Control and Optimization

Control and Optimization

Feedback control systems involves the use of feedback from sensors that inform a decision or algorithm that enables a process to achieve a desired outcome. Optimization seeks to maximize or minimize a user defined cost function. Often these fields are combined to form optimal control which involves determining the best action or decision to maximize or minimize a reward. Complexity in these domains arise when the governing dynamic models are high dimension, nonlinear, or contain uncertainty. Additional challenges arise when feedback is limited, erroneous, or needs to be protected. Such challenges arise in single processes and can be exacerbated when distributed across a network of processes. Control and optimization methods cut across almost every domain of our society with impacts in all disciplines of engineering, including societal impacts such as how we grow and gather food, how we power our homes, how all forms of transportation get us from point A to point B, how we communicate through networks, how we provide healthcare, and how we explore our universe. Several reports on the societal impacts of control can be found here.

Areas of Excellence

  • Adaptive & Learning Control
  • Differential Privacy
  • Flow Control
  • Model Predictive Control
  • Network Control
  • Nonlinear Control
  • Optimal Control
  • Optimal Estimation
  • Robust Control


  • Autonomy Park – The University of Florida Autonomy Park is an instrument for the investigation, characterization, validation, and verification of heterogeneous networks of multi-agent autonomous systems operating in contested environments.
  • HiPerGator -The University of Florida supercomputer is a cluster that includes the latest generation of processors and offers nodes for memory-intensive computation.

Associated Centers and Institutes

Related Faculty

Dr. Scott Banks Courtesy Professor
(352) 392-6109

Professor Banks has been active in orthopaedic and joint mechanics research his entire career. He is a member of several professional societies including ASME, the Knee Society, the American Society for Biomechanics and the Orthopaedic Research Society. Professor Banks served as President and annual conference host for the International Society for Technology in Arthroplasty in 2013, and remains a member of the Board of Directors.…

Dr. Prabir Barooah Courtesy Professor
(352) 294-0411

Professor Barooah received his Ph.D. in 2007 from the University of California, Santa Barbara. From 1999 to 2002 he was a research engineer at United Technologies Research Center, East Hartford, CT. He received the M. S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 1999 and the B.Tech degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1996.…

Dr. Jonathan T. Brooks Instructional Assistant Professor
(352) 294-0472

B.S., 2012, University of Florida,M.S., 2013, University of Florida,Ph.D., 2017, University of Florida
Professional Memberships and Fellowships
American Society of Engineering Education, Member
Teaching Interests
Numerical methods, control systems, and optimization.

Dr. John W. Conklin Knox Millsaps Associate Professor
(352) 392-0614

John Conklin is an Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida. He joined the UF faculty in 2012 after a three-year research associateship at the W.W. Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory at Stanford. He received his BS and MEng degrees from Cornell and PhD from Stanford in 2009. In 2011, John was the Fulbright Junior Lecturer at the University of Trento in Italy.…

Dr. Carl D. Crane, III Professor
(352) 392-9461

Carl D. Crane is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Director of the Center for Intelligent Machines and Robotics (CIMAR) at the University of Florida.  He received his B.S. and M.E. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1978 and 1979.  Following this he spent five years as an officer in the Army Corps of Engineers.…

Dr. Warren Dixon Dean’s Leadership Professor and Department Chair
(352) 846-1463

Prof. Warren Dixon received his Ph.D. in 2000 from Clemson University. He worked as a research staff member and Eugene P. Wigner Fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) until 2004, when he joined the University of Florida in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, where he is now an Ebaugh Professor and Department Chair. His main research interest has been the development and application of Lyapunov-based control techniques for uncertain nonlinear systems.…

Dr. Eric Du MAE Affiliate Faculty / Associate Professor in Civil and Coastal Engineering
(352) 294-6619

Dr. Eric Jing Du is an associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, and MAE’s affiliate and graduate faculty. Before joining University of Florida in January 2019, he was a faculty member at Texas A&M University, and a senior production analyst at Zachry Industrial in San Antonio, TX. His primary area of research is human-robot collaboration for complex industrial operations.…

Dr. James Fairbanks MAE Affiliate Faculty / Assistant Professor in Computer & Information Science & Engineering

James Fairbanks, Ph.D., earned his B.S. in Mathematics at the University of Florida and his Ph.D at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Computational Science and Engineering. He studied under the supervision of Professor David A. Bader, while supported by the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship.

