Ronald Gordon Harley, considered the "doctor of generalized machine control" for his expertise regarding electric machines, drives and power electronics, is being honored by IEEE with the 2009 IEEE Richard Harold Kaufmann Award. IEEE is the world's largest technical professional association.
The award, sponsored by the IEEE Industry Applications Society, recognizes Harley for contributions to monitoring, control and optimization of electrical processes including electrical machines and power networks. The award will be presented on 24 September 2009 at the IEEE Energy Conversion Conference & Exposition (ECCE 2009) in San Jose, Calif.
Harley has made numerous important contributions to the design and understanding of electrical machines. He introduced many innovations essential to industry including micromachines, power electronics and intelligence systems. These include the application of neural networks for improved monitoring and control. Harley's early work taught many engineers how to analyze and diagnose stability issues in power systems applications, and his more recent contributions have provided innovative methods for monitoring the health of induction motors, with many of his ideas becoming patents and finding homes in commercial products.
Harley's research career began in 1966 under the leadership of Bernard Adkins at Imperial College, London, UK, where he helped develop a synchronous generator with a divided field winding and published extensively on the theory and control of this machine. His early contributions also included a micromachines research lab in South Africa which was instrumental in modeling the behavior of generators and induction motors of a power system. This lab was able to validate algorithms for determining synchronous machine parameters through online measurements on the South African power grid.
More recently, Harley analyzed induction motor and permanent magnet motor stator and rotor faults. He was the first to propose and implement the concept of using a neural-network based adaptive controller for the current and speed loops of an induction motor, which is able to adapt to load changes. He also has proposed using neural networks to accurately measure harmonic currents produced by nonlinear loads from non-sinusoidal supply voltages.
A Fellow of IEEE and the Royal Society of South Africa, Harley coauthored with Adkins "The General Theory of Alternating Current Machines: Application to Practical Problems" (Chapman and Hall, 1975), which is widely used in graduate engineering courses and has been translated into multiple languages and reprinted many times. Harley received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and his doctorate from Imperial College, London. He is currently a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta.