Chen's research aims to build rigorous foundations and develop new methodologies in optimization, control, and systems theory for analysis, control, and design of complex networked systems. Problems associated with such systems are typically large, computationally hard, and often require distributed solutions; yet they are also very structured and have features that can be exploited by appropriate computational methods. His research focuses on developing optimization approaches for such problems, and aims to develop theories, methods, and tools for modeling, exploiting structure, and distributing the design, optimization, and control of networked systems. A long-term research goal is to create a mathematical underpinning of network architecture that would include a unified framework that integrates computation, communication, control, and incentive, and allow rigorous analysis and systematic design of complex networked systems.
Control and optimization of complex networked systems, Distributed optimization and control, Convex relaxation and parsimonious solutions, Game theory and its engineering applications, Theoretical foundation of complex engineering networks