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Mark W. Spong

Dean, Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science
Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair in Electrical Engineering
Excellence in Education Chair
Professor of Electrical Engineering


DsC, Systems Science and Mathematics, Washington University, 1981
MS, Systems Science and Mathematics, Washington University, 1979
MS, Mathematics, New Mexico State University, 1977
BA, Mathematics and Physics, Hiram College, 1975


Dr. Spong's work has been instrumental in establishing the theoretical foundations of robot control, and the results he has produced over the past three decades have been implemented in systems at companies and research development facilities around the world, including Sandia National Labs in New Mexico and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. He has produced innovative solutions in robotics that have stood the test of time to become now-classic results in robotic control.

His work also led to the first practical solution of the problem of time-delay compensation in bilateral teleoperation, which was a major impediment to the development of undersea and space robots, and he was the first to show how poor performance in robot arms due to uncertainties and joint elasticity could be overcome with advanced nonlinear feedback control methods that he helped to develop.

Spong has also had a major impact on robotics education. He co-authored one of the most popular textbooks on robot dynamics and control, which is still in use after more than 20 years. In addition, he developed both hardware and software, marketed by a company he founded (Mechatronic Systems Inc.), which are being used by more than 200 universities around the world.

Research Interests

Nonlinear control theory with particular emphasis on application in robotics; passivity-based control in telerobotics; synchronization and coordination of networked robotic agents; bipedal locomotion


The Reaction Wheel Pendulum (Morgan & Claypool Publisher, 2007)
Robot Modeling and Control (John Wiley & Sons, 2005)
Robot Control: Dynamics, Motion Planning, & Analysis (IEEE Press, 1992)
Robot Dynamics and Control (John Wiley & Sons, 1989)