Siavash Farzan

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I am an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Robotics Engineering Department at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).   I earned my PhD in Robotics from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where I was a member of the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM).
My research focuses on solving fundamental challenges for autonomous robots to operate in unstructured and dynamic real-world settings. I have several years of experience in industry as an embedded systems engineer that informs my research, teaching, and service. I regularly teach undergraduate and graduate level courses and laboratories in the areas of Robotics, Mechatronics, Controls, and Embedded Systems.

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News

Jul '22

Paper accepted at the Wiley Journal of Adaptive Control and Signal Processing!

May '22

Paper accepted at the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control! Check out the paper and the video.

Mar '22

Paper accepted at the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology (TCST)! Check out the paper and the video.

Jul '21

I will be joining the Robotics Engineering Department at WPI as an Assistant Teaching Professor, starting in Fall 2021.

Aug '20

Paper accepted at CDC '20! Check out the paper and the video.

Jul '20

In less than three months, more than 9000 students from 149 countries have enrolled in our online Mechatronics course on edX! Check out the news here: Learning Mechatronics by Doing Mechatronics

Jun '20

Paper accepted at IROS '20! Check out the paper and the video.

Apr '20

Our lab-based online Mechatronics course is launched on edX: The Mechatronics Revolution: Fundamentals and Core Concepts

Jan '19

Paper accepted at ACC '19! Check out the paper and the video.

Jun '18

Paper accepted at IROS '18! Check out the paper and the video.

Jan '18

Paper accepted at ICRA '18! Check out the paper and the video.

Apr '17

Our research is featured on IEEE Spectrum, ASME and BBC News!

Mar '14

Paper accepted at CEC '14! Check out the paper and the video.

Jun '13

Paper accepted at IROS '13! Check out the paper and the video.
Research

My current research is focused on safety-critical motion planning and control of underactuated robotic systems, while providing formal guarantees on their performance in the presence of modeling uncertainties and disturbances. The list of publications is provided below.

Active Space Control of Underactuated Robots: From Adaptation to Robustness to Optimality
V. Azimi, S. Farzan, A. D. Ames, P. A. Vela, and S. Hutchinson
Wiley International Journal of Adaptive Control and Signal Processing, Jul. 2022
[pdf] [bibtex]

Keywords: underactuated system, robust control Lyapunov function, adaptive concurrent learning, quadratic program

A Robust Time-Varying Riccati-Based Control for Uncertain Nonlinear Dynamical Systems
V. Azimi, S. Farzan, and S. Hutchinson
ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, Jun. 2022
[pdf] [video] [bibtex]

Keywords: Riccati equation, optimal least squares (OLS) algorithm, robust control

Adaptive Control of Wire-Borne Underactuated Brachiating Robots Using Control Lyapunov and Barrier Functions
S. Farzan, V. Azimi, A. P. Hu, and J. Rogers
IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology (TCST), Mar. 2022
[pdf] [video] [bibtex]

Keywords: robust control Lyapunov function, adaptive function approximation, robust control barrier function, quadratic programs, underactuated robotics

Cable Estimation-Based Control for Wire-Borne Underactuated Brachiating Robots: A Combined Direct-Indirect Adaptive Robust Approach
S. Farzan, V. Azimi, A. P. Hu, and J. Rogers
IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC), Dec. 2020
[pdf] [video] [bibtex]

Keywords: sliding mode control, indirect adaptive estimation, direct adaptive control, underactuated robotics

Robust Control Synthesis and Verification for Wire-Borne Underactuated Brachiating Robots Using Sum-of-Squares Optimization
S. Farzan, A. P. Hu, M. Bick, and J. Rogers
IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Oct. 2020
[pdf] [video] [bibtex]

Keywords: sum-of-squares (SOS) optimization, semidefinite programming (SDP), robust control, underactuated robotics

Path Planning in Dynamic Environments Using Time-Warped Grids and a Parallel Implementation
S. Farzan, and G. N. DeSouza
arXiv, Mar. 2019
[pdf] [video] [bibtex]

Keywords: path planning, parallel programming, harmonic potential fields, rubber band model, GPU

Feedback Motion Planning and Control of Brachiating Robots Traversing Flexible Cables
S. Farzan, A. P. Hu, E. Davies, and J. Rogers
American Control Conference (ACC), Jul. 2019
[pdf] [video] [bibtex]

Keywords: time-varying LQR, brachiation, underactuated robotics

Tarzan: Design, Prototyping, and Testing of a Wire-borne Brachiating Robot
E. Davies, A. Garlow, S. Farzan, A. P. Hu, and J. Rogers
IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Oct. 2018
[pdf] [video] [bibtex]

