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This paper presents a Galerkin/neural-network- based guaranteed cost control (GCC) design for a class of parabolic partial differential equation (PDE) systems with unknown nonlinearities. A parabolic PDE system typically involves a spatial differential operator with eigenspectrum that can be partitioned into a finite-dimensional slow one and an infinite-dimensional stable fast complement. Motivated by this, in the proposed control scheme, Galerkin method is initially applied to the PDE system to derive an ordinary differential equation (ODE) system with unknown nonlinearities, which accurately describes the dynamics of the dominant (slow) modes of the PDE system. The resulting nonlinear ODE system is subsequently parameterized by a multilayer neural network (MNN) with one-hidden layer and zero bias terms. Then, based on the neural model and a Lure-type Lyapunov function, a linear modal feedback controller is developed to stabilize the closed-loop PDE system and provide an upper bound for the quadratic cost function associated with the finite-dimensional slow system for all admissible approximation errors of the network. The outcome of the GCC problem is formulated as a linear matrix inequality (LMI) problem. Moreover, by using the existing LMI optimization technique, a suboptimal guaranteed cost controller in the sense of minimizing the cost bound is obtained. Finally, the proposed design method is applied to the control of the temperature profile of a catalytic rod.