Dan Davison, PEng

Associate Professor and Acting Academic Director, WatPD Program

Contact Information

Dan DavisonEmail: ddavison@uwaterloo.ca

Phone: 519-888-4567 x35338

Location: EIT 3114

Fax: (519) 746-3077

Biography Summary

Dan Davison is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

His research interests include theoretical control, which involves various aspects of linear and nonlinear control, including performance limitations in feedback control, multi-agent control schemes, and time-delay systems.

Professor Davison is also interested in applied control, in areas such as psychological systems with rich dynamics.  Current projects include stabilization of crowds governed by notions of suggestibility, the modeling of cognitive dissonance, and the study of social psychological systems in which a person is influencing others to change their attitude. His approach towards research is that he allows applications to motivate the discovery of theories instead of the other way around, which reduces the need to force the finding of applications for theories.  He has written various papers about control theory and its applications.

Research Interests

My research program deals with theoretical and applied control.  My philosophy is to let the applications motivate the theory; this reduces the likelihood that there will be a desperate search for an application to which the theory applies (a surprisingly common problem in theoretical research) and, I believe, makes the research more exciting.  My current application interests are in the field of social psychology, which basically deals with how people think about each other and influence each other.  I am especially interested in psychological problems where the underlying dynamics include feedback.  An example of feedback is the attitude-behaviour-attitude connection:  our attitudes affect to some degree our behaviour, and (perhaps surprisingly, for those who have not studied psychology) our behaviour affects to some degree our attitudes.  My research includes modeling such phenomena, simulating interesting scenarios, and developing control schemes.  Recently we have started to work on experimental verification of our theoretical results.

Theoretical Control:  various aspects of linear and nonlinear control, including performance limitations in feedback control; multi-agent control schemes; time-delay systems.

Current Main Application Interest:  any psychological system with interesting dynamics (current projects include stabilization of crowds governed by notions of suggestibility and the modeling of cognitive dissonance)

Previous Application Interests:  control of radiotherapy machinery, engine control, aircraft control, control of infectious diseases


  • BASc, University of Toronto
  • MASc, University of Toronto
  • PhD, Michigan, Ann Arbor

Further Information

Please see Professor Davison's own web page on the Control Systems Group web site for more information.

University of Waterloo

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