Essays on Optimal Control of Dynamic Systems with Learning

Thumbnail Image




Sun, Peng
de Vericourt, Francis

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Repository Usage Stats



This dissertation studies the optimal control of two different dynamic systems with learning: (i) diagnostic service systems, and (ii) green incentive policy design. In both cases, analytical models have been developed to improve our understanding of the system, and managerial insights are gained on its optimal management.

We first consider a diagnostic service system in a queueing framework, where the service is in the form of sequential hypothesis testing. The agent should dynamically weigh the benefit of performing an additional test on the current task to improve the accuracy of her judgment against the incurred delay cost for the accumulated workload. We analyze the accuracy/congestion tradeoff in this setting and fully characterize the structure of the optimal policy. Further, we allow for admission control (dismissing tasks from the queue without processing) in the system, and derive its implications on the structure of the optimal policy and system's performance.

We then study Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) policies, which are incentive mechanisms by governments to promote renewable energy technologies. We focus on two key network externalities that govern the evolution of a new technology in the market over time: (i) technological learning, and (ii) social learning. By developing an intertemporal model that captures these dynamics, we investigate how lawmakers should leverage on such effects to make FIT policies more efficient. We contrast our findings against the current practice of FIT-implementing jurisdictions, and also determine how the FIT regimes should depend on specific technology and market characteristics.





Alizamir, Saed (2013). Essays on Optimal Control of Dynamic Systems with Learning. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.