He then worked at the Georgia Tech Research Institute on Data Analysis and High Performance Computing as applied to scientific computing and data science problems in healthcare.…

Dr. Norman G. Fitz-coy Associate Professor
(352) 392-1029

Ph.D., 1990, Auburn University
Professional Memberships and Fellowships
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Member
Research Interests
Dynamics and control of multibody systems, game theory, orbital dynamics, flight mechanics.

Dr. Jie Fu MAE Affiliate Faculty / Assistant Professor in Electrical & Computer Engineering

Dr. Jie Fu received the M.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering and Automaton from Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China, in 2009, and the Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA, in 2013. From 2013 to 2015, she was a Postdoctoral Scholar with the University of Pennsylvania. From 2016-2021, she was an Assistant Professor with the Department of Robotics Engineering, Worcester, MA.…

Dr. Mike Griffis Senior Lecturer and Undergraduate Coordinator
(352) 392-9473

After 20 years in the robotics industry, Mike came back to UF to teach the design courses.
1991 Ph.D. University of Florida
1988 MSME University of Florida
1985 BSME University of Florida
Professional Memberships and Fellowships
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Member
Teaching Interests
Design, Kinematics, Statics, Numerical Methods
Research Interests
Kinematics, Statics, Screw Theory

Dr. Dan Guralnik Research Assistant Scientist
(352) 294-1191

Dan Guralnik received his Ph.D. from the Technion-IIT Mathematics department in 2005, specializing in Geometric Group Theory. After post-doctoral appointments at Vanderbilt University and University of Oklahoma, where he worked on asymptotic geometry and boundary dynamics of discrete groups, he moved in 2011 to a post-doctoral appointment at KodLab, the legged locomotion laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, to start work on applications of topology and category theory to problems of knowledge representation in the context of navigation and control.…

Dr. Matthew T. Hale Associate Professor
(352) 294-0436

Matthew Hale received his BSE summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and received his MS and PhD from Georgia Tech. His work is driven by designing and analyzing multi-agent coordination algorithms that function well under challenging conditions, such as asynchronous information sharing, noisy communications, and user privacy requirements. His work deploys these algorithms on teams of flying and ground robots, providing both validation of the underlying theory and further research directions.…

Dr. Peter G. Ifju MAE Excellence Term Professor
(352) 392-6744

Ph.D., 1992, Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Research Interests
Experimental mechanics, moire interferometry, compositie materials, micro air vehicles.
Professional Memberships and Fellowships
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Member
Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Member

Dr. Richard C. Lind Associate Professor
(352) 392-6745

Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering, 1995, University of Minnesota
Professional Memberships and Fellowships
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Member
Research Interests
aeroservoelasticity, morphing, controls, flight testing

Dr. Amor A. Menezes Assistant Professor
(352) 294-0470

Amor A. Menezes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, an affiliate of the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering, an affiliate of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and a member of the Institute for Cell & Tissue Science and Engineering at the University of Florida. His group applies dynamical systems theory and control engineering methods in the fields of systems biology and synthetic biology.…

Dr. Patrick Musgrave Assistant Professor

Dr. Patrick Musgrave received his PhD from Virginia Tech in 2018 and BSc & BSE from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. Dr. Musgrave’s research focuses on adaptive and morphing systems operating in fluidic environments, in particular systems subject to dynamic fluid-structure interactions. These systems are inherently multi-physical and sit at the intersection of structures, hydro/aerodynamics, mechatronics, smart materials, and controls.…

