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IRIM Spring Seminar Series | From State Space Control to Intelligent Machines: A Five-Decade Journey in Mechanical Systems Control


IRIM Spring Seminar Series | From State Space Control to Intelligent Machines: A Five-Decade Journey in Mechanical Systems Control

Masayoshi Tomizuka | Professor - Mechanical Engineering, UC Berkeley

I joined the Mechanical Engineering Department of UC Berkeley in 1974 after obtaining a PhD from MIT in the same year. It was an exciting time for someone in the field of dynamic systems and control. The 1960’s – 1970’s was the period when the state space control theories blossomed such as maximum principle, dynamic programming, Lyapunov stability, Kalman filtering, Linear Quadratic Gaussian Control and stability based adaptive control theory. At the same time, computer/information technology has made phenomenal advances during the period. At MIT I used IBM1130 (with a card reader and printer) and a PDP-8 mini-computer. When I joined UC Berkeley, the campus mainframe computer was a CDC (Control Data Corporation) 6000 series computer, and the lab computer was PDP-7, which was upgraded to PDP-11, LSI-11, etc. The control program at Berkeley covered from both theory to implementation, and it was followed by many other schools. The1970’s was the time when a new generation of mechanical systems showed up; IBM introduced the Winchester Hard Disk Drive in 1973 and the FANUC Corporation was established in 1972. My laboratory, Mechanical Systems Control (MSC) Laboratory, naturally evolved to a group to study both mathematical and implementation aspects of controls. The current research emphasis of the MSC Laboratory is on intelligent industrial robots and autonomous driving. Several representative current projects will be introduced.


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Mural painted by a robot at the Georgia Tech Library


Polycentric Truthes Mural Installation Complete in Price Gilbert Library


An interpretation of Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Polycentric Truthes also serves as a commentary on the echo chambers within which contemporary society is situated. It will be painted over two months on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and students, faculty and staff are invited to watch the piece coming to life. 

“This piece has been a design and research exploration for more than a year and is now coming to fruition as the custom robotic technology and conceptual design converge,” said Al-Haddad. “This merger of art, science and engineering illustrates the type of exciting work that can be realized through multi-disciplinary research and design projects at Georgia Tech.”

 In 2023, the Library partnered with former Georgia Tech assistant professor and double-graduate Jacket Al-Haddad for the second installment of the Artist-In-Residence program. Polycentric Truthes is the culmination of the program.

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IRIM Overview


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Robotics Research

The depth and breadth of IRIM breaks through disciplinary boundaries and allows for transformative research that transitions from theory to robustly deployed systems featuring next-generation robots. Fundamental research includes expertise in mechanics, control, perception, artificial intelligence and cognition, interaction, and systems.

Robotics Education

Georgia Tech offers an interdisciplinary path to an M.S. and Ph.D. in Robotics to students enrolled in a participating school within either the Colleges of Computing or Engineering. A fully integrated, multidisciplinary experience, the M.S. & Ph.D. programs include both coursework and research with faculty members in various units across campus.

Core Research Facilities

The Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines at Georgia Tech supports and facilitates the operation of several core research facilities on campus allowing our faculty, students and collaborators to advance the boundaries of robotics research.

IRIM & Industry

Our Industry Affiliates Program allows members to explore opportunities for research collaboration, facilities and services, consulting, student hiring, and other interactions. Whether you join as a strategic partner, an affiliate, or as a member of one of our customized consortia, your company will be supported through our work as a interdisciplinary group of robotics leaders.

IRIM & Outreach

The Institute for Robotics & Intelligent Machines (IRIM) participates in numerous K-12 STEM and community outreach activities related to robotics. Additionally, IRIM hosts tours throughout the year, and our student group, RoboGrads, participates in activities to raise awareness of the importance of robotics technology and stimulate interest in the field


New Faculty Spotlight



Maegan Tucker |  Assistant Professor - Schools of Electrical & Computer and Mchanical Engineering


Maegan Tucker Assistant ProfessorMaegan received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering (ME) from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in May 2023. Prior, she also received a M.S. in ME from Caltech in 2019 and a B.S. in ME from Georgia Tech in 2017. After graduating with her PhD, Maegan conducted a brief postdoc at Caltech (May - August 2023), followed by a brief research position at Disney Research (September - December 2023). Generally speaking, her research interests lie at the intersection of control theory and human-robot interaction, with specific applications towards lower-limb assistive devices. Much of her research is centered around the question: “What is the right way to walk?”. In her free time, Maegan enjoys puzzles, playing video games, and the piano. 

Maegan Tucker joined Georgia Tech as Assistant Professor with joint appointments in the School of Electrical & Computer Engineering and the School of Mechanical Engineering in January of 2024.

Research Focus Areas: 

  • Bioengineering
  • Human Augmentation
  • Human-Centered Robotics
  • Locomotion & Manipulation
  • Robotics
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