Professor Bogumil Ulanicki

Job: Professor of Engineering Systems

Faculty: Technology

School/department: School of Engineering and Sustainable Development

Research group(s): Centre for Engineering Science and Advanced Systems (CESAS), Water Software Systems (WSS)

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 257 7058




Personal profile

Prof. Bogumil Ulanicki has been leading the Water Software Systems (WSS) research group since 1989. Their research has been primarily concerned with water distribution systems (WDS) and more recently also with wastewater treatment. WDS are very complex spatially distributed systems comprising thousands of components, such as treatment works, tanks, pipes, pumps, valves and specialised control components to deliver drinking water to customers. The water distribution infrastructure has to be operated, maintained, developed, and customers have to be served. The aim of research in this area is to develop computer based methods and tools to help water companies with these activities. WSS under Bogumil’s leadership has carried 17 research projects sponsored by EPSRC, EU, TSB and the British Council, and 14 industrial contract research projects for the water industry. All the projects have been inspired by the needs of the water industry and the results have been validated in practice. Some algorithms have been widely accepted by the water research community, e.g. model reduction algorithm, operational scheduling models and algorithms, burst detection method and models of biological reactors and membrane fouling. In summary their research is focused on:

Solving engineering problems in water distribution systems, including:

  • Modelling of water distribution systems
  • Energy and pressure management
  • Leakage management and burst detection
  • Steady state and dynamic pressure control
  • Modelling and control of dynamic and transient phenomena
  • Information integration in a water enterprises
  • Software development for engineering applications

Solving engineering problems in the wastewater area, including:

  • Dynamic modelling and control of membrane biological reactors
  • Modelling of membrane fouling
  • Wastewater treatment process piloting, optimisation and control
  • Computational fluid dynamics (CFD)

Research group affiliations

Centre for Engineering Science and Advanced Systems (CESAS), Water Software Systems (WSS)

Key research outputs

Brdyś, M.A. and Ulanicki, B. (1994), Operational Control of Water Systems: Structures, algorithms and applications, Prentice Hall, New York, London, Toronto.

Ulanicki, B., Kahler, J. and See, H J. (2007). “Dynamic Optimization Approach for Solving an Optimal Scheduling Problem in Water Distribution Systems”, ASCE Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 133 (1).

Ulanicki B, Kahler J & Coulbeck B (2008), Modeling the Efficiency and Power Characteristics of a Pump Group, J Water Resources Planning and Management, Vol 134, No 1, pp 88-93, DOI 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9496(2008)134:1(88).

AbdelMeguid H, Skworcow P & Ulanicki B (2011), ‘Mathematical modelling of a hydraulic controller for PRV flow modulation’, Journal of Hydroinformatics, Vol 13, No 3, pp 374–389, DOI 10.2166/hydro.2011.024

Martinez Alzamora F., Ulanicki, B. and Salomons, E. (2012). “A fast and practical method for model reduction of large scale water distribution networks”, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. doi:10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000333

Research interests/expertise

Bogumil Ulanicki is the Head of Research of the Water Software Systems research group at De Montfort University. He is an expert in the areas of Control and Water Engineering including clean water and wastewater and mathematical modelling. Prof. Ulanicki has led 28 major projects, including 16 research projects financed by EPSRC, DTI and EC and 12 contract research projects for the EU and UK water industry. 

He has over 100 refereed publications and his contributions include developing original methods for analysis, control and design of water systems. A number of these methods have subsequently been utilised for solving practical design and operational problems.

Areas of teaching

As a Lecturer at Bialystok Technical University Prof. Ulanicki taught six different subjects in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. At De Montfort University he has taught 14 different modules at undergraduate and MSc levels. The majority of the modules have primarily concerned System Modelling, Instrumentation and Control and Industrial IT.


Bogumil Ulanicki received his education from the Warsaw University of Technology in Poland: MSc in Automatic Control and PhD in Hierarchical Control of Complex Systems. In 1994 he was awarded a DSc from the same institution. He worked as a Senior Lecturer at Bialystok Technical University in Poland from 1979 to 1987. In 1987 he joined the Water Software Systems group at De Montfort University and subsequently became Director of Research for the group.

