Faculty Directory

Brockett, Roger

Brockett, Roger

An Wang Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
Founder of the Harvard Robotics Laboratory
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University
The Institute for Systems Research
345 Maxwell Dworkin, Harvard University


  • B.S., 1960, Engineering, Case Institute of Technology
  • M.S., 1962, Engineering, Case Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D., 1964, Engineering, Case Institute of Technology


  • Elected to the National Academy of Engineering, 1991
  • American Automatic Control Council's Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award, 1989
  • Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) since 1974
  • Member of the AMS, SIAM, Sigma Xi, and Tau Beta Pi
  • Member, IEEE Control Society Advisory Committee, 1972-1975
  • Member, IEEE, Program Chairman for the Joint Automatic Control Conference, 1971
  • Member, IEEE Automatic Control Group's Information Dissemination Committee, 1966-1969


  • Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising, 2011
  • IEEE Leon K. Kirchmayer Graduate Teaching Award, 2009
  • Rufus Oldenburger Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2005
  • W.T. and Idalia Reid Prize in Mathematics from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, 1996
  • IEEE Field award in Systems Science and Engineering, 1991
  • IEEE Control Systems Award, 1991
  • Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award from the American Automatic Control Council, 1989


Applied Mathematics & Computational Science: Control Theory and Stochastic Systems
Computer Science: Intelligent Systems and Computer Vision
Electrical Engineering: Robotics and Control

As high-data-rate sensing mechanisms have proliferated and the value of autonomous decision making has become more widely recognized, many sophisticated techniques have been applied to process data within feedback loops. As a result, interest in estimation and control algorithms suitable for time-critical applications has grown. Professor Brockett's research is concerned with the development of prototype modules and general principles that can be used to design such systems and to predict how they will interact with their environment.

Robots are one example of computer-controlled machines in which motion control is a central issue. Others include surveillance vehicles, numerically controlled machine tools, autonomous loaders, repair vehicles, etc. Many recent efforts to permit these systems to react to various sensory data in real time incorporate new computational paradigms, such as neural networks and adaptive arrays. In recent work, Professor Brockett and his coworkers have shown how parallel analog algorithms can be used for these purposes and how several problems in combinatorial optimization can be understood in the context of control and dynamical systems.

Problems of computational tractability are critical to systems that must operate in real time. An answer that cannot be computed in a fixed amount of time may be useless. To operate within these constraints, systems must reduce data as they are gathered, making use of special data structures that facilitate rapid computation. One goal of current research is the development of a device-independent language to control such systems and to model in a useful way systems that are language driven.

Roger Brockett honored for devotion to graduate student advising

ISR-affiliated faculty member receives Harvard's Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising.

Baras Participates in International Panel on Control Systems Design

Baras a panelist at "Designing Better Control Systems with Computational Models" in Shanghai, China.

ISR's 20th Anniversary Celebration Symposium

Special day features friends from throughout ISR's history

Brockett honored with Rufus Oldenburger Medal

Prestigious ASME award given for contributions to differential geometric control

Faculty participating in three different MURI awards

Research includes networked control systems, hybrid smart materials and radiofrequency pulses

National Academy of Engineering (NAE)

  • Member, 1991

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

  • Fellow, 1974