Professor Sina Ober-Blöbaum

Fellow and Tutor in Engineering; Associate Professor of Control Engineering

Sina Ober-Blöbaum is an Associate Professor of Control Engineering at the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford and a Tutorial Fellow in Engineering at Harris Manchester College.

Her research is situated in the fields of Nonlinear Dynamical Systems, Numerical Integration and Optimal Control. Her research focus lies in the development and analysis of structure-preserving simulation and optimal control methods for mechanical, electrical and hybrid systems, with a wide range of application areas including astrodynamics, drive technology and robotics.

Prior to Oxford, Sina Ober-Blöbaum was an Assistant Professor of Computational Dynamics and Optimal Control at the Institute of Mathematics at the University of Paderborn in Germany. She was a Visiting and Deputy Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Technische Universität München, the Technische Universität Dresden and the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany.

She obtained her PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of Paderborn and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Control and Dynamical Systems (CDS) group at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena in California, USA.

Sina Ober-Blöbaum is a member of the International Association of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics (GAMM), an associated member of `Junges Kolleg’ of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts in Germany and associated partner of the Leading-Edge Cluster it’s OWL – Intelligent Technical Systems OstWestfalenLippe within the cross-sectional project `Self-optimisation’ . She is a frequent speaker at academic conferences on applied mathematics, computational mechanics and control engineering.


Sina teaches Engineering at Harris Manchester College and directs the studies of the undergraduate engineering students at the college. She gives seminars and lectures on Dynamical Systems and Calculus of Variations for the Faculty of Engineering Science.

Research and selected publications

Structure-preserving integration

Simulations of dynamical systems are intended to reproduce the dynamic behavior in a realistic way. Using structure-preserving integration schemes for the simulation of mechanical systems certain properties of the real system are conserved in the numerical solution. Examples are the conservation of energy or momentum induced by symmetries in the system (e. g. conservation of the angular momentum in case of rotational symmetry). A special class of structure-preserving integrators are variational integrators that are derived based on discrete variational mechanics. Using the concept of discrete variational mechanics variational multirate integrators are developed for an efficient treatment of systems with different time scales. Moreover, the integrators are extended for the application to new system classes such as electric circuits and flexible beam dynamics.

Ober-Blöbaum. Galerkin variational integrators and modified symplectic Runge-Kutta methods. IMA Journal of Numerical Analysis, 1-32, 2016. doi:10.1093/imanum/drv062

  1. Ober-Blöbaum and Nils Saake. Construction and analysis of higher order Galerkin variational integrators. Advances in Computational Mathematics, 41(6): 955–986, 2015.
2015  Demoures, F. Gay-Balmaz , S. Leyendecker, S. Ober-Blöbaum , T. S. Ratiu , Y. Weinand. Discrete variational Lie group formulation of geometrically exact beam dynamics. Numerische Mathematik, 130(1): 73-123, 2015.

2013   Ober-Blöbaum, M. Tao, M. Cheng, H. Owhadi, and J. E. Marsden. Variational integrators for electric circuits. Journal of Computational Physics, 242(C): 498-530, 2013.

  1. Leyendecker and S. Ober-Blöbaum. A variational approach to multirate integration for constrained systems. In Paul Fisette and Jean-Claude Samin (editors), Multibody Dynamics: Computational Methods and Applications. Springer, 28:97-121, Springer, Netherlands, 2013.

Optimal control methods

Optimal control aims to prescribe the motion of a dynamical system in such a way that a certain optimality criterion is achieved. The research focus lies in the development of efficient numerical schemes for the solution of optimal control problems that are based on structure-preserving integration. Optimal control methods are designed for the treatment of multi-body systems as well as for complex systems with certain substructures for which hierarchical approaches are developed. Further aspects of research interest are the development of numerical methods using inherent properties of the dynamical system such as symmetries or invariant objects, multiobjective optimization approaches for optimal control problems and the optimal control of hybrid systems. Application include problems in astrodynamics, biomechanics, robotics and drive technology.

C.M. Campos, S. Ober-Blöbaum, and E. Trélat. High order variational integrators in the optimal control of mechanical systems. Discrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems A, 35(9):4193-4223, 2015

  1. Moore, S. Ober-Blöbaum, and J. E. Marsden. Trajectory design combining invariant manifolds with discrete mechanics and optimal control. Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, 35(5):1507-1525, 2012.
2011  Ober-Blöbaum, O. Junge, and J.E. Marsden. Discrete mechanics and optimal control: an analysis. ESAIM: Control, Optimisation and Calculus of Variations, 17(2):322-352, 2011.

2010 Leyendecker, S. Ober-Blöbaum, J.E. Marsden, and M. Ortiz. Discrete mechanics and optimal control for constrained systems. Optimal Control, Applications and Methods, 31(6),:505-528, 2010.

2009  Dellnitz, S. Ober-Blöbaum, M. Post, O. Schütze, and B. Thiere. A multi-objective approach to the design of low thrust space trajectories using optimal control. Celestial Mechanics and Dynamical Astronomy, 105(1):33-59, 2009. ()



Contact Details
Postal Address
Harris Manchester College
Mansfield Road
United Kingdom