BelabbasMohamed-Ali (M.-A.) Belabbas

PhD, Applied Mathematics, Harvard University
Ingénieur degree, École Centrale Paris (France)
Electrical Engineering, Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium)

Associate Professor
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department
Coordinated Science Laboratory
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Contact: CSL 166
1308 W Main St
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: 217 300 1742
belabbas [at] illinois [dot] edu

Office hours: by appointment.

Banff workshop: Geometry, Topology, and their Applications in Control System Design. Organized with Tony Bloch (UMich), Monique Chyba (Hawaii), Xudong Chen (CU Boulder) and Angelia Nedich (ASU). June 11- June 16 2023

Motion planning: papers, slides, code and videos: Motion planning

Tutorial on Graph Theory in Systems and Control (CDC18):  paper pdf  Slides Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4


ECE 557 Geometric Control (Spring 2021, Spring 2023)

ECE 486: Linear Systems (Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2002)

ECE 555 Stochastic Control (Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2022)

ECE 470/AE 482/ME 446: Introduction to Robotics (Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021)

ECE 598MAB: Geometric Control (Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2018)

ECE 515: Linear Systems (Fall 2015)

ECE 517: Nonlinear and adaptive control (Fall 2017)

Papers and preprints


  • Geometric Characterization of the H-property for Step-graphons, with X. Chen, pdf
  • The H-Property of Line Graphons, with X. Chen and T. Başar, pdf
  • On gradient flows initialized near maxima. pdf
  • On Structural Rank and Resilience of Sparsity Patterns, with X. Chen and D. Zelazo. pdf
  • On implicit regularization: Morse functions and applications to matrix factorization (pdf)
  • Motion Planning for Non-holonomic Systems via the Heat Flow: theory and algorithms, with S. Liu (pdf)
  • Graph theory and the design of sparse distributed systems,  A. Kirkoryan and  M.-A. Belabbas.    pdf  bibtex


  • On the structural stability of random systems, with A. Kirkoryan  (pdf), SIAM Journal on Control and optimization (accepted for publication)
  • On the H-property for step-graphons and edge polytopes, with X. Chen and T. Başar. pdf, IEEE Systems and Control Lettersvol. 6, 1766-1771, 2022
  • Gradient approximation and multivariable derivative-free optimization based on non-commutative maps, with J. Feiling and C. Ebenbauer, pdf, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control (accepted for publication)
  • Gossip over Holonomic Graphs, with X. Chen and J. Liu. pdf Automatica, Vol 136, 2022.
  • On Integer Balancing of Digraphs, Systems & Control Letters, vol 154, 2021. with X. Chen, pdf
  • Triangulated Laman Graphs, Local Stochastic Matrices, and Limits of their Products, Linear Algebra and its Applications, volume 619, pp176–209, 2021. with X. Chen, pdf
  • Geometric Heat Flow for Legged Locomotion Planning, with S. Liu and Y. Fan,  IEEE Control Systems Letters, Vol 5(3), July 2021, pdf
  • Mid-air Motion Planning of Robot Using Heat Flow Method with State Constraints, with Y. Fan and S. Liu, Mechatronics, Volume 66, April 2020, 102323.
  • Controlling and stabilizing a rigid formation using a few agents, with X. Chen and T. Başar. SIAM Journal on Control and Optimization, Volume 57(1), p.104–128, pdf


  • Vision-Based Shape Reconstruction of Soft Continuum Arms Using a Geometric Strain Parametrization, with A. AlBeladi, G. Krishnan and S. Hutchinson, pdf (ICRA21)
  • Graph Theory in Systems and Control, with D. Zelazo and M. Mesbahi, CDC18 pdf  Slides Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4
  • On the Optimal Design of Low Frequency Actuators, with A. Kirkoryan, CDC18 pdf slides
  • Optimal actuator design for linear systems with multiplicative noise, with A. Kirkoryan, ECC18 pdf slides
  • New Method for Motion Planning for Non-holonomic Systems using Partial Differential Equations, with S. Liu,  ACC2017pdf
  • Controlling a rigid formation from a triangle, with X. Chen and T. Başar, CDC2016. pdf
  • Optimal sensor and actuator placement with sparsity constraints, MTNS2016
  • Cluster Consensus over Strongly Connected Voltage Graphs, with X. Chen and  T. Başar, MTNS2016
  • Controllability of formations over directed graphs, with X. Chen and T.Başar, CDC2015
  • Consensus with Linear Objective Maps, with  X. Chen and T. Başar, CDC2015
  • Stability and Convergence Rate of Discrete-Time Altafini’s Model: A Graphical Approach,  with J. Liu, X. Chen, T.Başar, CDC2015
  • Formation Control with Triangulated Laman Graphs, with X. Chen and T.Başar, CDC2015
  • Distributed local stabilization in formation control, with M. Lorenzen, ECC2014 pdf bibtex
  • Undirected rigid formations are problematic, with S. Mou, A.S. Morse  and BDO Anderson, CDC2014
  • Decentralized stabilization with symmetric topologies, with  A. Kirkoryan, CDC2014
  • Algorithms for sparse stable systems, CDC2014    pdf  bibtex
  • Decentralized design with localized objective in formation control, ACC2013   pdf  bibtex    slides
  • Robustness issues with undirected formations,  with  S. Mou, A.S. Morse and B.D.O. Anderson, CDC2012   pdf  bibtex
  • On global feedback stabilization in decentralized formation control,  CDC2011.  pdf  bibtex
  • Factorizations and partial contractions of nonlinear systems,  with J.JS Slotine, ACC2012.    pdf  bibtex
  • Spectral clustering for multiclass Erdos-Renyi graphs, ICASSP2010     pdf  bibtex
  • On Sparse Representations of Linear Operators and the Approximation of Matrix Products, with P.J. Wolfe, CISS2008    pdf  bibtex
  • Fast Low-Rank Approximation for Covariance Matrices, with P.J. Wolfe, CAMSAP2007
  • Input-output Hamiltonian systems and neural signal processing, with R. Brockett, CDC2006  pdf  bibtex


Xudong Chen (Postdoctoral fellow) => Assistant Professor at CU Boulder

Artur Kirkoryan (PhD Student, Mathematics, graduated Dec 2018) => Postdoctoral Fellow, UIUC

Yinai Fan (PhD Student, MechSE)

Shenyu Liu (PhD Student, ECE)

Ivan Abraham (PhD Student, MechSE)

James Schmidt (MSc Student, ECE)

Aristomenis Tsopelakos (MSc Student, ECE)

Xuandong Xu (MSc student, ECE, graduated Spring 2015)

Yuan Yao (MSc student, ECE,  graduated Spring 2015)

Tao Yang (MSc Student, ECE, graduated Spring 2015)