Workshop honors alum Naomi Leonard

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A workshop honoring alumna Naomi Leonard’s research accomplishments and 60th birthday was held at Princeton University from Oct. 27–28, 2023. Leonard (EE Ph.D. 1994), is a former student of Professor P. S. Krishnaprasad (ECE/ISR).

Leonard is the Edwin S. Wilsey Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and an associated faculty member of the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University. She directs Princeton's Council on Science and Technology and affiliated faculty member of the Princeton Neuroscience Institute and Program on Quantitative and Computational Biology. Leonard is a MacArthur Fellow, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the ASME, IEEE, IFAC, and SIAM.

Creative Convergence: At the Crossroads of the Arts, Ecology, Neuroscience, and Control Engineering explored Leonard’s contributions to research, focusing on synergistic approaches to challenges. The workshop website notes, “Systematic modeling, analysis, and design of social, economic, and technological systems require addressing various tradeoffs that natural systems and human groups handle effectively. By combining ideas from diverse disciplines, including ecology, neuroscience, control theory, and the arts, we can gain a better understanding of the underpinnings of these remarkable systems, and this understanding will enable us to facilitate robustness and resilience in engineered systems ranging from electric networks and autonomous vehicles to smart manufacturing and mixed human-automata systems. This convergence among disciplines is also essential for addressing broader issues, such as climate change, energy efficiency, and human-wildlife conflicts.”

The organizing committee included Professor and Maryland Robotics Center Director Derek Paley (AE/ISR), a former student of Leonard’s; and alumnus Fumin Zhang (EE Ph.D. 2004), a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Zhang was supervised by Leonard as a postdoctoral researcher. Like Leonard, Zhang was advised for his Ph.D. by Professor P. S. Krishnaprasad.

Dr. Krishnaprasad and Dr. Paley both were invited speakers, and the Maryland Robotics Center was an event sponsor.

Published November 30, 2023