the methods and system identification and control. He also enjoyed studying a number of challenging problems posed by real world applications through the cooperation with numerous industrial companies. The main research lines are:


The outcome of the research activity is summarized in numerous papers published in some of the best international Journals (see publications page) and in 4 volumes, of which he was editor or co-editor:

Scientific associations

He has been active in various scientific associations, in particular the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (IEEE) and the European Union Control Association (EUCA).

For IFAC he served in various capacities, in particular as member of the Theory Committee (since 1984), Chairman of the Technical Committee on Adaptive Control and Learning (1999-2001), and then member of the IFAC Council (triennium 2002-2005). It was in this triennium that IFAC decided to assign to Milan the IFAC World Congress of the year 2011. Currently, he his a member of the Technical Board and member of three technical committees, on Modelling, Identification & Signal Processing; on Adaptive and Learning Systems and on Stochastic Systems.

As for IEEE, he has been nominated Fellow since 01.01.2001.

Finally, he has been one of the founding members of EUCA (funded 1991) , and since 2003 he serves as Editor in Chief of the European Journal of Control (the EUCA Journal started its publication in 1995).

Conferences and meeting organization
He substantially contributed to the organization of various conferences, among which:

He also contributed to the Program Committees of a very large number of international conferences.

Editorial activity

Professor Bittanti served as associate editor for: Journal of Mathematical Systems, Estimation, and Control; Statistics and Computing, European Journal of Control, and currently is Editor in Chief of the European Journal of Control and Editor for Annual Reviews of Control.

Research networks

He has been involved in various research networks. During the period 1983 – 1995 he coordinated one of the main systems and control networks of Italy via the project “Model Identification, System Control and Signal Processing” funded by the Ministry of University and Research. This network gathered about 70 Italian professor and researchers distributed in different universities. The activity has been reported jointly with another Italian research network mainly devoted to nonlinear control, initially coordinated by Alberto Isidori and subsequently by Salvatore Monaco (both of the University of Rome), in the following volumes: :

Since 1996 the responsibility of coordinating the follow up of the national project “Model Identification, System Control and Signal Processing” passed to Giorgio Picci of Padua University. In its last edition (years 2007, 2008) the project has taken the denomination “Identification and Adaptive Control of Industrial Systems”. Currently Sergio Bittanti acts as local coordinator for the research team of the Politecnico di Milano within such project.

In the 80's, the two national projects above mentioned established the tradition of meeting annually in a scientific workshop to promote the exchange of new results. This workshop, denominated “Identificazione, Controllo e Ottimizzazione dei Sistemi Dinamici”, was held at Villa Olmo, Como in the years 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1991, with Sergio Bittanti serving as coordinator. With the passing of years, further projects joined and the workshop progressively enlarged. Nowaday, the annual meeting include all Italian professors and reseachers operating in the field and is held here and there in the Country. Special attention deserves the 2006 national meeting, organized again by Sergio Bittanti. This meeting, held in the Politecnico di Milano, was a 50 years celebration event. Indeed, in 1956 an international conference named “Convegno Internazionale sui Problemi dell’Automatismo” was held in Milano with more than 1000 participants. That conference, promoted by the National Research Council (CNR), is considered the big-bang of automatic control as and independent discipline in Italy.

He had responsibilities in various European projects, and in particular:

Lecturer and thesis advisor

At the Politecnico di Milano he enjoyed lecturing various courses, among them Automatic Control, Model Identification and Data Analysis, System Theory. In particular, he had the privilege of starting the lecturing on System Identification in that University, beginning in 1977. He had then only 17 students in his class, but the course gained more and more popularity, reaching 600 students in the academic year 1999/2000. Then, with the reform of the Italian University that articulated the 5 years of Engineering in two levels - 3 years undergraduate followed by 2 years master, his huge class was split into a number of classes for different areas of specialization (aerospace, automation, bioengineering, computer engineering, etc). Today one can count a dozen of system identification courses for a total of about 900 students.

The System Identification lecture notes are published in Italian, in two volumes :

In his long teaching activity, Professor Bittanti had the privilege of meeting many outstanding scholars for whom he acted as advisor for the master or PhD thesis; many of them are now renowed scientists and successful engineers working in Italy and around the world.

From 1993 to 1998 he acted as supervisor of the PhD Program in Informatica & Automatica in the Politecnico di Milano. In this role, he started the series of Colloquia, during which the new PhD graduates had the possibility of presenting their research results to the general public.

Service to the CNR (National Research Council)

Professor Bittanti is a long term associate fellow of the Italian Research Council (CNR, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche), serving various Institutes. Currently, he is associated with CNR – IEIIT (Institute of Electronics, Informatics and Telecomunication). He served as the member of Scientific Councils of the following CNR Institutes and Centres :

Contributions to Program Committees
Application studies and industrial cooperations

Professor Bittanti was responsible or co-responsible of the collaborations between the Politecnico di Milano and the following companies and institutions: :

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AIAA American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics ASME  American Society of Mechanical Engineers EUCA  European Union Control Association IEEE  Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers IFAC International Federation of Automatic Control SAE Society of Automotive Engineers