Edwin S. Wilsey Professor
and Aerospace Engineering
D-234 Engineering Quadrangle
Princeton, NJ 08544
For a brief profile of N.E. Leonard click here
Nonlinear control and dynamics; Coordination and control of networked multi-agent systems;
Mobile robots; Autonomous vehicles; Mobile sensor networks; Collective decision-making, collective motion, collective sensing;
Collective behavior in animal groups;
Human decision-making dynamics; Rule-based improvisational dance and music; Adaptive ocean sampling;
Underwater gliders; Underwater robotics
On the Princeton University Home Page
Select Lectures with on-line Video
Select Recent Papers
Engineering and the Arts
CST presents the inaugural Living at the Intersection Symposium on
Engineering and the Arts, April 12-13, 2018, Princeton University.
An introductory, hands-on course: STC/EGR/MUS 209:
Transformations in Engineering and the Arts. Students apply here for the spring semester.
There Might Be Others, a collaborative
dance and music performance inspired by composer Terry Riley's In C. Directed and choreographed
by Rebecca Lazier, music composed by Dan Trueman, dramaturgy by Naomi Leonard and Kayhan Ozcimder.
We explore social decision-making dynamics and adapt a model from evolutionary dynamics. Premiered at
New York Live Arts, New York City, March 2016.
Paper in Interdisciplinary Science Reviews:
Social decision-making driven by artistic explore-exploit tension
Flock Logic: A project in human collective motion.
we explore what emerges when a group of dancers/movers
works with the rules governing collective motion in animals.
In the dance studio: An art and engineering exploration of human flocking
Controls and Art: Inquiries at the Intersection of the Subjective
and the Objective
(Springer, with G.F. Young, K. Hochgraf, D. Swain, W. Chen, A. Trippe,
K. Fitch, and S. Marshall)
gave her final public oral for her PhD thesis on July 19, 2019. Her PhD thesis is
gave his final public oral for his PhD thesis on July 18, 2019. His PhD thesis is
wins President's Award for Scientific Research from the National Research Council of Sri Lanka
gave her final public oral for her PhD thesis on May 17, 2019. Her PhD thesis is
awarded an NSF Graduate Fellowship
gave his final public oral for his PhD thesis on November 9, 2018. His PhD thesis is
awarded Phillips Second Year Fellowship from the MAE Department for 2018-2019
awarded the Elliotte Robinson Little '25 Student Aid Fund Fellowship
(Graduate School), Summerfield Second Year Fellowship (MAE) for 2018-2019, and the Athena-Feron Prize (MAE)
for achievement in Mathematics
Naomi Leonard delivered the Hendrik W. Bode Prize Lecture at the IEEE Conference on
Decision and Control, Melbourne, Australia, December 15, 2017. Video is here
has won a Teaching award for Assistant in Instruction in MAE 434: Modern Control, Spring 2017 (SEAS)
and a School of Engineering and Applied
Science Award for Excellence in Fall 2018
awarded an NDSEG graduate fellowship starting September 2017.
gave his final public oral for his PhD thesis on December 16, 2016. His PhD thesis is
gave her final public oral for her PhD thesis on September 23, 2016. Her PhD thesis is
- Vaibhav Srivastava
joined the faculty of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at
Michigan State University
- Anthony Savas
awarded a Phillips Second Year Fellowship from the MAE Department for 2016-2017
for excellence in both course work and research and the Athena-Feron Prize for achievement in mathematics.
- Desmond Zhong
awarded the inaugural MAE department Second Year Fellowship for 2016-2017 for excellence in
both course work and research.
Liz Davison was awarded an NSF Graduate Fellowship.
Renato Pagliara was
awarded a Phillips Second Year Fellowship for 2015-2016, which recognizes a second-year
MAE graduate student who has demonstrated excellence in both course work and research.
Katie Fitch was awarded the Larisse Rosentweig Klein Memorial Award from the MAE Department for
2015-2016 for outstanding promise in graduate research.
Katie Fitch was awarded a Wu Prize for 2015-2016 from the Princeton School of
Engineering and Applied Science for performance at the highest level as a scholar and researcher.
awarded an NDSEG graduate fellowship starting September 2015.