He is currently a Professor of Engineering Systems at De Montfort University. In 1997 he was awarded the title of Honorary Professor of Harbin Institute of Technology in China for his achievements in the area of Water Engineering.

Courses taught

  • BEng Mechanical Engineering, BEng Electronic Engineering, Project Supervision, ENGD300
  • MSc Electronic Engineering, Control and Instrumentation, ENGT5145
  • MSc Mechatronics, MSc Electronic Engineering, MSc Mechanical Engineering, Project Supervision, ENGT5301.

Honours and awards

  • DSc in Automation and Robotics from Warsaw University of Technology, Poland , 1994,  awarded for the publication record and submitting and defending a special habilitation monograph
  • Honorary Professor from Harbin Institute of Technology, China, 1998, awarded for the international standing in water engineering area
  • ASCE 2011 Outstanding Reviewer, USA, 2012, awarded for thoroughness and helpfulness in reviewing submitted papers to ASCE journals.

Membership of external committees

  • EPSRC ‘Engineering Systems’ panel member and reviewer, reviewing 4 EPSRC proposals per year on average
  • Reviewer of EU FP7 programme
  • Member of Standing Committee for Water Distribution Systems Analysis (WDSA) international conferences (USA)
  • Member of Founding Committee for Conference on Computer Control in Water Industry (CCWI)
  • Funding member of the NetwercH2O network (EU)
  • External examiner for PhD at Sheffield and Exeter Universities
  • Reviewer for Finish Academy of Sciences
  • Reviewer for Czech Academy of Science
  • Member of Engineering Professors’ Council (EPC)

Membership of professional associations and societies

CEng, MIET since 1989

Forthcoming events

  • International Conference on Computer Control in Water Industry (CCWI) in Perugia, September 2013.
  • International Conference on Computer Control in Water Industry (CCWI) to be held at DMU in 2015.

Conference attendance

CCWI2011, Exeter, UK

  • Skworcow, P. and Ulanicki, B. “Burst Detection in Water Distribution Systems via Active Identification Procedure” In proceedings of the international CCWI20 conference, 5-7 September 2011, Exeter, UK.
  • Paluszczyszyn, D. Skworcow, P. and Ulanicki, B. ‘ Online Simplification of Water Distribution Network Models’ In proceedings of the international CCWI2011 conference, 5-7 September 2011, Exeter, UK. 

WDSA2012, Adelaide, Australia

  • Paluszczyszyn, D., Skworcow, P. Ulanicki, P., “A New Method of Modelling and Simulation of Water Networks with Discontinuous Control Elements, Proceedings of the 14th Water Distribution Systems Analysis Conference, 24–27 September 2012 Adelaide, Australia.
  • Ulanicki, B., Strzelecka, A., Skworcow, P. and Janus, T. ‘Developing Scenarios for Future Utility Provision’, In Proceedings of the 14th Water Distribution Systems Analysis Conference, 24–27 September 2012 Adelaide, Australia.

Consultancy work

  • Burst Detection and Leakage Management, (2009), Veolia -Three Valleys Water, industrial contract research project, project manager.
  • Development of Tools to Enhance Burst Detection Process, (2012, 2013), Affinity Water (former Veolia Water), industrial contract research project, co-investigator.
  • Pump scheduling case study, (2012, 2013), Affinity Water (former Veolia Water), industrial contract research project, co-investigator.

Current research students

1st supervisor:

  • Tomasz Janus, ‘Modelling of membrane bioreactors for wastewater treatment’
  • Aboajela Kajaman, ‘Modelling and Optimisation of a Novel Wastewater Treatment Process’
  • Daniel Paluszczyszyn, ‘Modelling, simulation and optimisation of water distribution system within hybrid systems framework’.

