Dynamic Optimization

Dynamic Optimization for Engineers is a graduate level course on the theory and applications of numerical methods for solution of time-varying systems with a focus on engineering design and real-time control applications. Concepts taught in this course include mathematical modeling, data reconciliation, nonlinear programming, estimation, and advanced control methods such as model predictive control.


 John D. Hedengren
 Office: 801-422-2590, 350R CB
 Cell: 801-477-7341
 Contact: john.hedengren [at]

John Hedengren worked 5 years with ExxonMobil Chemical on Optimization solutions for the petrochemical industry. He conducts research in optimization methods, modeling systems, and applications in Chemical Engineering. The PRISM group is actively working on oil and gas drilling automation, reservoir engineering, process optimization, unmanned aerial vehicles, and systems biology.

Required Text

We will use a set of course notes and instructional videos that take the place of the book. Everyone will have access to these notes and videos through this web-site.


Reading is essential to success in this course. There are a number of resources that are available on the course web-site or through external sources. Most of the reading will come from journal articles or book chapters. Below is a list of some supplementary resources.

Discussion Group
YouTube Channel
  • Articles
    • Nonlinear Modeling, Estimation and Predictive Control in APMonitor, Hedengren, J. D. and Asgharzadeh Shishavan, R., Powell, K.M., and Edgar, T.F., Computers and Chemical Engineering, Volume 70, pg. 133–148, 2014. Available at:
  • Books
    • Optimization Methods for Engineering Design, Parkinson, A.R., Balling, R., and J.D. Hedengren, 2013. Available at:
    • Optimization of Chemical Processes, Edgar, T.F., Himmelblau, D.M., and L.S. Lasdon, McGraw Hill, 2001.


Class Participation


Article Review




Mid-Term Exam


Final Exam


Final Project


Grade Expectations

A Read material in advance, be attentive and ask questions in lectures, understand and do all homework on time, study hard for exams well before the exam starts, work hard and perform well on exams and the class projects.

B Skim material in advance, attend lectures and try to stay awake, depend on TA for homework help, casually study for the exam by working the practice exam instead of learning concepts.

C Never read book, work on other homework during class, skip some homework assignments, start cramming for the exam the night before the exam.

D Skip class, don't turn in homework or turn it in late, start learning during the exam.


There will be a mid-term and the final exam. These exams may be closed book and/or open book, in-class or in the testing center, as specified by the instructor prior to the exam. Exams will only be given after the scheduled date by special permission. Students with conflicts should arrange to take the exam prior to the scheduled date.


You will be required to complete a course projects. I will provide suggestions or you can do something of your own interest or something that is integrated with a campus or off-campus research project.

Computer Tools

Using computer software as a technique for solving dynamic optimization problems is the focus of this course. All homework assignments will require the use of a computer.

One of the most common questions that I receive from students who would like to take this class is, "How much programming experience is required to succeed in the class?"

To address this concern, I have prepared software tutorials that assume very little knowledge of programming. There are also many excellent resources on the internet that give tutorial introductions to programming. Those students who have no or little programming experience can review these step-by-step instructional videos to gain some of the required background.

This is a dynamic optimization course, not a programming course, but some familiarity with MATLAB, Python, or equivalent programming language is required to perform assignments, projects, and exams. Students who complete the course will gain experience in at least one programming language.

Preventing Sexual Misconduct

As required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the university prohibits sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. Title IX also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of “Sexual Misconduct” prohibited by the university.

University policy requires any university employee in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention through various forms including face-to-face conversation, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. If you encounter Sexual Misconduct, please contact the Title IX Coordinator at or 801-422-2130 or Ethics Point at or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours). Additional information about Title IX and resources available to you can be found at

Disability Resources

If you suspect or are aware that you have a disability, you are strongly encouraged to contact the University Accessibility Center (UAC) located at 2170 WSC (801-422-2767) as soon as possible. A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Examples include vision or hearing impairments, physical disabilities, chronic illnesses, emotional disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety), learning disorders, and attention disorders (e.g., ADHD). When registering with the UAC, the disability will be evaluated and eligible students will receive assistance in obtaining reasonable University approved accommodations.