Karen E. Willcox Professor of Aeronautics & Astronautics | Co-Director of MIT Center for Computational Engineering
Karen E. Willcox is Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is also Co-Director of the MIT Center for Computational Engineering and formerly the Associate Head of the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Willcox holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and masters and PhD degrees from MIT. She has served on the faculty at MIT for 16 years. Prior to that, she worked at Boeing Phantom Works with the Blended-Wing-Body aircraft design group. Her research at MIT has produced scalable computational methods for design of next-generation engineered systems, with a particular focus on model reduction as a way to learn principled approximations from data and on multi-fidelity formulations to leverage multiple sources of uncertain information. These methods are widely applied in aircraft system design and environmental policy decision-making. Willcox is currently Co-director of the Department of Energy DiaMonD Multifaceted Mathematics Capability Center on Mathematics at the Interfaces of Data, Models, and Decisions. She leads an Air Force MURI on optimal design of multi-physics systems and an Air Force Data-Driven Dynamic Applications Systems project team that is developing a self-aware UAV. She has co-authored more than 80 papers in peer-reviewed journals and advised more than 40 graduate students, including 16 PhD students.
In addition to her research pursuits, Willcox is active in education innovation. She is currently Chair of the MIT OpenCourseWare Faculty Advisory Board. She served as co-Chair of the MIT Online Education Policy Initiative and co-Chair of the 2013-2014 Institute wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education. She is a recognized innovator in the U.S. education landscape, where she is a 2015 recipient of the First in the World Department of Education grant.
Willcox is Fellow of SIAM, Associate Fellow of AIAA, and member of ASEE and ASME. She has served in multiple leadership positions within AIAA and SIAM, including leadership roles in the SIAM Activity Group on Computational Science and Engineering and in the AIAA Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Technical Committee. She is Section Editor of SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing and Associate Editor of AIAA Journal. She is a current member of the National Academies Board on Mathematical Sciences and Analytics, and has served on four National Academies studies.
Karen and PhD student Michael Kapteyn are running water rocket workshops at the New Zealand International Science Festival.
PhD student Michael Kapteyn is profiled with a newspaper article in the New Zealand Herald.
PhD student Max Opgenoord is presenting his paper "Aeroelastic Tailoring using Additively Manufactured Lattice Structures" at the AIAA Aviation Conference in Atlanta, GA.
Congratulations to postdoc Laurence Cook for having his paper Generalized information reuse for optimization under uncertainty with non-sample average estimators accepted for publication in International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering.
We are hosting a Workshop on Computational Methods for Design and Control of Next-Generation Engineered Systems at the International Design Centre, SUTD, May 30 to June 1.
Congratulations to PhD student Victor Singh for having his paper Engineering Design with Digital Thread accepted for publication in AIAA Journal.
Congratulations to PhD student Remi Lam for successfully completing his PhD thesis. Dr. Lam's thesis has made excellent contributions in Bayesian optimization for complex systems and in a multi-fidelity formulation for determining an active subspace.
Welcome to new postdoc Dr. Laurence Cook. Laurence previously spent time with the group as a visiting student.
Karen was named a Fellow of SIAM in the 2018 SIAM Fellows list.
Congratulations to PhD student Elizabeth Qian for having her paper Multifidelity Monte Carlo estimation of variance and sensitivity indices accepted for publication in SIAM/ASA Journal on Uncertainty Quantification. This paper is joint work with our DiaMonD collaborators at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Congratulations to postdoc Boris Kramer and former postdoc Benjamin Peherstorfer for having their paper Multifidelity preconditioning of the cross-entropy method for rare event simulation and failure probability estimation accepted for publication in SIAM/ASA Journal on Uncertainty Quantification.
The group has 7 papers at the upcoming AIAA 2018 Scitech meeting, Jan. 8-12. Alex Feldstein will present on multi-fidelity analysis for Blended Wing Body stability and control (Tues 9.30am); Victor Singh will present on design with digital thread (Tues 11.30am); Michael Kapteyn will present on distributionally robust optimization (Tues 11.30am); Max Opgenoord will present on a low-order flutter model for conceptual design (Tues 2.30pm); and Anirban Chaudhuri, Benjamin Peherstorfer and Karen Willcox will present in the MURI special session on Managing multiple information sources of multi-physics systems (Thurs 0930-1230).
Congratulations to former postdoc Ralf Zimmermann for having his paper Geometric Subspace Updates with Applications to Online Adaptive Nonlinear Model Reduction accepted for publication in SIAM Journal on Matrix Analysis and Applications.
