Professor Brian Anderson AC

Emeritus Professor
Brian Anderson Building (115), C3.08, CoE student area
+61 2 6125 8667
  • Undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Electrical Engineering at Sydney University
  • Doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University.
  • Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Newcastle, Australia from 1967 through 1981.
  • Professor and Head of the Department of Systems Engineering at the Australian National University in Canberra, 1982 to 1991.
  • Distinguished Professor from 1990 to 2016
  • Director of the Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering from 1994 to 2002.
  • Inaugural CEO of the newly formed National ICT Australia from May 2002 to May 2003.
  • Chief Scientist of NICTA, From May 2003 to June 2006.
  • Emeritus Professor from 2016.
  • He has held many visiting appointments in the United States, Europe and Asia, including the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, Yale University, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Kyoto University and Tokyo Institute of Technology.


Professor Anderson has served as a member of a number of government bodies, including the Australian Science and Technology Council and the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council. He was a member of the Board of Cochlear Limited, the world's major supplier of cochlear implants, from 1995 to 2005. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia. In 1989, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society, London, and in 2002 a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering. He holds honorary doctorates of the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and five Australian Universities He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1993, and made a Companion in 2016.  He received the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun with Neck Ribbon and Gold Rays in 2007.

He was President of the International Federation of Automatic Control for the triennium 1990 to 1993, and served as President of the Australian Academy of Science for four years from 1998 to 2002.

Professor Anderson's research interests have spanned many topics in circuits, signal processing and control, and currently his work focuses on distributed control of multiagent systems,  localization, social networks, and control aspects of epidemics.

Research Description

A starting  question in studying formations of unmanned airborne vehicles is: if a formation is required to maintain a certain shape--a common requirement as it turns out--who should measure what, who should control what, and who should communicate what and to whom? And if the formation is also required to transit from A to B, can this be done with a single command to a single UAV in the formation? Subsidiary questions include: how can the functionality of the formation be maintained if a vehicle fails, or a communication link fails? How can functionality be obtained when one UAV can measure the bearing but not the range of another UAV, or vice versa?

Research Outline

I am focussing on the principles governing the control and use of formations of unmanned airborne vehicles, including more recently low earth orbiting satellites. Much of my work is on particular problems suggested by the Defence Science and Technology Group.

  • Fulbright Grant, 1964, 1970, 1977
  • Senior Prize for Best Paper, IEEE Trans on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, 1986
  • Kelvin Premium, IEE, 1989, Electrical College Eminent Speaker 1990-1991
  • DHC (Docteur honoris causa), Université Catholique de Louvain, 1991
  • Flinders Lectureship and Medal, Australian Academy of Science, 1992
  • Guillemin-Cauer Award, IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, 1992
  • IEEE Control Systems Society Bode Prize, 1992
  • Officer of Order of Australia, 1993
  • Dr sc tech hc (Doctor honoris causa), ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Zürich 1993
  • Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, The Australian National University, 1994
  • International Award of Society for Materials Engineering for Resources of Japan, 1994
  • Hon DEng, University of Sydney, 1995
  • Life Adviser, International Federation of Automatic Control, 1996
  • IEEE Control Systems Award, 1997
  • Hon DEng, University of Melbourne, 1997
  • Guest of Honour, World Automation Congress (WAC'98), Alaska, USA, 1998
  • Quazza Medal, IFAC, 1999
  • Best Paper Prize, Automatica, 1999
  • Named by ISI as one of the most highly cited scientists in the world within the category of engineering for the period 1981-1999
  • Honorary Professor, Harbin Institute of Technology, China, 2000
  • Hon DSc, University of New South Wales, 2001
  • Distinguished Lecturer, IEEE Control Systems Society, 2001
  • IEEE James H Mulligan Jr Education Medal, 2001
  • Guillemin-Cauer Award, IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, 2001
  • MA Sargent Medal, Institute of Engineers, Australia, 2002
  • Asian Control Professors Association Education Award, 2002
  • Centenary Medal, Government of Australia, 2003
  • Chancellor's Special Commendation and Medal, The Australian National University, 2004
  • Hon DEng, University of Newcastle, 2005
  • Commendation of Foreign Minister of Japan, 2006
  • Order of the Rising Sun with Neck Rays and Gold Ribbon (Japan) 2007
  • Best Paper Prize, Asian Journal of Control, 2009
  • Hon DEng, University of Technology Sydney, 2012
  • Best Paper Prize (Guan Zhao-Zhi Award), Chinese Control Conference, 2015
  • Companion of the Order of Australia, 2016
  • John R. Ragazzini Education Award, American Automatic Control Council, 2016
  • Honorary Professor, Zhejiang University, China, 2016
  • Honorary Professor, Shandong University, China, 2018
  • Gdansk University of Technology Medal, 2018
  • Peter Nicol Russell Medal, Engineers Australia, 2019

Updated:  10 August 2021/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing