Leonard Honored for Work on Control of Robotic Groups

By John Sullivan
December 21, 2016

 

Naomi LeonardNaomi Ehrich Leonard, the Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, has been awarded the IEEE's 2017 Hendrik W. Bode Lecture Prize.

The award, given by the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers’ Control Systems Society, recognizes Leonard's contribution to the field of control systems particularly involving multi-agent groups both in robotics and in the natural world.

Frank Doyle, dean of the Scool of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University and the president of the IEEE Control Systems Society, said in a letter announcing the award that Leonard's work "has had both fundamental and practical impact on the field of control systems, including the development of new understanding of how collective motion, collective sensing and collective decision making affect the behavior of groups of individuals interacting with themselves and their environment."

Leonard, who also is an associated faculty member of the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics, is the director of Princeton’s Council on Science and Technology. She joined the Princeton faculty in 1994. She received a BSE in mechanical engineering from Princeton and PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland.

Leonard's primary field of research is control and dynamical systems. Her research includes the design of robotic teams, analysis of the behavior of animal and human groups and the development of mathematical approaches to understand complex group behavior. Leonard has applied her findings to a wide range of projects: she led the development of a system of undersea robots that travel and collect scientific data about the ocean; she also co-created Flock Logic, a performance project that explores what happens when dancers follow mathematical rules used to model groups of flocking birds.

Among other honors, Leonard was a MacArthur Fellow and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the IEEE, the International Federation of Automatic Control, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

As part of the award, Leonard is scheduled to deliver the plenary Bode Lecture at the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control in Melbourne in December, 2017.