Keywords: mechanical design, brachiation

Modeling and Control of Brachiating Robots Traversing Flexible Cables
S. Farzan, A. P. Hu, E. Davies, and J. Rogers
IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), May 2018
[pdf] [video] [bibtex]

Keywords: trajectory optimization, high-fidelity dynamic modeling, brachiation, underactuated robotics

A Parallel Evolutionary Solution for the Inverse Kinematics of Generic Robotic Manipulators
S. Farzan, and G. N. DeSouza
IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC), Jul. 2014
[pdf] [video] [bibtex]

Keywords: inverse kinematics, evolutionary algorithms, serial manipulators, parallel computing, Denavit-Hartenberg

From D-H to Inverse Kinematics: A Fast Numerical Solution for General Robotic Manipulators Using Parallel Processing
S. Farzan, and G. N. DeSouza
IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Nov. 2013
[pdf] [video] [bibtex]

Keywords: inverse kinematics, parallel computing, serial manipulators, Denavit-Hartenberg, POSIX threads

Teaching

I regularly teach undergraduate and graduate level courses and laboratories in the areas of Robotics, Mechatronics, Controls, and Embedded Systems. The list of recently developed courses is provided below.

Foundations of Robotics (RBE 500)

Fall 2021, Spring 2022, WPI

This course is concerned with fundamentals of robotics. Topics include forward and inverse kinematics, velocity kinematics, introduction to dynamics and control theory, sensors, actuators, probabilistic robotics, fundamentals of robotic vision, and robot ethics. Concepts in these subjects will be applied to robot manipulators and mobile robots. In addition, Robot Operating System (ROS) will be covered, and the concepts learned will be verified using realistic simulators.

Robot Control (RBE 502)

Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, WPI

This course explores the coupling between control theory and robotics through a balance of theory and application, and provides an in-depth coverage of control design for robotic manipulators and mobile robots. Topics include modeling of robot dynamics, linear and nonlinear control of robotic systems, robust and adaptive control, control of underactuated robots, and state-of-the-art advanced control concepts. Course projects will emphasize modeling, simulation and practical implementation of control systems for robotic applications.

Industrial Robotics (RBE/ME 4815, MFE 511)

Fall 2022, WPI

This course introduces students to robotics within manufacturing systems. Topics include: classification of robots, robot kinematics, motion generation and transmission, end-effectors, motion accuracy, sensors, safety systems, robot control and automation. The course is a combination of lecture, laboratory and project work, and utilizes industrial robots and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Through the laboratory work, students will become familiar with robotic programming (using a robotic programming language RAPID), the robotic teaching mode, and PLC programming. The experimental component of the laboratory exercise measures the motion and positioning capabilities of robots as a function of several robotic variables and levels, and it includes the use of experimental design techniques.

Unified Robotics III: Manipulation (RBE 3001)

Spring 2023, WPI

The focus of this course is on robotic arms and robotic manipulation, i.e. the coordinated motion of multiple actuators to execute complex manipulation tasks in the physical space. Topics of position and velocity kinematics will be discussed, and fundamental concepts of robot dynamics and control will be introduced. Additional course topics include motion planning and trajectory generation, vision-based tracking, error sources and propagation. The theoretical methods learned in the classroom will be applied during practical laboratory sessions, which will culminate in the construction and programming of a 3 DoF robotic manipulator. The necessary concepts for robot programming will be introduced in MATLAB and C++.

The Mechatronics Revolution: Fundamentals and Core Concepts

Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Georgia Tech and edX (co-developed with Jonathan Rogers)

In this course, students learn to harness the power of microcontrollers, sensors, and actuators to build useful and interesting robotic devices.

System Dynamics (ME 3017)

Spring 2018, Georgia Tech

Dynamic modeling and simulation of systems with mechanical, hydraulic, thermal, and/or electrical elements. Frequency response analysis, stability, and feedback control design of dynamic systems.

Service






Reviewer, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L)

Reviewer, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)

Reviewer, IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS)

Reviewer, IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology (TCST)

Reviewer, Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics (JGCD)

Reviewer, IEEE/CAA Journal of Automatica Sinica

Reviewer, IEEE Transactions on Artificial Intelligence (TAI)

Reviewer, American Control Conference (ACC)

Reviewer, International Conference on Informatics in Control, Automation and Robotics (ICINCO)

Technical Program Committee, IEEE Symposium on Computational Intelligence in Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies (CIRAT)

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