2nd supervisor

  • AnnaStrzelecka, ‘One Utility for Sustainable Communities: Modelling and Optimisation of Utility Service Provision’
  • MalleshBommanahal, ‘Unsteady nonlinear aerodynamic modelling using the Volterra series method’
  • EmmanuelUshie, ‘Novel catalyst in treatment of produced water from oil production’
  • Ihonre LeoAsuelimen, ‘Enhanced in-situ remediation of hydrocarbon contaminated soils by a novel fibrous catalyst’

Externally funded research grants information

  • ‘Delivering sustainable water systems by optimising existing infrastructure via improved knowledge, understanding and technology - project NEPTUNE’, EPSRC strategic partnership grant (EP/E003192/1), (2007-2010), co-investigator; academic collaborators: Cambridge University, Exeter University, Imperial College, Leicester University, Sheffield University; industrial collaborators: Yorkshire Water Services (YWS), ABB Ltd and United Utilities (UU).
  • ‘Modelling, simulation and optimisation of water distribution system within hybrid systems framework’, DTP – EPSRC, linked to the Neptune project, (2010-2013), PhD supervisor.
  • ‘Commercialisation of Membrane Bioreactor Wastewater Treatment Modelling Software’, Innovation and Regional Fellowship, (2009 – 2010), project manager.
  • ‘Feasibility Analysis of Supplying All Services Through One Utility Product’, EPSRC grant (EP/J005592/1), (2011-2013), co-investigator, collaborators: Cranfield University, Leicester University and Sheffield University.

Internally funded research project information

‘Real-time Management of Integrated Wastewater Systems’ Revolving Investment Fund (RIF) – first call, (2009), co-investigator.

Professional esteem indicators

Regular reviewer for the ASCE journals:

  • Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management
  • Journal of Hydraulic Engineering
  • Journal of Irrigation & Drainage Engineering

Regular reviewer for the IWA journal

  • Hydroinformatics

Case studies

The major impacts of Prof. Ulanicki’s Water Software Systems (WSS) team are:  

1) Application in industrial practice of the original automatic hydraulic model reduction method which enabled the solving of large scale optimisation problems.

2) Introduction by UK water companies of optimised operations of their water distribution systems using optimal scheduling algorithms developed by the WSS team.

The model reduction method shortened the simulation time of water distribution network models hundreds of times, and enabled the solution of many complex search problems. The method has been applied by the WSS group to many industrial projects in the area of optimal pump scheduling and optimal pressure control; Thames Water, (2001), Anglian Water (2006), Yorkshire Water (2009); United Utilities (2009) and Affinity Water (2009 to date). It has attracted a lot of interest from commercial companies, for example, it is used routinely by OptiWater in Israel (Elad Salomons) in their projects, and is part of the software developed to operate the Haifa Distribution System in Israel (2008 to date).

3) Practical application of general pressure control schemes for steady state and dynamic control by the UK water companies.

Water Software Systems has developed variety of pressure control schemes based on time and flow modulation. The methods were applied in numerous industrial case studies, for instance: ‘Optimal pressure control for the Surbiton Zone, (2001), Thames Water and in around 20 district metering areas (DMAs) in South Staffordshire Water, during EPSRC RAIS grant (GR/S14382), (2002 – 2003).

We have developed dynamic models for pressure control valves (PRVs) and different type of controllers. The controller developed by the Aquavent Company (Mark Lock) was modelled and tested by WSS which led to its improved performance and subsequent installation at different sites, for instance at Addenbrookes Cambridge University Hospital (2011), Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust (2012) andHMS Drake Fleet Maintenance Base, Davenport (2012).

4) Introduction of an efficient burst detection method developed by WSS as standard industrial practice by a UK water company. Richard Burd (, Asset Performance Specialist at Veolia Water in 2010:

“We are now rolling out PLaN (Pressure Loss across Networks) to 100 DMA's! This as you can imagine will involve improvements to the way we do things so that we can keep up with demand. So far we've had 100% success with the method. The first trial found 2 leaks and a school with flushing urinals at night oh and also a valve that was letting by, the second trial found 2 leaks, the third found 6 leaks and the last one found 10! So far every time we say go there they find a leak :-)”


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