The American Society of Mechanical Engineers Selects Maurizio Porfiri as Outstanding Young Investigator

NYU-Poly Professor Cited for Contributions to Collective Dynamics, Biomimetic Robot Fish

Professor Porfiri talking to students in lab

Brooklyn, New York—Maurizio Porfiri, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly), has been named the ASME Dynamic Systems and Controls Division 2013 Outstanding Young Investigator Award for his contributions to biomimetic underwater robotics and collective dynamics of networked dynamical systems.

Porfiri’s most widely known research centers on biomimetic robotic fish to aid the understanding of animal collective behavior and may someday result in robots that could lead live fish away from dangerous areas. Beyond his fundamental contribution to this emerging domain of ethorobotics, Porfiri has made substantial contributions to the field of network theory, dynamical systems, and multiphysics modeling of complex systems.

“We congratulate Dr. Porfiri for this recognition of his groundbreaking work on underwater robotics and his exploration of the problem using dynamical systems theory,” said NYU-Poly President Katepalli Sreenivasan. “His research, teaching, mentoring, and outreach to K-12 students have been inspiring, and it is gratifying to see his talents acknowledged externally by a respected organization like the ASME.”

Earlier this year, the ASME awarded Porfiri its Gary Anderson Early Achievement Award for his contributions to the field of smart structures and materials. In 2010, Popular Science included him in its “Brilliant 10” list—an elite group of scientists under the age of 40 whose work stands to dramatically impact their fields. The editors of the magazine named him the “Water Wizard” for his work on the biologically inspired robots that might influence animal behavior in nature.

Porfiri previously received a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award, in 2008. The CAREER awards advance the research of promising young scientists and engineers. He received the Young Alumnus Award from the College of Engineering of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a doctorate in engineering mechanics. He also holds a doctorate in theoretical and applied mechanics from Sapienza University of Rome.

The Outstanding Young Investigator Award will be presented at the sixth annual Dynamic Systems and Control Conference, sponsored by the Dynamic Systems and Control Division (DSCD) of the ASME, founded as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The conference will take place October 21-23, 2013, at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California.

Dynamic systems and control is a fast growing and pervasive engineering field. The ASME DSCD encompasses all aspects of the modeling, design, and control of physical systems involving forces, motions, the dynamics and control of mechanical, chemical, biological, and human-related systems, plus transportation, energy, robotics, manufacturing, processing, environmental, computational, and man-machine systems. ASME includes more than 130,000 members in 158 countries.

Watch Robotic Fish Research Videos here