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 Affiliates

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.

Research Scientists

TiagoVaqueroTiago Vaquero

Tiago Vaquero is a research scientist at MIT CSAIL. He was a postdoctoral fellow at MIT and Caltech from 2015 to 2017, working on risk-bounded probabilistic planning and scheduling, planning and execution architectures, and autonomous vehicles/robots for space and underwater exploration. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto from 2011 to 2014, 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 the University of Sao Paulo. His research interests include autonomous vehicles, automated planning and scheduling, probabilistic planning, robotic space and underwater exploration, knowledge engineering, artificial intelligence and robotics in general.


Andreas Hofmann




Ashkan Jasour

Ashkan Jasour is a postdoctoral associate with the MERS group at MIT CSAIL. In 2016 he received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and Ph.D minor in mathematics from Pennsylvania State University. His research during PhD, focuses on convex relaxations of chance constrained problems in systems and control. His research interests include optimization, control and analysis of dynamical systems, robotics, artificial intelligence, and data processing.



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.



Graduate Students

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.

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.


simonCheng (Simon) Fang

Simon is a PhD student studying chance-constrained constraint programming 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.




Enrique Fernandez

Enrique Fernandez is a 5th year PhD student in the MERS group doing research in planning with mixed discrete-continuous actions. Enrique holds a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from IIT Chicago (2009) and a B.S./M.S. in Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Madrid (2009). His research interests are planning and decision making, robotics, optimization and, in general, most fields of artificial intelligence. Before starting his PhD, Enrique worked for Vestas Wind Systems as a member of its international two-year rotational talent program. During this time, Enrique worked in Denmark and the US as an engineer in different positions, from research to manufacturing and R&D project management. Enrique is a 2nd degree taekwondo black belt and one of the student instructors of the MIT Sport Taekwondo club and former team co-captain. When not in the lab, Enrique can often be found working out and competing with the club or hanging out with the Spain@MIT association.


Dan Strawser


Benjamin Ayton

Ben is a second 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.


Siyu (Sylvia) Dai

Sylvia is a first year M.S. candidate in the Mechanical Engineering Department of MIT. She graduated from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2016 with a B.S. degree in Marine Engineering. Her current research in the MERS group is focused on robot motion planning and execution system, especially trajectory optimization in robot manipulation. Besides research, she is also a fan of dancing, piano, yoga, skiing, as well as cooking.


Jingkai Chen

Jingkai Chen is a first year graduate student in the MIT department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His research focuses on temporal planning and resource critical scheduling. Before joining MERS, he worked in McGovern Institute of Brain Research at MIT and Network Research Lab in UCLA. He received his bachelor degree in Control Science from Zhejiang University in 2016.


Nikhil Bhargava

Nikhil is a first year PhD student in the EECS department at MIT, working in the MERS group. He graduated from Stanford University with a BS in Symbolic Systems and MS in Computer Science in 2014. His current research focuses on concurrent planning in multi-agent contexts.




Xin (Cyrus) Huang

Cyrus is a first year graduate student in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. He received his B.S. in Engineering and Computer Science from Harvey Mudd College in 2016. His current research is focused on learning and predicting agent intentions in the context of multi-agent probabilistic planning. Before joining MERS, Cyrus did research on multi-agent SLAM and spent two summers at Mayfield Robotics as a robotics engineer intern.


Yuening Zhang

Yuening is a first-year graduate student in the EECS department of MIT. She received her B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in 2016. Her current research focuses on preference model and distributed decision making under multi-agent context. She is also interested in the general topics of machine learning and formal methods. Outside of work, she likes to do some dancing, exercising and is always looking for good food to eat.


Sang Uk Lee

Sang Uk Lee is a PhD student in the MIT department of Mechanical Engineering. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Seoul National University in Korea in 2014. He also received his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2016, working with Dr. Karl Iagnemma in Robotic Mobility Group. His research topic for M.S. was chance constrained motion planning for tracked vehicle under slip. His current research interest is on human intention recognition in human-robot collaboration.


Former Members

Peng Yu

Peng was a PhD student in the Aeronautics and Astronautics department at MIT. His research focused 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 his Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in June 2010.


Pedro Santana

Summer 2016 was 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; and his Ph.D. from the AeroAstro department at MIT; and will soon pursue a career in computer science in Silicon Valley.


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 has completed his Ph.D. research on temporal, risk-aware, generative planning.


Erez Karpas

Erez Karpas

Erez Karpas was 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.


Spencer Dale Lane


Jonathan Raiman


Szymon Sidor


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 earned a Ph.D. from 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 specializes in robot learning from demonstration. Having completing her BS and MS in the MIT Aero Astro Department in 2005 and 2007, she finished her PhD in summer 2012, after which she has been 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 was an undergraduate student majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics. He 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