Associate Professor

Contact InformationStephen L. Smith

Phone: 519-888-4567 x31215
Location: E5 5112


Biography Summary

Stephen L. Smith is an Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo, the Canada Research Chair in Autonomous Systems, and the Director of the Autonomous Systems Laboratory. He is a licensed Professional Engineer (PEng) by the Professional Engineers Ontario and is a Senior Member of the IEEE. He is currently an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems and the Co-chair the 30th IEEE International Conference on Robot & Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN 2021). Previously he was a postdoctoral researcher in the Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT.

Professor Smith's research group focuses on control, learning, and optimization for autonomous systems and robotics. Through this research he collaborates with several industrial partners in robotics and transportation systems and have designed control, optimization, and autonomy for improving efficiency in applications including future urban mobility systems, underwater ocean monitoring, and industrial robotic cleaning.

Research Interests

  • Autonomous systems
  • Robotics
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Human-robot interaction
  • Multi-robot systems
  • Machine learning
  • Control theory
  • Distributed and coordinated control
  • Optimization
  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Intelligent transportation systems


  • 2009, Doctorate, Mechanical Engineering, University of California
  • 2005, Master of Applied Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto
  • 2003, Bachelor of Applied Science, Engineering Physics, Queen's University


  • ECE 202 - Information Session
    • Taught in 2020
  • ECE 380 - Analog Control Systems
    • Taught in 2016, 2018, 2019
  • ECE 406 - Algorithm Design and Analysis
    • Taught in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020
  • ECE 499 - Engineering Project
    • Taught in 2016
  • ECE 686 - Filt Cont Stoch Lin Systems
    • Taught in 2017, 2019, 2020
  • ECE 780 - Special Topics in Control
    • Taught in 2017
* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Wilde, Nils and Blidaru, Alexandru and Smith, Stephen L and Kulić, Dana, Improving user specifications for robot behavior through active preference learning: Framework and evaluation, The International Journal of Robotics Research, 39(6), 2020, 651 - 667
  • Sadeghi, Armin and Asghar, Ahmad Bilal and Smith, Stephen L, Approximation algorithms for distributed multi-robot coverage in non-convex environments, arXiv preprint arXiv:2005.02471, 2020
  • MacDonald, Ryan A and Smith, Stephen L, Active Sensing for Motion Planning in Uncertain Environments via Mutual Information Policies, The International Journal of Robotics Research, 38(2-3), 2019, 146 - 161
  • Wilde, Nils and Kulic, Dana and Smith, Stephen L, Bayesian Active Learning for Collaborative Task Specification Using Equivalence Regions, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 4(2), 2019, 1691 - 1698
  • Imeson, Frank and Smith, Stephen L, An SMT-Based Approach to Motion Planning for Multiple Robots With Complex Constraints, IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 35(3), 2019, 669 - 684
  • Gharesifard, Bahman and Smith, Stephen L, Distributed submodular maximization with limited information, IEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems, 5(4), 2017, 1635 - 1645
  • Asghar, Ahmad Bilal and Smith, Stephen L, A Patrolling Game for Adversaries with Limited Observation Time, Decision and Control (CDC), 2018 IEEE 57th Conference on, 1 2018, 3305 - 3310

Graduate Studies