April 22, 2017

Plenary Speakers

2018 ACC Plenary and Semi-Plenary Lectures

The conference technical, plenary and semi-plenary, and special sessions will reflect the diversity of theory and applications of control that is one of the hallmarks of an ACC. Our slate of plenary and semi-plenary speakers consists of well-known researchers and leaders from academia, industry, and government research labs.   



Emery Neal Brown, M.D., Ph.D. is an American statistician, neuroscientist and anesthesiologist. He is the Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and a practicing anesthesiologist at MGH. At MIT he is the Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and professor of computational neuroscience; the Associate Director of the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, and the Director of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program. Brown is one of only 19 individuals who has been elected to all three branches of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Brown is also the first African American and first anesthesiologist to be elected to all three National Academies.



Miguel San Martin grew up in Argentina and came to the United States after high school to pursue his dream of working for NASA.  He graduated summa cum laude from Syracuse University with a degree in Electrical Engineering, being named Engineering Student of the Year.  He received his Masters degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering with a specialization in Guidance, Navigation, and Control for interplanetary space exploration.  Upon graduation, he was hired by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the NASA center that specializes in interplanetary space exploration.

Early in his career, he participated in the Magellan mission to Venus and the Cassini mission to Saturn.  He was later named Chief Engineer for the Guidance, Navigation, and Control system for the Pathfinder mission, which landed Sojourner, the first robotic vehicle to land on Mars.  He later assumed the same role for the highly successful mission that landed the robotic vehicles, Spirit and Opportunity on Mars in 2004.  Most recently, he was the Chief Engineer for Guidance, Navigation, and Control for the Mars Science Laboratory, which landed successfully the one-ton rover, Curiosity, on the surface of Mars on August 5, 2012.  He was a co-architect of Curiosity’s innovative SkyCrane landing architecture, receiving the NASA Exceptional Achievement in Engineering Medal for his contributions. He was named JPL Fellow in 2013.


Robert Wood is the Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences in the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, a founding core faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and a National Geographic Explorer. Prof. Wood completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. He is founder of the Harvard Microrobotics Lab which leverages expertise in microfabrication for the development of biologically-inspired robots with feature sizes on the micrometer to centimeter scale. His current research interests include new micro- and meso-scale manufacturing techniques, fluid mechanics of low Reynolds number flapping wings, control of sensor-limited and computation-limited systems, active soft materials, wearable robots, and morphable soft-bodied robots. He is the winner of multiple awards for his work including the DARPA Young Faculty Award, NSF Career Award, ONR Young Investigator Award, Air Force Young Investigator Award, Technology Review’s TR35, and multiple best paper awards. In 2010 Wood received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Obama for his work in microrobotics. In 2012 he was selected for the Alan T. Waterman award, the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious early career award. In 2014 he was named one of National Geographic’s “Emerging Explorers”. Wood’s group is also dedicated to STEM education by using novel robots to motivate young students to pursue careers in science and engineering.

Ketan Savla is an assistant professor and John and Dorothy Shea Early Career Chair in Civil Engineering at the University of Southern California, with joint appointments in the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (courtesy), and the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering-Systems (courtesy). Prior to that, he was a research scientist in the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems at MIT. Ketan is 2017 recipient of American Automatic Control Council’s prestigious the Donald P. Eckman Award. The Eckman Award recognizes an outstanding young engineer in the field of automatic control. The recipient must be younger than 35 years on January 1 of the year of award. In addition, he has been recognized with NSF CAREER and an IEEE CSS George S. Axelby Outstanding Paper Award. He obtained his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and M.A. in Applied Mathematics from the University of California at Santa Barbara, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and B. Tech. in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. His current research interest is in distributed robust and optimal control, dynamical networks, state-dependent queuing systems, and incentive design, with applications in civil infrastructure and autonomous systems. He currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Conference Editorial Board of the IEEE Control Systems Society, the IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, and the IEEE Control Systems Letters.