My manifesto

I am:

  • a scientist who believes that science and education are the most important factors for social change, and form the basis of progress;

  • a scientist who is convinced that science must come from the heart. Positive change comes from those with a sound conviction in their work. You have to believe what you are doing, regardless of whether or not it follows the conventional path. This has been the chief consideration in my choice of study, career development and work place;

  • a scientist that is also an artist, because I challenge the existing order: I do not follow pathways, I build and open new pathways;

  • a person in continuous pursuit of beauty in all its forms. As someone with an interest in fine art, I find it helpful to express my research in visual terms. The beauty of art (painting and music, in my case) and science are interchangeable;

  • a person who believes that good science is made by happy and passionate people. This is why we have to take care of our teams, appreciate people for what we are and build spaces for teams to flourish and do exciting things;

  • a person that feels a responsibility to share the knowledge and experiences with a new generation of scientists and learners (of all levels). Developing one's professional career in a country like México brings a level of social awareness; getting a PhD degree is a luxury in some parts of the world;

  • an academic who believes that the only limits that exist in our work and career are the limitations of our thinking;

  • a scientist with a social conscience, impelled to spread the knowledge of computer science, engineering and mathematics and inspire people to fulfill their full potential. For these reasons, I have been always involved in public engagement and outreach activities. I hope to be equal to the task of informing and inspiring generations to come about the ways in which science and technology has changed the world, and how it will continue to transform our day-to-day lives;

  • a professional that is extremely grateful to the different colleagues I have worked with. This includes scientists, technologists, free-thinkers, philosophers, artists, creators, musicians, freelancers and institutions from the UK, Europe, the Americas and Australia; from industry and the academic world; from diverse backgrounds, interests and disciplines;

  • a person with a restless curiosity. This explains my diverse education with 3 different degrees in computer science, engineering and applied mathematics, and two PhD degrees: one completed in Automatic Control and another unfinished in Celestial Mechanics and Space Dynamics.

  • a scientist who is multidisciplinary because I cannot understand my work without the richness and diversity of people and ideas. I have been always mixing theory and practice, breaking the boundaries of many different disciplines. The fact that I am studying hybrid systems naturally arises from my previous work, and the new models of computation, learning and evolution of complex systems that I am currently devising within AiDAs integrates my vision of science;

  • a person with an intellectual restlessness that makes me open to new research challenges. Moving between disciplines and working with many different people is my natural state. I am not scared of change or afraid of the unknown.

What do I do?

Scientists and artists are alike in that both attempt to understand the world better. At best, both scientists and artists manage to make the world a better place. Diversity and happiness lies within. These are my goals. At root there is an ethical dimension to my strong commitment to people and social awareness in science and education.

The core of my research is dynamical systems, computational science and industrial automation. However, I have always challenged the existing orthodoxy in these areas and have combined five classically-separated disciplines: computer science, artificial intelligence (AI), control engineering, mathematical systems analysis and network science –with strong links to industry.

I am a leading researcher in various aspects of hybrid dynamical systems, cyber-physical systems, control systems, automated formal verification, stability theory, complex networks and symbolic AI, as well as self-organising systems, with applications in brain networks, evolution in ecology, gene regulatory networks, software dependency networks, social networks, collective behaviour in animals, cells and people, electromechanical systems, robotics, power electronics, smart grids, systems biology, smart cities, drilling mechanisms, oil and gas networks, and distribution and transportation networks. Uniquely, I have made key contributions to the theory of dissipative nonlinear discrete-time systems and hybrid automata, and to the automated verification and control of diverse discontinuous/switched, hybrid and cyber-physical systems. I was the principal investigator in the first funded project in the UK (DYVERSE) dedicated explicitly to the control and formal verification of nonlinear hybrid dynamical systems with multiple equilibria and non-standard and non-simplistic dynamics. Very few researchers deal with this type of theory and systems.

My contributions to the oil and energy industry sector in Mexico are highly regarded. I coordinated and participated in projects on exploration and production, drilling, optimisation of distribution/transportation networks, smart grids and fault diagnosis. I also worked in projects on computer security systems, expert and agent-based systems for decision making (process plants), and logistics problems.

