Nonlinear Controls and Robotics

Doctoral Students


Caleb Bowyer

Caleb Bowyer is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Hampden-Sydney college with a major in Applied Physics and minors in Math and Astronomy. His research interests are in the areas of control and communications. He is currently working as a member of Team GatorWings to develop reinforcement learning solutions for optimizing spectrum usage in the DARPA Spectrum Collaboration Challenge.
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Joseph Choi

Joseph is a fourth-year PhD computer engineering student. His research interests involve privacy-preserving computing: investigating the current state-of-the-art, determining the challenges to deployment, and looking to both existing and emerging hardware technologies for making privacy-preserving computing more tractable where alternative techniques grounded in strong cryptography are at times prohibitively slow. Joseph received his BS degree from the University of Miami.


Davide Costigliola

Davide Costigliola is investigating relative navigation and control for spacecraft at the University of Florida under the supervision of Dr. Bevilacqua. In particular , he is interested in stereovision-based pose and inertia estimation of unknown and uncooperative space objects. He has an undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Rome "La Sapienza" (2016), and was part of "Sapienza Space Team" (2018), dealing with the ground station segment.
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Washington Garcia

Washington is a second-year PhD student. His research focus is on the security and privacy of machine learning with particular interest in adversarial machine learning, generative modeling, explainable AI, and the application of machine learning to system security.
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Mahsa Ghasemi

Mahsa Ghasemi is a Ph.D. student at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include artificial intelligence, control systems, and formal methods. She is currently working on design of task-oriented perception and control strategies in partially-known environments.
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Max Greene

Max Greene earned his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 2018. As an undergraduate, Max interned for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the Satellite Servicing Projects Division. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with a focus on reinforcement learning and optimization under the supervision of Dr. Warren Dixon.
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Marcello Guarro

Marcello Guarro is a third year Computer Engineering Graduate Student at University of California, Santa Cruz. In 2010, he received a B.S. in Applied Physics with a Minor in Italian Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Marcello was a Research Associate at the Bay Area Environmental Institute and a Systems Integration Engineer at Daimier Trucks North America. His research interests lie in the scope of mechatronics, control systems for automotive transmissions, and robotics. Marcello has a particular interest in autonomous systems and the design of mechatronic systems for automotive and aerospace applications.
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Calvin Hawkins

Calvin Hawkins is a PhD student at the University of Florida under the advisement of Dr. Hale. He received his Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Wayne State University in May, 2019. His current research interests are broadly in the area of privacy in control, with an emphasis on bringing differential privacy to new classes of data typically used by control systems and quantifying the effects of privacy upon feedback.
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Grant Hernandez

Grant is a fourth-year PhD student with research interests in binary analysis, firmware verification, reverse engineering, and systems security. His research focus is the automating the analysis of binary firmware. Grant is active in the UF SIT security group and has organized many security events including the popular SwampCTF event that had over 1,000 participants this year. Grant received his BS degree from the University of Central Florida.
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Hyejin Han

Hyejin Han is a PhD student in the Department of Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She was a researcher at the Center of Human-centered Interaction for Coexistence (CHIC), Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) and received master’s degree in the Intelligent Convergence Systems from Seoul National University, Rep. of Korea in 2013. Her dissertation topic is singularity and joint limit avoidance algorithm for operational space control, and her work develops the continuous task transition algorithm for whole-body dynamic control. Her research interests lie in the areas of hybrid control approach for multi-robot manipulation and Linear Temporal Logic (LTL) specifications for hybrid dynamical systems.
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Dawn Hustig-Schultz

Dawn Hustig-Schultz received her B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of California, Davis in 2014 and her M.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2017. Her Master's thesis topic involved using genetic machine learning algorithms for whole-body control of robots composed of both rigid and soft materials, with many degrees of freedom. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with the Hybrid Systems Laboratory. Her research interests include: hybrid systems, optimization, and accelerated gradient descent methods.
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Axton Isaly

Axton Isaly graduated from the University of Florida in 2019 with a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. He has conducted research related to developing autonomous control systems for unmanned aerial systems. He is pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Dixon with a research focus on intermittent feedback control systems.
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Ryan Johnson