Tian Shen gave her final public oral for PhD thesis on December 9, 2014. Her PhD thesis is
awarded the 2014 Crocco Award for Teaching Excellence by the Faculty of the MAE Department in
recognition of outstanding performance as an Assistant in Instruction for MAE 434 (Modern Control)
in Fall 2013.
gave his final public oral for PhD thesis on September 3, 2014. His PhD thesis is
Best student paper awarded to Paul Reverdy at the 2014 European Control Conference in Strasbourg, France for the paper:
Algorithmic models of human decision making in Gaussian multi-armed bandit problems
Robotics in the Dynamical Control Systems Lab, used to study natural and engineered multi-agent systems.
this link to videos to see single and multiple robots demonstrating frequentist and Bayesian algorithms
for spatial multi-armed bandit problems.
Video of two undergraduates describing their work on the Beluga vehicles in the
underwater robotic tank lab:
Demonstration of underwater robotic search under uncertainty using a spatial multi-armed bandit framework in a
Bayesian setting. The UCL (Upper Credibility Limit) algorithm is described
Modeling human decision-making in generalized Gaussian multi-armed bandits
Current Funded Research Projects
- Bio-inspired Scalable Collaboration of Autonomous Vehicles that
Sense, Learn, and Decide -- ONR
- Nonlinear Network Dynamics for Bio-Inspired Collective Decision-Making -- NSF
- Autonomous Mobile Robots for Managed Access Inspections -- Dept. of State
Select Past Research Projects
- Remote Imaging of Community Ecology via Animal-borne Wireless Networks -- NSF
- Coordination and Collective Decision Making -- ARO
- The Exploration-Exploitation Dilemma -- Princeton Engineering-Neuroscience Insley-Blair Fund
- Bio-Inspired Autonomous Control for Optimal Exploration and Exploitation in Marine Environments (BIO-EX) -- ONR
- Center for Human and Robot Decision Dynamics
(CHARDD) -- AFOSR
- Adaptive Sampling and Prediction (ASAP) -- ONR
The ASAP project featured a second month-long field experiment in Monterey Bay, CA in August 2006
focused on sustained, autonomous coordination of the motion of a network of underwater
gliders to maximize information in the data collected. Distributed control laws for motion patterns
were systematically derived using a methodology based on a spatial extension of coupled oscillator dynamics,
synchrony measures, and the interconnection graph.
In the field experiment, a network of gliders moved autonomously for 24 days, serving three ocean forecasting models,
and providing an unprecedented data set. See, for example,
Collective Motion, Sensor Networks and Ocean Sampling, Proceedings of the IEEE, 2007
Coordinated Control of an Underwater Glider Fleet in an Adaptive Ocean Sampling Field Experiment
in Monterey Bay, Journal of Field Robotics, 2010
- Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network II (AOSN-II) -- ONR
The AOSN-II project included a month-long field experiment featuring a network of autonomous
underwater gliders in Monterey Bay, CA, in August 2003.
The project was the first of its kind to integrate, in the field, coordinated glider control
with real-time ocean forecasting models. The project was a collaboration with a group of
oceanographers and ecologists. See, for example,
Control and Adaptive Sampling in Monterey Bay, IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering, 2006
Preparing to Predict: The Second Autonomous Ocean Sampling Network
(AOSN-II) Experiment in the Monterey Bay, Deep-Sea Research II, 2009
- MAE 206, Introduction to Engineering Dynamics
- STC/EGR/MUS 209: Transformations in Engineering and the Arts
- MAE 434 (formerly 444), Modern Control
- MAE 501, Mathematical Methods of Engineering Analysis I
- MAE 542 (formerly 560), Advanced Dynamics
- MAE 570, Optimal Control and Estimation II
- MAE 545 (formerly 573), Nonlinear Control
- ELE 523/MAE 548, Nonlinear Systems Theory
- Short Course on Cooperative
Control and Mobile Sensor Networks, University of Pisa, 18-20 April, 2007
- MAE 549, Geometric Mechanics
- MAT 199, Math
Module 5, "Geometry and Motion Control in Biology and Robotics", Spring