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Dr Xu Xu BEng, MSc, PhD, FHEA, MIET

Reader in Control Systems Engineering and Nonlinear Systems Modelling


Xu graduated from Xidian University, Xi’an, China after completing a BEng course in Automation. She studied an MSc in Control Systems Engineering (with Distinction) and subsequently a PhD covering the areas of nonlinear dynamical systems, cellular automata, optimal control and sliding mode control engineering at the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, the University of Sheffield.

Xu carried out research on an EPSRC funded project as a Postdoctoral Research Associate on cellular automata for micro-structural modelling at the University of Sheffield between 2009 and 2011. Her past work experience also includes working as an Associate Lecturer in Sheffield Hallam University and an Academic Tutor in Sheffield International College.

Xu worked as a Lecturer and then a Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University between 2015 and 2019. She was previously the Course Leader for MSc Automation, Control and Robotics between 2016 and 2019, but has since stepped down to take on a new role of Postgraduate Research Tutor for the Materials and Engineering Research Institute & the Department of Engineering and Mathematics in October 2019. Xu has been promoted to Reader in January 2020.  


Department of Engineering and Mathematics

Business, Technology and Engineering

Subject area/group

Power, Electrical and Control Engineering


- Control of Linear Systems, Level 7
- Automation and Robotics, Level 6
- Control Systems Engineering, Level 6
- Maths and Control, Level 5
- Control and Instrumentation, Level 5
- Introduction to Programming, Level 4


Xu actively researches in the areas of multi-component lattice Boltzmann (LB) fluid dynamics simulation methods and their applications, in particular, in modelling blood flow. As a control engineer, Xu is also interested in nonlinear control techniques and related control engineering applications. Her current research interest further extends to theoretical studies of cellular automata as nonlinear dynamical systems and the wide range of dynamical behaviours existed in cellular systems.

Xu is currently the early career researcher (ECR) representative for the College of BTE on the University Researcher Concordat Operations Group and is a member of the Engineering Unit of Assessment Mini-REF reading panel. She is also a member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Associate Peer Review College.


Journal articles

Spendlove, J., Xu, X., Schenkel, T., Seaton, M., Halliday, I., & Gunn, J. (2021). Three-dimensional single framework multi-component lattice Boltzmann equation method for vesicle hydrodynamics. Physics of Fluids, 33 (7), 077110.

Spendlove, J., Xu, X., Halliday, O.J., Schenkel, T., & Halliday, I. (2020). Chromodynamic multirelaxation-time lattice Boltzmann scheme for fluids with density difference. Physical Review E (PRE), 102 (1).

Spendlove, J., Xu, X., Schenkel, T., Seaton, M., & Halliday, I. (2020). Chromo-dynamic multi-component lattice Boltzmann equation scheme for axial symmetry. Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical, 53 (14), 145001.

Talamali, M.S., Bose, T., Haire, M., Xu, X., Marshall, J.A.R., & Reina, A. (2020). Sophisticated collective foraging with minimalistagents: a swarm robotics test. Swarm Intelligence, 14 (1), 25-56.

Burgin, K., Spendlove, J., Xu, X., & Halliday, I. (2019). Kinematics of chromodynamic multicomponent lattice Boltzmann Simulation with a large density contrast. Physical Review E, 100 (4), 043310.

Xu, X. (2019). Real Linear Automata with a Continuum of Periodic Solutions for Every Period. International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos, 29 (6).

Xu, X., Burgin, K., Ellis, M., & Halliday, I. (2017). Benchmarking of three-dimensional multicomponent lattice Boltzmann equation. Physical Review E (PRE), 96 (5), 053308.

Halliday, I., Xu, X., & Burgin, K. (2017). The shear viscosity of a two-dimensional emulsion of drops using a multiple-relaxation-time-step lattice Boltzmann method. Physical Review E (PRE), 95 (2-1).

Vertyagina, Y., Mahfouf, M., & Xu, X. (2013). 3D modelling of ferrite and austenite grain coarsening using real-valued cellular automata based on transition function. Journal of Materials Science, 48 (16), 5517-5527.

Xu, X., Banks, S.P., & Mahfouf, M. (2011). On the structure of real-valued one-dimensional cellular automata. International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos, 21 (05), 1265-1279.

Du, C., Xu, X., Banks, S.P., & Wu, A. (2009). Control of nonlinear functional differential equations. Nonlinear Analysis: Theory, Methods & Applications, 71 (12), e1850-e1857.

Xu, X., Song, Y., & Banks, S.P. (2009). On the dynamical behaviour of cellular automata. International Journal of Bifurcation and Chaos, 19 (04), 1147-1156.

Kokkrathoke, S., Rawsthorne, A., Zhang, H., & Xu, X. (n.d.). Nonlinear Optimal Stabilising Control of a Two-wheel Robot. International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control.

Conference papers

Kokkrathoke, S., & Xu, X. (2021). Implementation of Nonlinear Optimal Control of Two-wheel Robot with Extended Kalman Filter. In 2021 IEEE International Conference on Automatic Control & Intelligent Systems, 26 June 2021 (pp. 19-25). IEEE:

Haire, M., Xu, X., Alboul, L., Penders, J., & Zhang, H. (2019). Ship Hull Repair Using A Swarm Of Autonomous Underwater Robots: A Self-Assembly Algorithm. ECMR 2019 (European Conference on Mobile Robotics).

Haire, M., Xu, X., Alboul, L., Penders, J., & Zhang, H. (2019). Ship hull inspection using a swarm of autonomous underwater robots: a Search algorithm. 2019 IEEE International Symposium on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics (SSRR).

Font Llenas, A., Talamali, M.S., Xu, X., Marshall, J.A.R., & Reina, A. (2018). Quality-sensitive foraging by a robot swarm through virtual pheromone trails. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), 11172 (11172), 135-149.

Book chapters

Xu, X., & Banks, S.P. (2006). Nonlinear systems: Global theory of attractors and their topology. In Transactions of the VŠB - Technical University of Ostrava. (pp. 243-248). VŠB–Technical University of Ostrava: Ostrava:

Xu, X., Zhang, H., & Carbone, G. (n.d.). Case studies on nonlinear control theory of the inverted pendulum. In Boubake, O., & Iriarte, R. (Eds.) Inverted pendulum: from theory to new innovations in control and robotics. IET

Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD students

September 2018 - present: Biomedical Applications of Multi-Component Lattice Boltzmann Fluid Dynamics Simulation - J. Spendlove

Dr Xu is working in collaboration with SHU co-supervisors Dr Ian Halliday and Dr Torsten Schenkel, advisor Dr Tim Spencer and external supervisors/advisors Prof. Paul Evans, Prof. Julian Gunn at the University of Sheffield (UoS) and Dr Michael Seaton at STFC Daresbury Laboratory.

May 2018 - present: Nonlinear Control Techniques and Robotic Applications - S. Kokkrathoke

Working together with Emeritus professor Prof. Stephen Banks from UoS, Dr Halliday, Dr Alex Shenfield, Dr Hongwei Zhang and Andy Rawsthorne at SHU, Dr Xu leads the supervision team for Surapong’s PhD project in analysing and applying global control methods, such as nonlinear freezing and iteration control techniques.

September 2016 - present: Robotic Applications of Artificial Swarm Intelligence - M. Haire

This project investigates a swarm of robots for emergency ship hull repair and the supervision team also includes Dr Lyuba Alboul and Dr Hongwei Zhang.

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