James B. Rawlings

James B. Rawlings

Mellichamp Process Control Chair
Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering


(805) 893-3089
3329 Engineering II

University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106

Fellow of: 

National Academy of Engineering (NAE); International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC); American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE); Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)


2020  Academy of Distinguished Chemical Engineers, McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas
2019  Distinguished Engineering Graduate Award, The University of Texas
2016  Elected Fellow, National Academy of Engineering
2016  Elected Fellow, IFAC
2016  Steenbock Professor of Engineering, UW Madison
2016  Process Automation Hall of Fame
2015  Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor, UW Madison
2015  Centennial Lecturer, McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas
2013  Computers and Chemical Engineering 2012 Best Paper Award
2013  Simon Stevin Lecturer, KU Leuven
2013  Nordic Process Control Award
2013  Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, UW Madison
2012  Elected Fellow, IEEE
2012  WARF Named Professorship, Graduate School, UW Madison, W. Harmon Ray Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering
2011  “Doctor technices honoris causa,” Technical University of Denmark
2011  Inaugural High Impact Paper Award, International Federation of Automatic Control
2011  John R. Ragazzini (Education) Award, American Automatic Control Council
2010  Harvey Spangler Award for Technology Enhanced Instruction, College of Engineering, UW Madison
2010  Bayer Lecturer, Carnegie Mellon University
2009  Elected Fellow, AIChE
2008  Excellence in Process Development Research Award, Process Development Division, AIChE
2005  Byron Bird Award for Excellence in a Research Publication, College of Engineering, UW Madison
1999  Computing in Chemical Engineering Award, CAST Division, AIChE
1999  Van Ness Lecturer, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
1995-2015  Paul A. Elfers Chair in Chemical and Biological Engineering, UW Madison
1989  Presidential Young Investigator, National Science Foundation


Bioengineering, Modeling, Theory & Simulation

Chemical process monitoring and control: Chemical processes are inherently nonlinear and must operate at their design constraints to achieve optimal economic performance. We have developed methods of moving horizon estimation and model predictive control to monitor and control the operation of chemical processes. This research has provided new theoretical results as well as practical, implementable methods for industrial application.
Reaction engineering at the molecular level: When reacting systems are considered at small length scales (small catalyst particles, inside living cells, etc.), the concentrations are small enough that the stochastic fluctuations cannot be neglected, and the classical standard methods of chemical reaction engineering are not applicable. The focus of our research is to develop new systems tools to support chemical reaction engineering at this molecular level.
Computational modeling: Our group has developed Octave, a freely available, high-level computer language for numerical simulation and analysis of chemical engineering models. We use Octave in order to define models quickly, compute and analyze solutions, estimate model parameters from data, and solve controller design problems.


NATO Postdoctoral Fellow Institute for System Dynamics and Process Control University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany 1985-1986
PhD  ​Chemical Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison
BS Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas