UCSB Engineering

Katie Byl

Associate Professor

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Katie Byl


5115 Harold Frank Hall (office)
ECE Dept., University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9560

tel: 805/893-4924

Personal web site

RoboSimian at the 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials.

RoboSimian at the 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials.

We are currently working with JPL (Team RoboSimian) as competitors in the DARPA Robotics Challenge.

Research Description

My research interests are robot dynamics and control: particularly, locomotion and manipulation. Developing robots that are agile, reliable and safe depends directly on addressing the challenges of underactuation and stochasticity that are inherently present in real-world robot interactions both with the environment and with humans. My work focuses on modeling and controlling such dynamics. Example applications include rough terrain legged locomotion, supervised autonomy, and tuned-impedance control for flapping-wing flight.

Research Groups


Katie Byl received her S.B., S.M., and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT. Her research is in dynamic systems and control, with particular interest in modeling and control techniques to deal with the inherent challenges of underactuation and stochasticity that characterize bio-inspired robot locomotion and manipulation in real-world environments. Katie has worked on a wide range of research topics in the control of dynamic systems, including magnetic bearing control, flapping-wing microrobotics, piezoelectic noise cancellation for aircraft, and vibration isolation for gravity wave detection, and she was once a professional gambler on the now-infamous MIT Blackjack Team. She is the recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship in Neuroscience (2011), a Hellman Faculty Fellowship (2012), and an NSF CAREER Award (2013).


  • Mechanical Engineering Dept.
  • Center for Control, Dynamical Systems and Computation (CCDC)


  • NSF CAREER Award, 2013
  • Hellman Family Faculty Fellowship, 2012
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship in Neuroscience, 2011
  • Regents' Junior Faculty Fellowship, 2011

Selected Publications

See complete list of publications