Professor Francesco Bullo - Biography


Francesco Bullo is Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received the Laurea degree “summa cum laude” in Electrical Engineering from the University of Padova, Italy, in 1994, and the Ph.D. degree in Control and Dynamical Systems from the California Institute of Technology in 1999. From 1998 to 2004, he was an Assistant Professor with the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since 2004 he has been at University of California, Santa Barbara; he is currently affiliated with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Department of Computer Science, and the Center for Control, Dynamical Systems and Computation.

Professor Bullo's research focuses on modeling, dynamics and control of multi-agent network systems, with applications to robotic coordination, power systems, distributed computing and social networks. Previous work includes contributions to geometric control, Lagrangian systems, vehicle routing, and motion planning.

Professor Bullo has published more than 300+ papers in international journals, books, and refereed conferences. He is the coauthor, with Andrew D. Lewis, of “Geometric Control of Mechanical Systems” (Springer, 2004, 0-387-22195-6); with Jorge Cortés and Sonia Martínez, of “Distributed Control of Robotic Networks” (Princeton, 2009, 978-0-691-14195-4); with Stephen L. Smith “Lectures on Robotics Planning and Kinematics” (SIAM, 2019, under contract); of “Lectures on Network Systems” (Kindle Direct Publishing, 2022, v1.6, 978-1986425643), and of "Contraction Theory for Dynamical Systems, 2023, v1.1, 979-8836646806).

Professor Bullo is a Fellow of ASME, IEEE, IFAC, and SIAM. He was a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Control Systems Society for 2016-18. He received the 2018 Distinguished Scientist Award by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. His articles received the 2008 CSM Outstanding Paper Award from IEEE CSS, the 2011 Hugo Schuck Best Paper Award from AACC, the 2013 SIAG/CST Best Paper Prize from SIAM, the 2014 Automatica Best Paper Prize from IFAC, the 2016 Guillemin-Cauer Best Paper Award from IEEE CAS, and the 2016 TCNS Outstanding Paper Award from IEEE CSS. Professor Bullo served as advisor or co-advisor of 26 graduated PhD students. He received the 2015 UCSB Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award and the 2004 UIUC COE Outstanding Advisor Award. His students’ papers were finalists for the Best Student Paper Award at the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (2002, 2005, 2007), and the American Control Conference (2005, 2006, 2010, 2022).

Professor Bullo has served the IEEE Control Systems Society in various roles: as President Elect / President / President Past during the triennium 2017–2019, as 2011-2012 Vice-President for Technical Activities, as 2013-2014 Vice-President for Publications, as 2007-2009 Elected Member of the Board of Governors, and as Program Chair for the 2016 IEEE Conference in Decision and Control. Additionally, he served as Chair of the SIAM Activity Group on Control and Systems Theory, for 2020-2021. Finally, he served on the Editorial Boards of IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, ESAIM: Control, Optimization, and the Calculus of Variations, SIAM Journal of Control and Optimization, and Mathematics of Control, Signals, and Systems.

From July 2013 to June 2017, Professor Bullo served as Mechanical Engineering Department Chair at UCSB. In this role he had responsibilities over academic personnel matters, educational programs, facilities management, governance, finances, and communication/development.


Journal biosketch and photo

Francesco Bullo is a Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA. He was previously with the University of Padova (Laurea degree, 1994), Italy, the California Institute of Technology (Ph.D. degree, 1998), Pasadena, CA, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA. His research interests include contraction theory, network systems, and distributed control. He is the author or coauthor of Geometric Control of Mechanical Systems (Springer, 2004), Distributed Control of Robotic Networks (Princeton, 2009), Lectures on Network Systems (KDP, 2022), and Contraction Theory for Dynamical Systems (KDP, 2023). He served as IEEE CSS President and SIAG CST Chair. He is a Fellow of ASME, IEEE, IFAC, and SIAM.

Additional Info: Photo, IEEE string: (IEEE S’95–M’99–SM’03–F’10)

Academic genealogy

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Richard Murray, whose advisor was
Shankar Sastry, whose advisor was
Charles Desoer, whose advisor was
Robert Fano, whose advisor was
Ernst Guillemin, whose advisor was
Arnold Sommerfeld, whose advisor was
Ferdinand Lindemann, whose advisor was
Felix Klein, whose advisor was
Rudolf Lipschitz, one of whose two co-advisors was
Gustav Dirichlet, one of whose two co-advisors was
Simeon Poisson, one of whose two co-advisors was
Joseph Lagrange, whose advisor was
Leonhard Euler, whose advisor was
Johann Bernoulli, whose advisor was
Jacob Bernoulli, whose advisor was …