John Thistle

Associate Professor
John Thistle

Contact information

Phone: 519-888-4567 x32910
Location: EIT 3113

Biography summary

John Thistle is an Associate Professor and co-ordinator for the Master of Engineering Program in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He is currently a member of the Waterloo Formal Methods (WatForm) research group, which studies applications of formal methods in hardware design and software engineering.

Professor Thistle’s research interests include control of discrete event systems, formal synthesis and verification of discrete event systems, and applications to software development. He is also focusing on the decidability and complexity of the synthesis of centralized and distributed controllers. Potential applications occur not only in traditional control engineering areas but also, for example, in the design of distributed software systems.

Research interests

  • Control of discrete event systems
  • Formal synthesis
  • verification of discrete event systems
  • software development
  • Communication & Information Systems
  • Cybersecurity
  • Infrastructure integrity


  • 1991, Doctorate, PhD, University of Toronto
  • 1985, Master's, MASc, University of Toronto
  • 1982, Bachelor's, BSc, Queen's University


  • BME 356 - Control Systems
    • Taught in 2022
  • ECE 108 - Discrete Mathematics and Logic 1
    • Taught in 2020
  • ECE 208 - Discrete Mathematics and Logic 2
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021
  • MATH 213 - Signals, Systems, and Differential Equations
    • Taught in 2021

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/recent publications

  • Zibaeenejad, Mohammad Hadi and Thistle, John G, Deadlock analysis of generalized parameterized discrete event systems with ring topology, IFAC Proceedings Volumes, 47(2), 2014, 370 - 375
  • Zibaeenejad, Mohammad Hadi and Thistle, John G, Weak invariant simulation and its application to analysis of parameterized networks, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 59(8), 2014, 2024 - 2037
  • Nazari, Siamak and Thistle, John G, Blocking in fully connected networks of arbitrary size, IEEE Transactions on Automatic control, 57(5), 2012, 1233 - 1242
  • Thistle, John G and Lamouchi, HM, Effective control synthesis for partially observed discrete-event systems, SIAM Journal on Control and Optimization, 48(3), 2009, 1858 - 1887
  • Thistle, John G and Su, R, On effective computation of supremal local supports, IEEE transactions on automatic control, 52(8), 2007, 1429 - 1441

Graduate studies