Ryan S. Johnson received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2014 and 2017, respectively. From 2014 to 2018, he worked at Moog Aircraft Group as a Systems Engineer for the Airbus A350, Gulfstream G600, and special programs. In 2018, he interned at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a Flight Systems Engineer for the NISAR spacecraft. His research interests include modeling, stability, observer design, model-predictive control, and simulation of hybrid systems with applications to aerospace, robotics, and power systems. His current research project aims to develop a hybrid control algorithm which permits operation of a DC to DC boost converter circuit under uncertainty in the circuit parameters.
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Duc (Daniel) Le

Daniel Le attended the University of Florida where he received a dual bachelor's degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the fall of 2018. As an undergraduate, Daniel interned for the Naval Surface Warfare Center in the Unmanned Systems division. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on nonlinear control methods for stochastic systems under the supervision of Dr. Warren Dixon.
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Santiago Jimenez Leudo

Santiago Jimenez-Leudo received his B.S. Degrees in Electronic Engineering and Mechanical Engineering in 2014 and his M.S. Degree in Electronic and Computer Engineering in 2017, both from University of Los Andes, Colombia. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Computer Engineering and Robotics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was an instructor professor at University of Los Andes in 2018-2019, and was also a fellow of the control research group GIAP. He is currently a graduate fellow of the Hybrid Systems Laboratory at University of California, Santa Cruz. His research interests include: hybrid and nonlinear control systems, differential games, multi-agent systems, and their applications to robotic networks, UAVs and biological systems. Santiago is a recipient of the Fullbright Scholarship for high level skills in Information Technologies-Robotics, 2018.
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Xusheng Luo

Xusheng Luo received his bachelor’s degree in flight vehicle design and engineering and a master’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical science and technology from Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China in 2015 and 2017, respectively. Now he is pursing his Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering at Duke University. His research focuses on formal methods, control synthesis, robot motion planning and machine learning.


Joshua Marker

Joshua Marker is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Florida Atlantic University. His research interests include communication networks, graph theory, and machine learning. He is currently developing techniques for detection of bottlenecks in networks of networks.


Tristan Newman

Tristan Newman has earned a bachelor's degree in nuclear engineering, a master's degree in aerospace engineering, and currently seeks to earn his doctorate in aerospace engineering, all from the University of Florida. His primary area of research is the design and application of nonlinear state estimation and controls systems. For his doctorate, Tristan is working with Dr. Fitz-Coy to understand how swarms of camera-equipped satellites may identify and track objects and debris in low Earth orbit. His previous research portfolio includes design of nonlinear control systems, complex behavior emergent from simple dynamical systems, and applied state estimation. He also teaches mathematics at Santa Fe College.
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Pegah Ojaghi

Pegah Ojaghi is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She received her B.S. in Control Engineering from Hamedan University of Technology, and her M.S. in Control Engineering from the Imam Khomeini International University, Iran in 2015. Her research interests include: hybrid systems, model predictive control, machine learning and artificial intelligence, robust control, nonlinear systems, stability analysis, and control of power systems.
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Omkar Patil

Omkar Patil graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi in 2018 with a bachelor's degree in Production and Industrial Engineering. After graduation, he worked as a project associate at the Control & Automation Lab, IIT Delhi, on a sponsored project entitled 'Aerial Manipulation - Modeling, Planning and Control'. He is pursuing a PhD under the supervision of Dr. Dixon with broad research interests in nonlinear control, adaptive control and switched systems theory.
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Camilo Riano-Rios

Camilo Riano-Rios is a PhD student at the University of Florida. He received his M.Sc in Mechatronics engineering (2012) and his Bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering (2010) from Universidad Militar Nueva Granada, Bogotá-Colombia; in 2017 Camilo received a Fulbright Scholarship for his PhD studies. Camilo’s research interests are control for autonomous spacecraft systems, multi-agent systems, artificial intelligence and robotics.
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Kavinayan Sivakumar

Kavinayan Sivakumar received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 2018 and is now pursuing his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering at Duke University. His research interests include multi-agent robotics, learning, control, and artificial intelligence.


Runhan Sun

Runhan Sun received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2015 from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2018 from the University of Florida. His research interests include nonlinear controls, switch systems controls, and vision-based control systems. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Dixon.
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Dave (Jing) Tian

Dave is a final year PhD student working in trustworthy computing, device security, and systems security. He has published extensively at the top conferences in computer security and will be starting at Purdue University this fall as an Assistant Professor in Computer Science.


