Dr. Alexander Dowling is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. He is a member of the Scalable Systems Laboratory, and collaborates with several researchers in both Chemical and Biological Engineering and the Solar Energy Laboratory (Mechanical Engineering).


Research and Teaching Interests

As an undergraduate student, Alex was introduced to the worlds of systems engineering, control theory and numerical optimization as a Race Strategist with the University of Michigan Solar Car Team. He developed a fascination with these topics, which lead him to graduate school. In fact, several unsolved optimal control problems from his solar car days continue to inspire his research interests.

Broadly speaking, Dr. Dowling seeks to elicit new technology design, identify new integration opportunities and realize improved performance through enhanced operations/control strategies of energy systems through his research. His expertise is at the intersection of numerical optimization and mathematical modeling of energy systems and chemical processes (thermal power cycles, batteries systems, solar collectors, electricity markets, cryogenic separations, etc.). He focuses on the development of detailed physics-based mathematical models tailored for large-scale optimization. Dr. Dowling has recently begun exploring the application of high performance computing and stochastic programming paradigms to improve systems with energy storage. For these systems the design and operational decisions are intermediately coupled and are greatly influenced by uncertainty and outside disturbances (e.g., weather, electricity market prices). As such the design of energy systems is especially complex and greatly benefits from systematic analysis and rigorous numerical optimization.

Furthermore, Dr. Dowling is especially excited to work alongside students in applications of systems engineering. Informed by his experiences on the Michigan Solar Car Team, he strongly values hands-on learning with student relatable problems and real data. As a graduate student, he developed and taught a 6-week lecture mini-series on statistics that supplemented the Junior Transport Laboratory. To date, he has helped mentored four masters and eight undergraduate researchers.

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering


2009 Engineering Hall
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI 53706

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(Peer Review Service Record)