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Mario Rotea

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Mario A. Rotea

Engineer and Educator

Dr. Rotea is the holder of the Erik Jonsson Chair in Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he is also the department head of Mechanical Engineering. Rotea joined UT Dallas in 2009 to serve as the inaugural head of the then newly-created mechanical engineering department. He directed the departmentís rapid growth, increasing student enrollment from 10 students to more than 1000 students. In 2014 he co-founded WindSTAR, a National Science Foundation center aimed at bringing together academia and industry to advance wind energy through industry-relevant research and education.

Rotea spent 17 years at Purdue University as a professor of aeronautics and astronautics, developing and teaching methods for the analysis and design of control systems. His career includes a term as the director of the Control Systems Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF), where he stimulated transformative research in control systems and co-authored federal solicitations for research at the interface of engineering, computer sciences, and mathematics (DDDAS, EFRI). He also worked for the United Technologies Research Center as senior research engineer on advanced control systems for helicopters, gas turbines, and machine tools. Rotea was also the 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 and healthcare systems. Most recently, he returned to the NSF to serve as division director of Engineering Education and Centers. In this role, he was responsible for a budget exceeding $100 million to fund the signature Engineering Research Centers Program as well as innovations in engineering education, workforce development and broadening participation. During his tenure as division director, he served as co-lead of the NSF-wide initiative INCLUDES: Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science.

He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for contributions to robust and optimal control of multivariable systems. He authored or coauthored over 130 archival and conference publications. His publications, cited over 1,500 times according to Web of Science (more than 3000 citations in Google Scholar), have influenced the development of CAD tools for control systems design and inspired the application of robust control algorithms to mechanical, aerospace and energy systems. His current research interests are in monitoring and control of wind energy systems.

Rotea graduated with a degree in electronic engineering from the University of Rosario in 1983. He received a masterís degree in electrical engineering in 1988 and his Ph.D. in control science and dynamical systems in 1990 from the University of Minnesota. Rotea was awarded the NSF Young Investigator Award, the Purdue Seed for Success Award, and the CT Sun School of Aeronautics & Astronautics Excellence in Research Award. He has been a member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Control Systems Society.