Faculty members provide top-notch Systems Research and Teaching

A system is only as good as its parts and ability to work in tandem. A group of faculty members focused on systems research in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has fine-tuned their collaboration to provide top-notch systems research and teaching.


Professors Yaakov Bar-Shalom, Peter Willett, Shengli Zhou, and Shan Zuo are four primary faculty members in the systems faculty group, with additional members Peter Luh, Krishna Pattipati, David Kleinman, and Francesco Palmieri. The faculty group’s research expertise is broad, with projects spanning missile defense, airport surveillance, autonomous systems, communication systems, manufacturing systems, and more. While the research areas they touch are expansive, faculty members consistently look for ways to collaborate across their expertise on high-impact projects and teaching. 


“We have many joint projects across the systems group. We continually look for joint research and joint advising opportunities for our Ph.D. students,” said Bar-Shalom, who has collaborated on numerous projects with Willett, including ones with the Missile Defense Agency.


Similarly, Willett and Zhou consistently collaborate on course materials and curriculum innovation to limit interruptions to students learning. “We consistently converge our information. We share materials and experiences. So when one of us needs coverage, there is no gap and no disruption to students,” said Zhou.


The group’s longstanding collaboration exemplifies the department’s goals for innovative and cross-disciplinary research, and as new members join with additional expertise more becomes possible.


The group’s newest member, Zuo, joined in January and specializes in the growing field of networked autonomous systems. “There’s been a recent trend towards cooperation among networked autonomous systems research,” she said. “I’m looking forward to collaborating with the systems group and learning from their professional expertise and experiences.”


Faculty in the group have diverse research interests and numerous strategic partnerships that they leverage together to provide leading-edge research and learning opportunities for students.


“We hope to continue this tradition and maintain a very encouraging environment for collaboration within the systems group, with new members and more research areas,” said Zhou


Across the group, many of the faculty hold distinguished positions with IEEE and other organizations. Collectively, across the last 40 years, the systems faculty groups have held numerous titles, some including:


Six IEEE Fellows

Six editor-in-chief positions for various publications

24 editor or associate editor positions

Three IEEE Distinguished Lecturers

Six society vice presidents

One society president

One International Conference General Chair

Two IEEE Medals and Lifetime of Excellence award recipients


Meet the faculty:


Yaakov Bar-Shalom is a UConn Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, IEEE Fellow, and leader of the Estimation and Signal Processing Laboratory. His lab’s research focuses on using radar, sonar, or electro-optical sensors to extract the maximum amount of relevant information to monitor friendly or hostile targets moving in space, air, on land or underwater. Bar-Shalom’s projects have been sponsored by numerous government and industry partners, and he has published over 650 papers and eight books.


Peter Willett has been a faculty member in the department since 1986 and an IEEE Fellow since 2003. He has published 278 journal papers and 502 conference proceedings papers. Willett’s primary research area has been detection theory, and he has collaborated on numerous projects in statistical signal processing, machine learning, communications, data fusion, and tracking. Willett has also been editor-in-chief of numerous IEEE publications throughout his career.


Shengli Zhou is an IEEE fellow and runs the Wireless Communication Research Lab. His lab focuses on research in wireless communication and networking across platforms, including wireless radio, underwater acoustics, and optical wireless communication. Zhou is a recognized expert in wireless communications with over 270 publications and projects sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation.


Shan Zuo joined UConn in 2022 and is the faculty leader of the Distributed Decision-Making and Learning Lab. Her goal with her lab is to design and analyze reliable and resilient distributed autonomous systems using innovative mathematics, including control theory and machine learning. While early in her career, Zuo already has 20 papers published in top-tier journals, including IEEE publications.

By Ryley McGinnis


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