Our research group’s name is LEADCAT: LEArning, Decision, Control, AuTonomy. Please click on each member’s name to read more about them and their work.

Jean-Baptiste Bouvier
Jean-Baptiste Bouvier

Jean-Baptiste is a PhD student in aerospace engineering. He graduated with a dual master’s degree from UIUC and the French aerospace engineering school ISAE-Supaéro.

Jean-Baptiste’s area of expertise is in control theory and space trajectories, as he worked on rendezvous strategies on lunar Distant Retrograde Orbits, on the design of low-energy low-thrust transfers to halo orbits using feedback control, and on the adaptive control of an orbit around a splitting binary asteroid. He is also invested in the Illinois triathlon team as the swim coordinator and he completed an Ironman distance triathlon in June 2019.

Alen Golpashin
Alen Golpashin

Alen is a PhD student in aerospace engineering. His research interests are broadly dynamical systems, control theory, and optimization. In his previous work, he has focused on derivations and methods for nonlinear sub-optimal control of nonlinear stochastic differential equations with multiplicative noise.

Alen graduated with a BSc in aerospace engineering from UIUC and holds master’s degrees in mathematics and aerospace engineering. In his free time, Alen likes to compose and record music for piano. He enjoys hiking and camping trips.

Pranay Thangeda
Pranay Thangeda

Pranay is a graduate student in aerospace engineering. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Mahindra École Centrale where he worked as an undergraduate research assistant in optimization, trajectory planning and reinforcement learning.

Pranay’s interests lie in the areas of control theory, learning and autonomy. Currently, he is working on problems in reinforcement learning, game theory and multi-agent coordination. He believes that intelligent systems have a major role to play in making future safe and sustainable. Pranay spends his free time working on open-source robotic platforms, traveling, and flying drones. 

Farhad Nawaz
Farhad Nawaz

Farhad is a graduate student in aerospace engineering. He graduated with a B.Tech (Hons) in instrumentation and control engineering from National Institute of Technology, Trichy. He has worked on trajectory tracking, path planning, and control algorithms during his undergraduate research internships. His research work at Indian Institute of Science analyzes UAV navigation and guidance with obstacle avoidance.

Farhad’s research interests lie in the areas of decision making and control for unknown dynamical systems. He is currently working on problems involving optimal control and learning theory with limited state information. He envisions developing intelligent control frameworks for autonomous systems. Farhad spends his free time analyzing the behavioral aspects of autonomous vehicles, enjoys traveling, and watching sports.

Hamza El-Kebir
Hamza El-Kebir

Hamza is an undergraduate student in aerospace engineering at the Delft University of Technology, on exchange at UIUC during Fall 2019. He will be officially joining the aerospace engineering department as a PhD student in Fall 2020. He has been conducting undergraduate research in range-restricted sounding rocket guidance in Delft.

Hamza’s interests lie in the area of space vehicle guidance, trajectory prediction and reusable launch vehicle design. He is currently working on the in-flight estimation of environmental parameters. He is an avid spaceflight enthusiast, and is intrigued by both its history and current developments. Hamza spends his free time working on future sounding rocket designs at the DARE rocketry society, and enjoys taking long hikes in the countryside.

Kathleen Xu
Kathleen Xu

Kathleen is an undergraduate student in aerospace engineering. She is passionate about deep-space exploration and planetary exploration. In sophomore year she worked on a research project that utilized an indirect adaptive control scheme to estimate unknown parameters and to control a spacecraft’s trajectory in the case of a splitting contact binary asteroid. Her research interests include space systems, space mission design and optimization, and guidance and control with application to spaceflight. Currently, she is working on quantifying resilience of control systems following unexpected partial loss of actuation. Kathleen spends her free time playing soccer and learning Chinese calligraphy.

Zhengguan Dai
Zhengguan Dai

Zhengguan (Gary) is an undergraduate student in aerospace engineering. He is interested in the interdisciplinary area of aerospace and computer science. He is passionate about computer-aided decision-making and control of autonomous vehicles with neural networks and deep learning methods. He is currently an active member of the Illinois Space Society (ISS) Hybrid Engine team and has developed the avionics system for the engine. In his free time, he was Youtube-taught a 3D-rendering software Blender. He is also a photographer and makes personal vlogs for his channel on Bilibili.

Wanzheng Zheng
Wanzheng Zheng

Wanzheng Zheng is an undergraduate in aerospace engineering. He is interested in numerical optimization and its application in the aeronautic industry. In sophomore and junior year, he worked on a multi-disciplinary optimization framework of an airfoil. His research interests include computational fluid dynamics, optimization of control system. Currently, he is working on constructing a test-bed for further research in ground traffic related decision making. In his free time, Zheng enjoys making miniatures and playing board games.

 

Alumni
Peter Piatek — undergraduate research student, 2020
Gregory Rodriguez — Summer Predoctoral Institute student, 2020