Dr. Mario A. Rotea
Mechanical engineering department head and professor, affiliate professor of electrical engineering and materials science and engineering
Erik Jonsson Chair
Rotea's pursuit of intellectual challenges led him to apply his training as a control engineer to fields in modern society in need of advanced algorithms for control systems.
He spent 17 years at Purdue University as a professor of aeronautics and astronautics, where he continued the development of methods and tools for the analysis and design of control systems, developed new courses, and built interdisciplinary programs.
A theorist, Rotea found ways to apply his work to a variety of industrial applications by developing systems to control vibrations and noise from helicopters, to improve turbine engines and machine tools, to predict the thermal state of electric machines, and to control microfluid devices for uniform and tunable production of microdroplets.
Rotea's career includes two years as director of the Control Systems program at the National Science Foundation, where he set the direction for what types of basic research projects the agency would fund. He spent more than a year at the United Technologies Research Center, where he investigated the use of advanced control methods for different products, and two years as head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he expanded the department in the area of wind energy.
Rotea's most recent research focus has been on advanced control systems to improve the reliability of wind turbines and storage of energy from the wind.
His current priority at UT Dallas is building the mechanical engineering department. He has recruited faculty members renowned in the field, and strategically structured academic programs. Since he joined UT Dallas in 2009, the number of mechanical engineering students has more than doubled.
Rotea earned an electronic engineer degree from the Universidad Nacional de Rosario in Argentina, a master's degree in electrical engineering and doctoral degree in control science and dynamical systems from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Rotea is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Rotea was appointed to fill this chair in 2011, when it was established anonymously to support the research and scholarly activities of the faculty member to benefit the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
Immediately after completing his PhD, Rotea introduced a new mathematical framework for the rational design of control systems that optimize multiple objectives that might be competing with one another. His framework, based on convex optimization for solving control system design problems, revolutionized the field and was the foundation for the development of new tools for the computer-aided design of control systems.
"Through my work in academia, industry and the federal government, I have become a strategist who enjoys working with faculty, students and other stakeholders to create high-quality academic programs that deliver new knowledge to society and the talent to apply it."