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

Andreas Hofmann


Ashkan Jasour,

I am a Research Scientist at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). I received my PhD in Control Systems / Electrical Engineering and PhD minor in Mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University. I also was a Postdoctoral Associate for two years with the Model-based Embedded and Robotic Systems (MERS) group at MIT’s CSAIL. My goal is to develop new rigorous mathematical tools and algorithms to address challenging problems in Control Systems, Robotics, and Optimization. In particular, my research interests include probabilistic control, chance constrained optimization, stochastic systems, robotic systems, and machine learning. Here at MIT, I lead a group of graduate students to develop risk bounded motion planning algorithms for autonomous systems such as self-driving vehicles, underwater vehicles, autonomous airplanes, and robotic arms.


Graduate Students

Nan Ma

Nan Ma is a dual degree M.S student from SDM and EECS at MIT. His research focuses on robotics decision making based on POMDP and goal programming. He is currently working with Amazon Robotics. Prior to MERS, he worked for EMC corporation, specialized in software performance analysis and tuning.

Sungkweon Hong

Sungkweon is a first-year graduate student in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in air transportation from the Korea Aerospace University, South Korea, in 2013 and 2015, respectively. He was also a researcher at the Korea Aerospace Research Institute from 2015 to 2017, working on development of air traffic controller’s decision support tools. His research interests include risk bounded probabilistic planning and artificial intelligence in general.

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.

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.

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 second year graduate student in the MIT department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His research focuses on 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 second 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.


Nick Pascucci

Nick is a first year graduate student in the AeroAstro department at MIT. In 2012 he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Colorado College, and joined MERS after 5 years as a software engineer at Google. His research interests include autonomous systems, formal methods, and space systems engineering.

Suleeporn Sujichantararat

Suleeporn is a first year PhD student in EECS at MIT. She earned her MSc in Computing (Secure Software Systems) from Imperial College London, UK in 2016 and BSc in Information and Communication Technology (Major: Computer Science) from Mahidol University, Thailand in 2010. Her current research focuses on Optimized Satisfiability Modulo Theories (SMT) and Chance-Constrained Constraint Programming applied to Network Configuration.

Marlyse Reeves

Marlyse is a first-year PhD student in the EECS department at MIT. She received her B.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT in 2017. Her current research focuses on multi-vehicle online planning, incorporating complex dynamics and constraints. She is also interested in risk-aware planning, fault protection and diagnosis, and adaptive sampling. Outside of the lab, she enjoys playing soccer, dancing, and reading science fiction.

Former Members

Enrique Fernandez
Mathew Orton

Christian Muise
Tiago Vaquero
Peng Yu
Pedro Santana
David Wang


Steve Levine

Steve Levine completed his Ph.D in the MERS group in January of 2019. He also 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 research focused on integrating intent recognition and various forms of robot adaptation, for better human-robot interaction. When not in lab, Steve could often be found, running, trying to cook, and enjoying the outdoors.

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