Overview of IFAC

Founded in Paris in 1957, IFAC is the worldwide organization tasked with promoting the science and technology of automatic control in all systems, whether for example, engineering, physical, biological, social or economic, in both theory and application. IFAC is also concerned with the impact of control technology on society.

IFAC’s greatest strength is in its people and the volunteers who devote so much of their time to make IFAC function as well as it does. Maintaining the highest technical level of scientific excellence is a major concern for IFAC. This is achieved through the technical excellence of our events, publications and technical committees, and excellence in terms of the efficiency and effectiveness of our secretariat and administrative systems and processes.

The next IFAC triennial World Congress will be held in Berlin, Germany from 12-17 July 2020. With several thousand attendees from all over the world, the IFAC World Congress is the biggest and most important meeting of this kind and the Berlin Congress marks the 21st edition of this series. Berlin is a city that is ever-changing and never perfect, bursting with culture, history and creativity. In this atmosphere, the 2020 World Congress promises to be a one of a kind experience.

Structure

The membership of IFAC consists of National Member Organizations (NMOs) who are responsible for furthering the aims and objectives of IFAC within their respective countries. IFAC provides NMOs with full international participation, whilst at the same time preserving local customs in the development of their activities.

Individuals can participate in IFAC in many ways: as Affiliates who receive the Newsletter; as Technical Committee Members through nomination either by the NMO or by the Technical Committee Chair; as members of the International Program Committees of IFAC events; as authors of papers for IFAC events; as Executive Committee Members; as attendees of IFAC events; as authors, reviewers, and editors of the IFAC journals; and, ultimately as officials of IFAC.

Events

Promotion of the science and technology of automatic control and all of its technical, educational and social implications is of paramount importance for IFAC. This is achieved mainly by organizing and sponsoring technical meetings, and through technical publications. IFAC organizes about 40 high-quality technical meetings per year, whose scheduling, scope, and ways of participation can be accessed through our webpage. Technical meetings are proposed by NMOs, sponsored by one or more of the 39 IFAC Technical Committees, and reviewed by the IFAC Technical Board. Every third year, IFAC organizes a World Congress. Papers presented at IFAC technical meetings are published, in partnership with Elsevier, on IFAC-PapersOnLine website, at no cost to the event organizers. Papers archived in this form can be viewed and downloaded at no cost, and can be cited using the site ISSN, the event ISBN, and the individual paper DOI (digital object identifier).

Journals

A fundamental role in the dissemination of automatic control science and technology is also achieved by IFAC through the editorship of eight prestigious archival journals: Automatica, Control Engineering Practice, Annual Reviews of Control, Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence, Journal of Process Control, Mechatronics, Nonlinear Analysis: Hybrid Systems, and IFAC Journal of Systems and Control, which are known as IFAC Journals and published in partnership with the official IFAC publisher, Elsevier.

Awards

Extraordinary contributions to automatic control science and technology are acknowledged by IFAC in various ways. Lifetime contributions, with either a theoretical or practical emphasis, are honoured by means of the Giorgio Quazza and Nathaniel Nichols medals, awarded every third year. The High Impact Paper award acknowledges the impact of a paper published in any of the official IFAC journals. The Industrial Achievement award is presented to an individual, or a team of individuals, who has made a significant contribution to industrial applications of control. The Manfred Thoma Medal recognizes outstanding contributions of a young researcher and/or engineer under the age of 40 to the field of systems and control in its widest sense Distinguished individuals may be honored by the Council as IFAC Fellows. This recognition is given triennially to a limited number of individuals who have made outstanding and extraordinary contributions in the fields of interest of IFAC as engineers/scientists, technical leaders or educators. The relevance of education is emphasized through the Harold Chestnut Control Engineering Textbook Prize. At the time of the triennial World Congress, the best research articles published in each IFAC journal, with the exception of Annual Reviews of Control, are acknowledged and awarded. The best papers presented at the Congress in the area of applications, by a young author, or as an interactive paper, are also awarded. Long-term service to the Federation is recognized by the Outstanding Service Award, and by presidential appointment of a restricted number of individuals as IFAC Advisors.

Boards and Committees

The Technical Board relies on the highly competent efforts of more than 2000 volunteers, and is responsible for managing the technical activities of the Federation. Its main purpose is to manage the portfolio of IFAC technical meetings. In addition, the Technical Board advises the Council on all technical matters related to technical meetings, publications, and the technical contents of the Triennial Congress. It is also responsible for reviewing the technical activities of IFAC.

The Executive Board coordinates and supervises the executive activities of IFAC through various Executive Committees. It also coordinates the external relations of the Federation, including applications for IFAC membership. The Awards Committee regulates and controls all award-related activities; The Policy Committee advises the Council on matters of general policy, long-range planning, and the external relations of the Federation; The Publications Committee regulates and controls all IFAC publications; The Administrative and Finance Committee is responsible for directing the work of the Secretariat and controls the use of IFAC funds in accordance with the budgets approved annually by the Council.

The IFAC Council conducts the day-to-day business of the Federation, having been empowered to do so by the General Assembly, which is composed of all NMOs.