My work on hybrid dynamical systems, automated verification and symbolic AI is unified within the novel computational dynamical framework of DYVERSE. This is an acronym for the DYnamically-driven VERfication of Systems with Energy considerations. The ‘energy’ referred to here is the exchange of energy of systems with their environment, which may be an abstract or physical entity. The formalisation of the abstract energy of dynamical systems is carried out through the dissipative systems theory, an area of control theory in which I have been acknowledged as one of the world leaders, and my publications are citation classic papers.Within DYVERSE, I have developed the automated verification, modelling –mainly, model checking techniques and nonlinear hybrid automata models–, discrete abstraction, bisimulation, and stability analysis of nonlinear complex hybrid systems. We are proud to say that we are one of the very few groups who have successfully dealt with the verification of liveness properties, which are properties that are eventually true, in contrast to safety properties that are always true. For this, we have proposed dynamically-aware verification algorithms, deadness properties, a new class of hybrid automata including computation nodes, and a novel lazy-Satisfiability Modulo Theory-based bounded-model-checker for safety falsification.

Building on DYVERSE and based on the adaptive processes of the human brain –that is, neuroplasticity–, we are currently working on Neuro-DYVERSE: an attempt to transform computational neuroscience by introducing the field ‘hybrid systems neuroscience’. This requires the reformulation of hybrid system models, analysis dynamical tools and control schemes for neuronal systems. We have shown how the modelling and analysis framework of our tool DyverseRBT (Rigid-Body Toolbox), based on the non-classical MRB (Multi-Rigid Body) hybrid automaton specification, is applicable to the case of neuronal networks. This work, enhanced by a sabbatical year at Instituto Cajal, has the potential to revolutionise the modelling, analysis and simulation of complex adaptive systems.

Not too short biography

I was born in Alicante, Spain, and I am Mexican at heart.

I have an MEng in Computer Science Engineering, with a PhD specialisation in Space Dynamics and Celestial Mechanics from Universitat d'Alacant/Universidad de Alicante. I have also a BSc in Physical Systems Engineering and a BEng in Systems and Electronics from the same university. I completed a PhD in Automatic Control and Industrial Electronics at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Barcelona. I have also a grade of Specialist Engineer in Instrumentation and Control from Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo.

I worked for the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) of Spain at the Instituto de Automática Industrial in Madrid and in the Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial in Barcelona during more than four years.

After my PhD at UPC in Barcelona, I worked as Principal Research Scientist at Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo in Mexico City, forming and leading a group on modelling, analysis and control of discontinuous dynamical systems, and mechanical vibrations in oil well drillstrings. I also coordinated projects and consultancies of exploration and production, drilling and optimisation of distribution and transportation networks, computer security systems, expert and agent-based systems for decision making (process plants), and logistics problems. I was nominated for the Eni Award 2012 for my contributions to research in energy. I held a Ramón y Cajal Fellowship for outstanding international researchers from the Spanish Government. In particular, I focused on the analysis and control of discontinuous dynamical systems and control switched system: mainly, electromechanical systems with impacts and friction, and power converters.

From 2008 to 2019, I was a Research Councils United Kingdom (RCUK) Academic Fellow and Lecturer in Hybrid Systems and Control Engineering within the Formal Methods Group in the School of Computer Science at The University of Manchester. This School is acknowledged as one of the historically pioneering departments of computer science in the world. Here, I formed and led the group of modelling, automated verification and control of hybrid dynamical systems, cyber-physical systems and complex networks. During 2016 and 2017, I was a Visiting Professor in Instituto Cajal -one of the most prestigious research centres in neurobiology in the world, founded by Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the father of modern neuroscience. Since February 2019, I have been a Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the Spatial Policy Lab of the Manchester Urban Institute and the School of Environment, Education and Development at The University of Manchester, where I am applying network and data science to analyse social and urban dynamics. Since 2019, I have been also part of the core team of AI Mexico, which promotes artificial intelligence education and its responsible adoption by industry. AI Mexico is a coordinating institution of the Coalition IA2030Mx, in charge of the National Agenda for AI of Mexico.

Since 2020, I have worked within the School of Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Wolverhampton as a Reader of Data Science. In the UK, a Reader is equivalent to a Full Professor without a chair and is a research-oriented permanent professorial post. In Wolverhampton, I am the Director and founder of AiDAs, the Artificial Intelligence and Data Science Research Lab, and the champion of equality, inclusion and diversity as the Chair of the new Athena Swan Task Force Group within the School of Mathematics and Computer Science. I am also the creator and leader of the two new courses of "Data Science" and "Research Methods" within the new MSc in Data Science and MSc in Artificial Intelligence.

In recognition of my contributions to research, from 2004 to 2010 I was awarded the membership of the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (SNI, Mexican National Research System) within Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT, Mexican Council of Science and Technology), México. The SNI is the Mexican national body for eminent scientists. I am advisor for different government agencies in México and Spain.

