Jun Liu awarded renewed Canada Research Chair

Friday, June 10, 2022

Jun Liu

Jun Liu, an associate professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics, was named among this year’s Canada Research Chairs from the Government of Canada.

Liu’s research focuses on control and dynamical systems, with a specific interest in the control of robotics and machinery.

He was initially awarded a Canada Research Chair some five years ago, which has been renewed in 2022 as part of the Government of Canada’s latest research funding.

“One thing I’ve been working on through the first five years of the research chair, and that I’m going to continue with, is to safely bring machine learning components into control of robotic systems,” says Liu. “Some of my work finds practical applications in workplaces or on the factory floor, so I’m interested especially in safe AI when robots are working in close proximity to humans.”

Liu’s work also impacts development of control systems for legged robots, ground vehicles, aerial drones, and even solar panels. If it is a dynamic machine system that needs to be under control, it is of interest to Liu.

Along with the applied side of his research program, he is also involved in theoretical work that underpins the computational aspects of control and dynamical systems. His research lab is in many ways an interdisciplinary space, bringing together graduate students and researchers from math, computer science and engineering.

“I currently have a team of around 15 people in my lab, which includes postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and a few undergrads,” he continues. “Over the life of this Canada Research Chair so far, there have been over 30 different researchers who have benefited from the research program.”

The Canada Research Chair helps Liu to keep up a team of this size and attract outstanding students and researchers with different backgrounds and interests. He says the collaborations and engagements with his team and with his colleagues are instrumental in his research.

“It’s the people I work with that shape the ways I think about research,” he says. “I’m always interested in exploring new ideas. My research is driven by this curiosity and through the influence of all the brilliant people I’m surrounded by.”

Liu also says that his colleagues in the Department of Applied Mathematics have supported him every step of the way.

“The environment at Waterloo and the math faculty overall is a great place for someone like me who works in both theoretical and applied areas. I cannot think of a better place to do the kind of work I would like to be doing.”

Read more about the latest Canada Research Chairs in the Government of Canada’s news release.