Prof. Karen E. Willcox

Karen E. Willcox is Director of the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) and a Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin. She holds the W. A. “Tex” Moncrief, Jr. Chair in Simulation-Based Engineering and Sciences and the Peter O'Donnell, Jr. Centennial Chair in Computing Systems. Prior to joining ICES in 2018, she spent 17 years as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she served as the founding Co-Director of the MIT Center for Computational Engineering and the Associate Head of the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Prior to joining the MIT faculty, she worked at Boeing Phantom Works with the Blended-Wing-Body aircraft design group. 

Willcox's research 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 multifidelity formulations to leverage multiple sources of uncertain information. Willcox is currently Co-director of the Department of Energy AEOLUS Multifaceted Mathematics Capability Center on Advances in Experimental Design, Optimal Control, and Learning for Uncertain Complex Systems. 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 and flight testing a self-aware UAV. She is also active in educational innovation, developing scalable network models that enable data-driven decisions in education.

Willcox has co-authored more than 90 papers in peer-reviewed journals and advised more than 45 graduate students. She is the recipient of a SIAM SIGEST paper award, two AIAA best paper awards, and several awards for both leadership and teaching. In 2017 she was appointed Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM). She has served in leadership positions within AIAA and SIAM, including leadership roles in the SIAM Activity Group on Computational Science and Engineering and the AIAA Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Technical Committee. She is a Fellow of SIAM and Associate Fellow of AIAA.

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