I have made research stays in prestigious research centres and universities from all around the world, namely: Computer Laboratory at University of Cambridge, Microsoft Research Cambridge, Johns Hopkins University, Institut Français du Pétrole in Paris, Laboratoire d’Automatique de Grenoble (ENSIEG-INPG), Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford/Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Navales at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, the Mechatronics Department of the Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del I.P.N. (CINVESTAV) in México, D.F., the Department of Electronics and Telecommunications of the Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE) in Ensenada, Baja California, Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (IPICYT) in San Luis Potosí, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC) Campus Ensenada in Baja California, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM-CEM), Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in México, D.F., Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Tecnun – School of Engineering at Universidad de Navarra in San Sebastián.

I collaborate with more than 30 well-reputed scientists in institutions and companies in the UK, Europe, the Americas and Australia. My publications record is outstanding, covering hybrid dynamical systems, stability theory, formal methods and verification, control engineering and theory, network science and machine learning, with a wide range of application domains. I have published more than 75 research works in major international journals, books and major international conferences. With an h-index of 19 and i-index of 28, my research, with 4* (world leading) and 3* research outputs, was considered in the UK 2014 Research Excellence Framework and helped her department come 4th in computer science in the UK. My publications with their citations and h-index are at Google Scholar. My complete list of publications is in this link.

I have headed 7 projects (5 as PI, 2 as co-PI) and worked in more than 23 projects and consultancies; most related to the oil and energy sector, drilling, control systems, security, fault diagnosis, software design, process plants, logistics, distribution networks, and more recently to hybrid/cyber-physical systems, neuroscience, formal verification, text mining, smart grids. I was the principal investigator of DYVERSE, the first funded project in the UK dedicated to the formal verification and control of nonlinear hybrid dynamical systems.

I have given more than 83 invited talks, keynotes, research seminars and panel discussions in institutions and conferences of high-standing around the world (incluing University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, MathWorks Inc, Johns Hopkins University, Jülich Forschungszentrum, Technische Universität Berlin, AI Center in Sweden, amongst many others). A selected list of these events can be found at this link. I have been a member of the programme committee for 18 major international conferences. I am referee for the best international journals and conferences in my areas of expertise. Since 2006, I have been a member of the editorial board of Ingeniare. Revista Chilena de Ingeniería. I am associate editor for the prestigious journal Simulation.

Reflecting my international standing in neuromorphic computing and hybrid systems, I am advisor for the prestigious Jülich Forschungszentrum for the foundation of two institutes of neuromorphic computing and served as the UK representative on the management committee of the European Action “Multi-Paradigm Modelling for Cyber-Physical Systems”. I am also a member of the IFAC Technical Committee of Discrete Event and Hybrid Systems, the IFAC Technical Committee of Biological and Medical Systems, the IEEE-CSS Technical Committee on Power Generation Control (Renewable Energy Generation), the Turing Centenary Advisory Committee, and the Observatory of Industry 4.0 in Spain. Moreover, I am part of the core team of AI Mexico, the coordinating institution of the Coalition IA2030Mx, in charge of the National Agenda for AI of Mexico.

I am one of the 7 founders of ACM-Women Europe (the Association for Computing Machinery’s Council on Women in Computing in Europe) and the founder of the ACM womENcourage conference series in Europe. I was the 1st ACM-Women Europe Regional Celebrations Leader and the chair of the 1st ACM womENcourage Europe conference held in Manchester, 1st March, 2014. I am also a member of the British Computer Society (BCS) Women in Computing Research Committee of the BCS Academy of Computing. She has recently joined TechnoLatinas, a community to bring together technologists and scientists from Latin America and all around the world to support each other and advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion.

In collaboration with the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, we participated in the RCUK Business Plan Competition, and were invited to the final event in London in 2010. This was the seed of the idea for the company Locomizer. I have been invited to several events organised by EPSRC to identify research needs and opportunities in systems and control engineering in the UK.

I have an ability to inspire people to fulfill their maximum potential, acquired by extensive public engagement and outreach activities, including: residency at the UK Houses of Parliament, museum exhibitions, science festivals and panel discussions with the general public. My work has been acknowledged by high profile appearances in the British, Spanish, French and Mexican press and media. I was part of the longest documentary made about Alan Turing, produced by France Culture (part of Radio France). It was broadcast in four episodes in 2018. I also contributed to the exhibition “Alan Turing and Life’s Enigma” in the Manchester Museum about Alan Turing’s morphogenesis. This exhibition has been the most important in the topic, and from 24th March to 18th November 2012 received thousands of visitors from all around the world.

I am a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the IEEE Control Systems Society (IEEE-CSS), IEEE Women in Engineering, and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and its special interest groups of embedded systems, and algorithms and computation theory. I am also a member of the EPSRC-funded eFutures, network for electronic systems research, the Black British Academics Community Interest Company, and the EPSRC-funded Systems-NET, amongst others.

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