Congratulations to Max Opgenoord for having his paper Towards a Low-Order Model for Transonic Flutter Prediction selected as the AIAA Theoretical Fluid Mechanics Conference Best Paper from the 2017 AIAA Aviation Forum.
Karen is co-organizing an IMA workshop Integrating Machine Learning and Simulation: From Uncertainty Quantification to Digital Twins, to be held March 6-8, 2018.
Our study on gender diversity at MIT, with Luwen Huang and Elizabeth Qian, has been featured on MIT News. Check out the study and the interactive visualization of gender diversity on a class-by-class basis for the past 20 years at kiwi.mit.edu/mit-gender-diversity.
Congratulations to collaborator (and long-time mentor to Karen) Andy Philpott for being named an INFORMS Fellow in the Class of 2017.
Victor Singh is presenting his work on Digital Thread for Engineering Design at the International Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring, held at Stanford September 12-14.
Our review paper on multifidelity methods has been published in SIAM Review — Survey of multifidelity methods in uncertainty propagation, inference, and optimization.
Congratulations to Rèmi Lam on having his paper "Lookahead Bayesian Optimization with Inequality Constraints" accepted to the 2017 NIPS Conference (21% acceptance rate).
Karen and Luwen's paper Network models for mapping educational data has been accepted for publication in Design Science. Interested in implementing a model yourself? Check out the paper's companion webpage for guidelines and sample code.
Karen has been appointed as a member of the Department of Energy ASCR study group on mathematics needs for machine learning.
Karen has been appointed as a member of the National Academies Committee to Assess the Risks of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration.
Our book Model Reduction and Approximation: Theory and Algorithms has been published by SIAM.
Luwen Huang is presenting the paper Mapping the CDIO Curriculum with Network Models, at the 13th International CDIO Conference at the University of Calgary. Check out the paper's companion webpage and slides.
Karen was awarded Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday honours.
Karen, Max and Laura are all attending the AIAA Aviation Conference in Denver, CO.
Karen is giving the Stewartson Memorial Lecture plenary talk at the British Applied Mathematics Colloquium 2017 conference at the University of Surrey.
Karen is giving a semi-plenary lecture at the FEF2017 conference in Rome, Italy.
Boris Kramer and Benjamin Peherstorfer's paper Feedback Control for Systems with Uncertain Parameters Using Online-Adaptive Reduced Models has been accepted for publication in SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems.
Elizabeth Qian's paper A certified trust region reduced basis approach to PDE-constrained optimization has been accepted for publication in SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing.
Karen's presentation slides on Multi-fidelity Monte Carlo Methods for Uncertainty Quantification given at the SIAM Conference on Computational Engineering.
A large number of the group will be attending and presenting at the SIAM Conference on Computational Engineering.
Congratulations to Alex Feldstein on being selected as a winner of Aviation Week and AIAA's "Tomorrow's Engineering Leaders: The 20 Twenties".
Victor Singh's paper Methodology for Path Planning with Dynamic Data-Driven Flight Capability Estimation, has been accepted for publication in AIAA Journal.
Congratulations to visiting student Laurence Cook for winning the AIAA Southwest Research Institute Student Paper Award in Non-Deterministic Approaches at the AIAA Scitech conference, with his paper Horsetail Matching for Optimization Under Probabilistic, Interval and Mixed Uncertainties.
Our forward-looking report on Research and Education in Computational Science and Engineering is finally finished.
Laura Mainini's paper Data to decisions: Real-time structural assessment from sparse measurements affected by uncertainty has been accepted for publication in Computers and Structures.
Rèmi Lam will present his paper Bayesian Optimization with a Finite Budget: An Approximate Dynamic Programming Approach at the 2016 NIPS Conference in Barcelona.
Congratulations to Laura Mainini on starting her new position at United Technologies Research Center, in Cork, Ireland.
Sergio Amaral's paper "A Decomposition-Based Uncertainty Quantification Approach for Environmental Impacts of Aviation Technology and Operation" has been accepted for publication in a special issue on UQ in Design in Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing.
Our Fly-by-Wire project was covered in the MIT News. Collaborating with community colleges to innovate educational technology
Congratulations to Rèmi Lam for having his paper "Bayesian Optimization with a Finite Budget: An Approximate Dynamic Programming Approach" accepted for the 2016 NIPS Conference.