Matthew Ubl

Matthew Ubl is a PhD student at the University of Florida under the advisement of Dr. Hale. He received his Bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Central Florida in May, 2018. His current research interests are in asynchronous multi-agent coordination, with particular focus upon multi-agent optimization with impaired and unreliable communications.
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Nan Wang

Nan Wang received his B.S. degree in Automation Science and Engineering from the East China University of Science and Technology, China, in 2015. He received his M.S. degree in Control Theory and Engineering from the Tongji University, China, in 2018. Nan is currently a Ph.D student in Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz with Hybrid Systems Laboratory. His primary research interests include: motion planning for hybrid systems, motion planning and decision making for autonomous systems.
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Tyler Ward

Tyler Ward is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Florida. He graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida. His research interests include nonlinear control theory, autonomous vehicles, image processing and classification, machine learning, and software-defined radio. He is currently conducting research engaged on localization of RF sources using reinforcement learning techniques, and is also a member of Team GatorWings, a team that has already won $1.5 million in the ongoing DARPA Spectrum Collaboration Challenge.
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Kasra Yazdani

Kasra Yazdani received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Shiraz University in May 2015. He is currently pursuing his PhD in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida under the supervision of Dr. Hale. Kasra's research interests include control theory, distributed optimization, reinforcement learning, and differential privacy with applications in robotics and network systems.
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Federico Zegers

Federico Zegers attended the University of Florida where he earned two B.S. degrees in the spring of 2016: one in mechanical engineering and another in mathematics. He is currently pursuing a PhD in mechanical engineering under the guidance of Dr. Warren Dixon. Federico's research interests lie in nonlinear control theory, network control systems theory, switch systems theory, and graph theory.
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Yegeta Zeleke

Yegeta Zeleke is originally from Ethiopia and he finished his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz, double majoring in Computer Engineering and Robotics Engineering. He is currently a 3rd year Ph.D. student advised by Professor Ricardo Sanfelice. His research is on design of cyber-physical systems that utilize hybrid control to switch between models whose accuracy is impacted by their computational burden. In particular, Yegeta’s research focuses on the modeling analysis and design of CPS that utilizes predictive methods for trajectory synthesis under static and dynamical constraints. This research can be applied to multiple areas, ranging from the automotive industry to the video game industry. In recent work, Yegeta used the techniques developed for control system to be applied to action video games such as Flappybird and Mario. The application is broad by which we can apply this system in safety critical systems such as robotics and drones, medical systems, such as insulin monitoring system, chemical and mining industries and the like. The interdisciplinary aspect of Yegeta’s research is the fact that it can be applied to multiple areas - ranging from the automotive industry to the video game industry.
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Yan Zhang

Yan Zhang received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China in 2014 and a mater’s degree in mechanical engineering at Duke University, Durham, NC in 2016. Now he is pursuing his Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering focusing on robotics at Duke University. His research interests include optimization algorithms for distributed systems, specifically for distributed machine learning, decentralized estimation and control.


William Warke

William Warke received his Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from LeTourneau University in 2014, and is currently pursuing his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Florida with a concentration in Dynamics, Systems, and Control. He will be continuing on to the Ph.D. program in fall 2019 under the advisement of Dr. Matthew Hale as a member of the Control, Optimization, and Robotics Engineering (CORE) Lab. His research interests include estimation and control of autonomous vehicles and distributed, multi-agent optimization.
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Nathan Wu

NNathan Wu is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of California Santa Cruz, under the supervision of Professor Ricardo Sanfelice. He received a B.S. in 2018 and a M.S. in 2019, both in Electrical Engineering and from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research interests include hybrid systems, machine learning, and parameter estimation for closed loop systems.
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Masoumeh Ghanbarpour

Masoumeh Ghanbarpour received two Bachelor's degrees in Applied Math and Electrical Engineering from Iran. She obtained her master's degree in Communication Engineering from RWTH-Aachen University, Germany. For her master thesis, she worked on the collision avoidance system using MPC. She is currently pursuing her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Sanfelice with research interests in Safety, and Stability of Nonlinear Systems, Convex Optimization, Robotics, Learning Control, Stochastic Systems and Control of Uncertainties , and Power Systems
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Iman Nodozi

