Model-based Embedded and Robotic Systems Group




brianBrian Williams

Brian Williams received his S.B., S.M and Ph.D. from MIT in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in 1989. He pioneered multiple fault, model-based diagnosis in the 80′s through the GDE and Sherlock systems at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, and model-based autonomy in the 90′s through the Livingstone model-based health management and the Burton model-based execution systems. At the NASA Ames Research Center from 1994 to 99 he formed the Autonomous Systems Area, and co-invented the Remote Agent model-based autonomous control system, which received a NASA Space Act Award in 1999. He was a member of the NASA Deep Space One probe flight team, which used remote agent to create the first fully autonomous, self-repairing explorer, demonstrated in flight in 1999.


Research Affiliate

richard camilliRichard Camilli

Richard Camilli is an Associate Scientist with Tenure in the Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). In 2003 he received his PhD in Environmental Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was the recipient of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers Graduate Paper Award for his work in developing autonomous underwater vehicle technologies. In 2004 he was selected as a WHOI Deep Ocean Exploration Institute Postdoctoral Scholar. His interests include field robotics and payload sensor development for in-situ environmental monitoring and pollution mitigation. He has participated in over thirty oceanographic expeditions throughout the world, and has led numerous offshore oil spill cleanup operations, including several in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Much of his scientific research is focused on developing advanced technologies for observing carbon transport and transformation in the marine subsurface.



Andreas Hofmann


Erez Karpas

Erez Karpas

Erez Karpas is a postdoctoral associate at MIT CSAIL. In 2012 he received his Ph.D. from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. In 2005 he received his M.Sc. in computer science, and in 2001 he received his B.Sc. in math and computer science, both from Ben Gurion University. His research interests include autonomous systems, automated planning, heuristic search, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in general.


Christian Muise

Christian Muise

Christian Muise is a postdoctoral associate with the MERS group at MIT CSAIL. He received his Ph.D. in 2014 from the University of Toronto, and was a research fellow from 2014 to 2015 at the University of Melbourne working on multi-agent planning. Other research interests include non-deterministic planning, deadend detection, execution monitoring, and knowledge compilation.



Tiago Vaquero

Tiago Vaquero is a postdoctoral fellow at MIT CSAIL and Caltech. He is a former postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto working on automated planning and scheduling, and assistive robots. In 2011 he received his Ph.D. from the University of Sao Paulo. In 2007 he received his M.Sc. and in 2003 he received his B.Sc. both in mechatronics engineering from University of Sao Paulo. His research interests include autonomous systems, automated planning and scheduling, knowledge engineering, probabilistic planning, robotic space exploration, artificial intelligence and robotics in general.


Graduate Students

David Wang

David Wang graduated MIT in 2006 with S.B. degrees in Aerospace Engineering with Information Technologies and Electrical Engineering/Computer Science. In 2008 he received his M.S. in Aeronautics/Astronautics with work on Software Engineering and Software Reliability. He is now completing his Ph.D. research on temporal, risk-aware, generative planning.


ericEric Timmons

Eric Timmons has graduated from MIT with Bachelors degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Physics (2010) and a Masters in Aerospace Engineering (2013). He is currently completing his Ph.D. degree in the EECS Department as part of the MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Joint Program. Eric is researching the application of automated planning to autonomous underwater vehicles. Outside of research, Eric’s interests include robotics, UAVs, and teaching.


Peng Yu

Peng is a 4th year PhD student in the Aeronautics and Astronautics department at MIT. His research focuses on the development of autonomous systems that can better collaborate with humans in planning and execution complex tasks, especially under over-subscribed and risky situations. He received Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in June 2010.


Pedro Santana

This is Pedro’s final semester before graduating with his Ph.D. from MIT (Course 16), and he is both thrilled and crushed. He is thrilled because the amazing research and teaching opportunities he had while working in MERS changed his life, and for that he will be forever grateful. On the other hand, he is sad because it is time to say “see you later!” to such wonderful and bright people in this group. Pedro’s research focused on making autonomous agents perform well and safely while operating in uncertain environments, which is a REALLY cool topic. Pedro never knew which engineering was the best, so he tried to sample as many as he could: he received a B.Sc. in Control and Automation engineering and an M.Sc. in Electrical engineering from the University of Brasilia; is about (fingers crossed!) to received a Ph.D. from the Aero Astro department at MIT; and will soon pursue a career in computer science at <INSERT-NEXT-EMPLOYER>.

Steve Levine

Steve Levine is a current Ph.D student in the MERS group. He graduated from MIT in 2011 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (course 6), with a minor in Mechanical Engineering (course 2), and finished his M.Eng at MIT in 2012, also in the MERS group. Steve enjoys building and programming robots. His current research is focused on integrating intent recognition and various forms of robot adaptation, for better human-robot interaction. When not in lab, Steve can often be found, running, trying to cook, and enjoying the outdoors.


Andrew Wang

Andrew studies scheduling algorithms for scenarios involving probabilistic temporal uncertainty. He is interested in formulating robust scheduling plans, designing dynamic execution strategies, and integrating such tools into the workflow of mission operators.


simonCheng (Simon) Fang

Simon is a PhD student studying chance-constrained planning under uncertainty. He received his bachelor’s degrees from The University of Sydney: B. Sci (Adv Maths) in 2009 and B. Eng (Mechatronics/Space) in 2011, and his master’s degree from MIT in 2014.



Benjamin Ayton

Ben is a first year graduate student in the MIT department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He studies the application of adaptive sampling to autonomous trajectory optimization. He received his B. Sci degrees from the University of Texas at Austin in Aerospace Engineering and Physics in 2015. Ben is passionate about enabling scientific exploration of hostile environments. His work has been applied to the Europa Multiple-Flyby Mission, several CubeSat missions, Antarctic surveillance, and autonomous underwater vehicles.


Enrique Fernandez


Dan Strawser


Jonathan Raiman


Spencer Dale Lane


Szymon Sidor


Former Members

James Paterson
paterson “at” mit “dot” edu


Lawrence A. M. Bush
BushL2 “at” csail “dot” mit “dot” edu

Lawrence A. M. Bush holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the University at Buffalo. Lawrence has a Master of Science in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Lawrence’s thesis topic is Decision Uncertainty Minimization for Sensing Missions. His areas of expertise are pattern recognition, optimization, active learning and active sensing. His prior employment includes work on expert systems at Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Research Station and work on machine learning at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.


Shannon Dong
dongs “at” mit “dot” edu

Shannon is a doctoral researcher specializing in robot learning from demonstration. Having completing her BS and MS in the MIT Aero Astro Department in 2005 and 2007, she will be finishing her PhD this summer, after which she will be adding autonomy to next generation robots at the Boeing Company in Seattle. Her interests outside of research include competitive ballroom dancing and non-competitive buffet dining.


Byungkyu (Joey) Park
bkpark “at” mit “dot” edu

Joey is an undergraduate student planning to major in Computer Science and Mathematics. He has joined the MERS group in summer of 2012 as a UROP and started working on manufacturing the test bed of a humanoid, PR2. His general interest in Robotics led to the MERS group and he is currently enjoying learning through his research from the group.

Outside of lab, Joey loves playing sports, especially soccer. Also, he shoots pistol in the club team.


Ameya Shroff

Hiro Ono

Wesley Graybill

Bobby Effinger

Patrick Conrad

Julie Shah

Hui Li

Cristi Wilcox

Alborz Geramifard

Stephanie Gil

Seung Chung

Lars Blackmore

Paul Elliott

Shen Qu

Tsoline Mikaelian

Steve Block

Thomas Leaute

John Stedl

Mitch Ingham