Arturo Locatelli

Professor emeritus of Politecnico di Milano


  • Year of nomination: 2013
  • Facility: Department of Electronics and Information [facility name no longer in use]
  • E-mail:

"Arturo Locatelli was born in Milan on 1st May 1941. He graduated in Electronic Engineering from Politecnico di Milano in 1964; he was a lecturer, assistant professor, visiting professor and then full professor from 1976 to 2011.

He has held numerous institutional positions, including those of:

  • President of the Laurea (Bachelor’s degree) in Electronic Engineering course council at PoliMI (1982-1986);
  • Member of the PoliMI Board of Directors (1986-1988);
  • Director of the CNR Centre for Systems Theory (1991-1997);
  • Director of the PoliMl Department of Electronics and Information (2002-2005).

The teaching activity has been rich and intense, in various degrees, in basic and advanced teaching, as well as in doctoral teaching and lifelong learning courses. It is important to note that the teaching activity has been reinforced by important scientific "firsts" in Italian automatics, as schematically described below.

In the early 1970s, following a visit to Stanford University, Arturo Locatelli made a fundamental contribution to a complete restructuring of the teaching of automatics at the Politecnico, which was later adopted by many other Italian universities. Among other things, he introduced the teaching of subjects such as optimal and noninteracting control. In those years, Arturo Locatelli began publishing university texts. Among them, the following, which were widely distributed throughout the country, stand out:

  • Teoria della regolazione (“Theory of Regulation”), CLUP-Hoepli, 1975
  • Elementi di Controllo Ottimo ("Elements of Optimal Control”), CLUP, 1987
  • Controllo Ottimo: Elementi di teoria classica (“Optimal Control: Elements of Classical Theory”), Pitagora Editrice, 1996
  • Algebra lineare ("Linear Algebra"), CLUP, 1982 (co-written woith G. Fronza and S. Rinaldi)

Innovation in teaching has continued steadily over the years. He first introduced the subject of robust control in university teaching in Italy with the text:

  • Controllo in RH2- RH= ("Control in RH2- RH="), Pitagora Editrice, 1993 (co-written with P. Colaneri)

More recently, issues of robust control have been the subject of advanced doctoral teaching, for which the text was specifically written:

  • Controllo e filtraggio in Hi/ H - Un approccio nel dominio delle frequenze (“Checking and Filtering in Hi/ H - A Frequency Domain Approach”), PoliPress, 2010 (co-written with P. Bolzern and P. Colaneri)

Arturo Locatelii's research activity was carried out in the field of automatics, including:

  • Insensitive and robust control problems;
  • Optimal periodic control problems;
  • Decentralised control problems with constrained structure and possibly multiple sampling step controllers;
  • Applications to modelling and control of chemical plants, power grids, large space structures, articulated vehicles, robotic systems.

His achievements are attested by more than 130 articles published in journals and presented at international conferences. He has also published two books for international distribution:

  • Control theory and design - An RH2  and  RH= viewpoint,  Academic  Press,  2000  (co-written with P. Colaneri and J.C. Geromel)
  • Optimal Control - An lntroduction, Birkhauser Verlag, 2001

These texts demonstrate the special attention paid to the systematisation of acquisitions on innovative topics and therefore to high-level dissemination.

He has also been involved in the activities of the Italian automatics teaching community since its formation, and has contributed to the dissemination of the discipline in industry as a member of the Italian National Association of Automation (ANIPLA).

It is worth noting that from a very young age he supported the internationalisation of automatics in Italy with his leading role in the organisation of the International Federation of Automatic Contrai (IFAC)’s conferences on sensitivity problems (one of his most significant research topics) and large-scale systems.

In short, Arturo Locatelli made a fundamental contribution to the scientific and pedagogical development of automatics for more than forty years, and his work still continues to this day.

As a professor and researcher, and in his various institutional roles, he has always been an example of dedication to the institution, intellectual honesty and rigour, practised towards himself and others. His example of commitment and passion for research and teaching will leave a mark on all those who had the good fortune of working with him."

[extract from the 2013 nomination statement]