Home Research CSM Editorials Background Class Materials Awards


Richard Cockburn Maclaurin
Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Aerospace Controls Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Email: jhow@mit.edu

Office: 31-233 Map, MIT, 77 Mass. Ave., Cambridge MA 02139
Phone: 617-253-3267 and Fax: 617-253-7397

For administrative assistance, please contact Britton 'Bryt' Bradley at (617) 253-6583

Decentralized Planning using Macro-actions: Dec-POSMDP Hardware Experiments
Chance Constrained RRT - exploring solution using overhead projector system
Variable Pitch Quadrotor designed for agile/inverted flight (hi-res)
Tutorial on quadrotor flight control - video made for MIT, now used by Kahn Academy
Controlling Self Driving Cars - tutorial on PID control
Battery change/recharge station enabling persistent autonomous quadrotor flight

Research Interests

Current Research Projects
Google Scholar page
Papers Available for Download
My Research Group

IEEE Control Systems Magazine Editorials

2015February Benchmarks
AprilTop Equations in the Field
JuneShared Responsibility for Reviewing Papers
AugustMeeting Etiquette
OctoberAutonomy Technology Road Maps
DecemberThe First Year as EIC
2016FebruaryConference Presentations
AprilHuman-Autonomy Teaming
JuneIron Ring
AugustIEEE Control Systems Society Enrollment
OctoberTechnical Surprises
DecemberEnd-of-Year Summary
AprilLetters of Reference
JuneOpen Review Process
AugustResearch Cycles
OctoberFuture Directions in Control
DecemberEnd-of-Year Summary
2018FebruaryGetting Involved in the IEEE Control Systems Society
AprilFuture Controls Courses
JuneEthically Aligned Design
AugustControl Systems Reproducibility Challenge
OctoberNew STEM and Engineering Education Paradigms
DecemberEnd-of-Year Summary
2019FebruaryClimate, Culture, and Consequences of Sexual Harassment in Science and Engineering
AprilWhy do Experiments?
JuneThoughts on Mentoring the Research Process
AugustControl Education
OctoberTechnical Writing
DecemberEnd of Year Summary and Farewell

Background and Positions

7/09 -
Richard C. Maclaurin Professor MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
7/07 - 6/09
Professor, MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
4/00 - 7/07
Associate Professor, MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (tenured 2003)
4/00 - 12/02
Consulting Professor, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University
9/94 - 3/00
Assistant Professor, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University,
in the Aerospace Robotics Laboratory
1/93 - 9/94 
Postdoctoral Associate, Space Engineering Research Center 
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT
2/90 - 1/93 
Ph.D., Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT 
Robust Control Design with Real Parameter Uncertainty using Absolute Stability Theory
9/87 - 2/90 
S.M., Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT 
Local Control Design Methodologies for a Hierarchic Control Architecture.
9/83 - 6/87 
B.A.Sc., Engineering Science (Aerospace), University of Toronto.

Class Materials Available for Download

Feedback Control Systems (2010 On Stellar)
Stochastic Estimation & Control (2009 On Stellar)
Principles of Optimal Control (2008 OCW) and (2009 On Stellar)
Aircraft Stability & Control (OCW)
Aerospace Dynamics (OCW)

Selected Honors

2021 Elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE)
2018 Elevated to IEEE Fellow
2016 Elevated to AIAA Fellow
2020 IEEE CSS Distinguished Member Award
2022 Inducted into the University of Toronto Engineering Hall of Distinction
2022 Honorable mention (top 5) for the 2021 IEEE Transactions on Robotics King-Sun Fu Memorial Best Paper Award
2022 Editors’ Top 5 Selections for articles published in IEEE Access in 2021
2022 Selected to present AIAA Scitech Intelligent Autonomy Keynote
2020 Amazon ML Research Award
2020 Selected to present AIAA SciTech Guidance, Navigation, and Control Keynote
2020 Honorable Mention for paper award in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
2020 Selected to present the semi-plenary at the 59th IEEE CDC
2020 Winner, ICRA Best Paper Award in Service Robotics
2020 Elected to the Board of Governors of the IEEE Control System Society
2020 AIAA Intelligent Systems Award
2019 Winner, IROS Best Paper Award on Cognitive Robotics sponsored by KROS
2019 Finalist, IROS Best Paper Award on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics in memory of Motohiro Kisoi
2019 AUVSI XCELLENCE Humanitarian Award (joint with NASA)
2019 Co-author for Outstanding Student Paper Honorable Mention at AAAI-19.
2018 Finalist for ICRA Best Multi-Robot Systems Paper Award
2017 Department of the Air Force Commander's Public Service Award
2017 Co-author for Winner of IROS Best Student Paper Award
2017 Finalist for IROS Best Paper Award on Cognitive Robotics
2017 Finalist for ICRA Best Multi-Robot Systems Paper Award
2015 AeroLion Technologies Outstanding Paper Award for Journal Unmanned Systems given for paper A. N. Kopeikin, S. S. Ponda, L. B. Johnson, J. P. How, Dynamic Mission Planning for Communication Control in Multiple Unmanned Aircraft Teams, Unmanned Systems, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2013) 41-58.
2015 First place in the Second IEEE Control Systems Society Video Clip Contest
2015 Finalist for best paper award at RSS 2015
2015 Best paper in NIPS workshop on multiagent systems
2015 Finalist for ``Best project in 2015'' award from the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Advanced Concepts Committee
2014 AIAA Intelligent Systems best paper presented at the 2013 AIAA Infotech@Aerospace conference (''Robust Trajectory Planning for Autonomous Parafoils under Wind Uncertainty'' by Luders et al.).
2013 AIAA Best Paper Award from 2012 Guidance Navigation and Control Conference by the AIAA Guidance, Navigation and Control Technical Committee. (``Experimental demonstration of efficient multi-agent learning and planning for persistent missions in uncertain environments'' by N. Ure et al.)
2013 Finalist for the Best Cognitive Robotics Paper Award at ICRA for paper ``Reinforcement Learning with Misspecified Model Classes'' by J. Joseph et al.
2012 Recipient of the AIAA Best Paper Award from the 2011 Guidance Navigation and Control Conference by the AIAA Guidance, Navigation and Control Technical Committee for the paper ``Decentralized Information-Rich Planning and Hybrid Sensor Fusion for Uncertainty Reduction in Human-Robot Missions'' by S. Ponda et al.
2011 Best Applications paper published in Automatica over the past three years for paper H.L. Choi and J.P. How ``Continuous trajectory planning of mobile sensors for informative forecasting,'' Vol. 46, Issue 8, Pages 1266-1275
2011 National Instruments Graphical System Design Achievement Award (Education category)
2009 Appointed Richard Cockburn Maclaurin Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT
2009 Boeing Special Invention award
2008 Raymond L. Bisplinghoff Fellow for MIT Aero/Astro Department
2003 Institute of Navigation Burka Award to recognize outstanding achievement in the preparation of papers contributing to the advancement of navigation and space guidance.
2000-2002 Boeing Associate Professor
1997-1999 Charles Lee Powell Faculty Scholar
1995  NASA Certificate of Appreciation for MACE on STS-67
1994-1997 Davis Faculty Scholar in the School of Engineering, Stanford University
1987-1991  The 1967 Science and Engineering Fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Other Interesting Jobs

Design, implementation, and analysis of robust controllers for the Middeck Active Control Experiment (MACE) flown on STS-67 March 2-16, 1995 
Litton Systems of Canada Ltd., Toronto (1987)
Boeing Aircraft, Dehavilland Division, Toronto, Canada (1986)
Atlantis Flight Research, Woodbridge, Canada (1985)