Congratulations to Benjamin Peherstorfer on accepting a tenure-track faculty position at University of Wisconsin, Madison in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Congratulations to Tiangang Cui on accepting a tenure-track faculty position at Monash University in the Department of Mathematics.
Benjamin Peherstorfer's paper Optimal model management for multifidelity Monte Carlo estimation on multi-fidelity uncertainty quantification has been accepted for publication in SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing.
Read our new survey paper on multifidelity methods: Peherstorfer, B., Willcox, K. and Gunzburger, M., Survey of multifidelity methods in uncertainty propagation, inference, and optimization, Technical Report, Aerospace Computational Design Laboratory TR-16-1, 2016.
Max Opgenoord's paper Variance-Based Sensitivity Analysis to Support Simulation-based Design under Uncertainty on distributional sensitivity analysis has been accepted for publication in Journal of Mechanical Design.
Ralf Zimmermann's paper An Accelerated Greedy Missing Point Estimation Procedure on nonlinear model reduction has been accepted for publication in SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing.
Boris Kramer's paper Tangential Interpolation-based Eigenystem Realization Algorithm for MIMO Systems has been accepted for publication in Mathematical and Computer Modelling of Dynamical Systems.
Congratulations to Sergio Amaral (PhD '16) and Max Opgenoord (SM '16) who will receive their degrees at Commencement.
We released the open-source Xoces.js library for mapping learning outcomes.
Benjamin and TC's paper Multifidelity importance sampling has appeared in Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, Vol. 300, pp. 490-509.
Benjamin Peherstorfer's paper Data-driven operator inference for nonintrusive projection-based model reduction has been accepted for publication in Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering.
Benjamin Peherstorfer's paper Dynamic data-driven model reduction: Adapting reduced models from incomplete data has been accepted for publication in Advanced Modeling and Simulation in Engineering Sciences.
Sergio Amaral's paper Optimal L2-norm Empirical Importance Weights for the Change of Probability Measure has been accepted for publication in Statistics and Computing.
Max Opgenoord's paper Sensitivity Analysis Methods for Uncertainty Budgeting in System Design has been accepted for publication in AIAA Journal.
Congratulations to Max Opgenoord for completing his SM degree, with his thesis "Uncertainty Budgeting Methods for Conceptual Aircraft Design."
Congratulations to Victor Singh and Max Opgenoord for passing the AeroAstro qualifying exams!
December 9, 2015
Our review paper on parametric model reduction has been published in SIAM Review — A Survey of Projection-Based Model Reduction Methods for Parametric Dynamical Systems
December 1, 2015
Professor Karen E. Willcox is a University of Auckland 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award winner. Press release.
September 30, 2015
July 11-15, 2016
Boris Kramer, Remi Lam and Victor Singh will present their research at the SIAM Annual Meeting in Boston.
July 8, 2016
Boris Kramer will present his paper "Model Reduction for Control of a Multiphysics System: Coupled Burgers' Equation" at ACC 2016.
June 13-17, 2016
Karen will chair a special session on Dynamic Data Driven Applications Systems at the AIAA Aviation Conference in Washington DC. Victor Singh will present on "Methodology for Path Planning with Dynamic Data-Driven Flight Capability Estimation."
June 4, 2016
Karen is on the education panel at the 2016 Alumni Tech Day.
April 19-20, 2016
We are organizing the Workshop on Data to Decisions in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Auckland.
April 4-7, 2016
Benjamin, Boris, Remi and Sergio will attend the SIAM UQ conference in Lausanne, Switzerland.
April 5, 2016
Boris Kramer will present "Control for Systems with Uncertain Parameters" in MS13 at the SIAM UQ conference in Lausanne, Switzerland.
April 1, 2016
March 30, 2016
Boris Kramer will give a talk "System Identification and Model Reduction for MIMO Systems via the Eigensystem Realization Algorithm" at the the Data-driven Model Order Reduction and Machine Learning conference in Stuttgart, Germany.
March 30 - April 1, 2016
Benjamin is co-organizing the MORML Workshop on Data-driven Model Order Reduction and Machine Learning (MORML 2016).
March 20-25, 2016
Karen, Benjamin, Remi and Elizabeth will be attending the Copper Mountain Conference on Iterative Methods.
January 26, 2016
Karen is giving an invited talk in the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT) Scholar to Practitioner Speaker Series. Talk announcement.
January 4–8, 2016
Max Opgenoord and Anirban Chaudhuri will be presenting at the AIAA Scitech meeting, San Diego.