Iman Nodozi is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research interests include Hybrid Systems, Convex Optimization, Nonlinear Systems, Adaptive Control, Optimal Control, Robust Control, Linear Matrix Inequality, and Phase-Locked Loops. He holds a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, Control, from Imam Khomeini International University, Iran. For the Master Thesis, he worked on “Nonlinear Hybrid Systems Control via Linear Matrix Inequalities.” Now, he is working under the supervision of Professor Ricardo Sanfelice.
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David Kooi

David Kooi is a Ph.D. student at the University of California Santa Cruz where he works with the Hybrid Systems lab. In 2020 he received his M.S. degree in Electrical and Computer engineering where his thesis focused on safe self-triggered control strategies. He received his B.S in Computer engineering from the same university in 2018. During the summers of 2014 - 2018 he worked at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory with the Small Scale Flight Software Group working on auto-coding systems for ground and flight software. His research interests include hybrid systems, event and self triggered control, formal methods, and motion planning.
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Sage Edwards

Sage Edwards graduated from Youngstown State University (YSU) in the spring of 2019 with a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Physics. As an undergraduate, Sage interned at LG Fuel Cell Systems and worked in Dr. Tom Oder’s Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Lab at YSU. Sage is currently pursuing a PhD in mechanical engineering, with a focus on nonlinear controls under the supervision of Dr. warren Dixon.
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Yagiz Savas

Yagiz Savas joined the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin as a Ph.D. student in Fall 2017. He received his B.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Bogazici University in 2017. He is broadly interested in designing autonomous systems that operate in uncertain environments with provable safety and performance guarantees. His recent research focuses on the theoretical and algorithmic aspects of sequential decision-making in the presence of adversaries through novel connections between controls, information theory, and formal methods.
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Murat Cubuktepe

Murat Cubuktepe is a Ph.D. student at The University of Texas at Austin. His research is on the theoretical and algorithmic aspects of the design and verification of autonomous systems. He is currently working on verification and synthesis in uncertain and dynamic environments, synthesis of heterogeneous multi-agent systems, and designing human-autonomy systems with realistic cognitive models.
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Anirban Bhattacharya

Anirban Bhattacharya is a Ph.D. student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Florida. He completed his BS degree from the Jadavpur University, India, with a major in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering. His research interests are in the areas of communications, machine learning, and control. He is currently applying reinforcement learning to problems involving RF sensing in the context of pursuit and evasion.
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Parham Gohari

Parham Gohari is pursuing a Ph.D. in electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include safety and privacy in autonomous systems. He is under the supervision of Dr. Ufuk Topcu and works closely with Dr. Matthew Hale from the University of Florida. Prior to his graduate studies, Parham attended Sharif University of Technology where he received his B.Sc. also in electrical engineering.
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Spencer Hallyburton

Spencer Hallyburton is a Ph.D. student in Duke University’s Cyber Physical Systems Lab. Prior to his doctoral studies, he was a navigation engineer at Draper developing next-generation secure and assured navigation and control algorithms for the defense industry, including as a part of R-EGI and derivatives of DARPA Fast-Lightweight-Autonomy. His research pursuits include resilient perception, assured autonomy, and learning-based GNC algorithms. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University in physics.
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Anne French

Captain Anne French is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke University and is a member of both the Humans and Autonomy Lab and the Cyber Physical Systems Lab at Duke. Captain French is a cyber warfare officer in the United States Air Force and was one of three Air Force officers selected to begin earning a Ph.D. in a STEM field of study at a civilian institution during the Fall 2020 semester. Her research interests include machine learning and human-autonomous system collaboration. She holds a Master of Science in computer science from the University of Washington, and two Bachelor of Science degrees from Austin Peay State University: one in mathematics and another in computer science.
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Alper Bozkurt

Alper Kamil Bozkurt is a Ph.D. student in computer science at Duke University and a member of CPSL@Duke. His research interests focus on High-Assurance Design of Autonomous Systems, AI, Reinforcement Learning, Cyber-Physical Systems.
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Amir Khazrei

Amir Khazraei received his B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology in 2014 and M.Sc degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2017 from the University of Tehran. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Pajic at Duke University. His research focuses on attack resilient cyber-physical systems, control theory and machine learning
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Mahmoud Elfar

Mahmoud Elfar is a Ph.D. student in computer engineering at Duke University and a member of CPSL@Duke. His research interests include using formal methods and model checking techniques to build human-centric cyber-physical systems. Prior to his doctoral studies, he worked in the industry in research and development, embedded software engineering, and product design.
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