Dr. Alicia Petersen Assistant Professor
(352) 392-3496

Alicia Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) at the University of Florida. Through data analysis, instrumentation and modeling, Dr. Petersen researches the kinetic physics, magnetism and dynamics at play during the transit and interaction of space weather phenomena in the inner solar system, their impacts on spacecraft, and strategies for mitigating the impacts of space weather.…

Dr. Christopher “Chrispy” Petersen Assistant Professor
(352) 273-2004

Dr. Christopher “Chrispy” Petersen is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) Department at the University of Florida. His research interests lie in anything related to space guidance, navigation, control, and autonomy, with particular focus of making techniques real-time implementable and usable for operators. While all of space interests him, his research mostly is concerned with Rendezvous, Proximity Operations, and Docking (RPOD) and any satellite in the eXtra Geostationary (XGEO) regime (above geostationary orbit, to the Moon, and beyond).…

Dr. Anil V. Rao University Term Professor
(352) 392-5523

Professor Rao earned his Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University, his M.S.E. in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan, and his B.S. in mechanical engineering and A.B. in mathematics from Cornell University.  Professor Rao’s research interests lie in the area of control and optimization of space and air vehicles and combine the development of new computational methods for optimal control with novel applications including space mission planning, performance optimization of atmospheric flight vehicles, and other vehicular control problems (for example, high performance ground and underwater vehicles). …

Prof. Shannon Ridgeway Instructional Assistant Professor
Dr. Subrata Roy Professor
(352) 392-9823

Professor Subrata Roy studies ionized gas physics and its various applications: (1) Atmospheric plasma actuators for flow mixing, propulsion, and turbulent flow control; (2) Hypersonic flows; (3) Space propulsion; and (4) Hydrodynamic models for micro and nanofluidics by incorporating Knudsen’s theory. Prof. Roy is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), a Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, a Fellow of the ASME, and an Associated Fellow of the AIAA.…

Dr. John K. Schueller Professor
(352) 392-0822

Prof. John K. Schueller received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1983. He is a generalist with some concentration in manufacturing and in off-highway vehicles and equipment. He is a Fellow of ASABE, IAABE, and SAE and holds Founder, Life, and/or Senior Member status in ASME, EurAgEng, IEEE, ISAE, and SME. Prof. Schueller is the Chair Editor-in-Chief of Computers and Electronics in Agriculture and serves on the Management Committee of the Club of Bologna.…

Dr. Jane Jaejeong Shin Assistant Professor

Jane Shin is an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Florida. She received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University and the B.S. degree in Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering from Seoul National University.
During her PhD, she closely collaborated with the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Panama City (NSWC PCD) on developing novel information-driven sensor path planning algorithms for underwater multi-target classification using side-scan sonar sensors.…

Dr. Lawrence S. Ukeiley Professor and Associate Chair of Academic Programs
(352) 392-9459

Lawrence Ukeiley is currently a Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Florida. His primary research interests are in experimental fluid dynamics and turbulence as related to flow control, aeroacoustics, fluid structure interactions and the development of low order models. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Alfred University in 1989 and his MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University in 1992 and 1996 respectively.…

Dr. Yu Wang Assistant Professor

Yu Wang is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida (UF) and the Group Lead of Autonomous and Connected Vehicles of the UF Transportation Institute. He was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and M.S.…

Dr. Peter Wass Research Scientist
(352) 392-6746

Professional Memberships and Fellowships
American Physical Society, Member

Dr. Gloria J. Wiens Associate Professor
(352) 392-0806

Professor Wiens is currently conducting research in the area of human-robot collaboration for smart factory, integrating AI with robot control in providing augmented intelligence of robots interacting with humans, other robots and machines. She has also been conducting research in the areas of intelligent and autonomous robotic systems, innovative mechanisms and controls for automation, space robotics/small satellites, manufacturing and micro-electro-mechanical systems.…