Karen E. Willcox
Director, Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences;
W.A. "Tex" Moncrief Jr. Chair in Simulation-Based Engineering and Sciences;
Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics;
Peter O'Donnell, Jr. Centennial Chair in Computing Systems
Karen E. Willcox is director of the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES), and professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, at The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining ICES in 2018, she spent 17 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she served as professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, founding co-director of the MIT Center for Computational Engineering, and associate head of the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Dr. Willcox holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and master's and Ph.D. degrees from MIT. Prior to becoming a professor at MIT, she worked at Boeing Phantom Works with the Blended-Wing-Body aircraft design group. Her research has produced scalable computational methods for design of next-generation engineered systems, with a particular focus on model reduction as a way to learn principled approximations from data and on multi-fidelity formulations to leverage multiple sources of uncertain information. These methods are widely applied in aircraft system design and environmental policy decision-making. Professor Willcox is currently co-director of the Department of Energy DiaMonD Multifaceted Mathematics Capability Center on Mathematics at the Interfaces of Data, Models, and Decisions. She leads an Air Force MURI on optimal design of multi-physics systems and an Air Force Data-Driven Dynamic Applications Systems project team that is developing a self-aware UAV. She has co-authored more than 90 papers in peer-reviewed journals and advised more than 40 graduate students, including 16 Ph.D. students.
In addition to her research pursuits, Dr. Willcox is active in education innovation. She is currently chair of the MIT OpenCourseWare Faculty Advisory Board. She served as co-chair of the MIT Online Education Policy Initiative and co-chair of the 2013-2014 Institute wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education. She is a recognized innovator in the U.S. education landscape, where she is a 2015 recipient of the First in the World Department of Education grant.
Professor Willcox is a fellow of SIAM, associate fellow of AIAA, and member of ASEE and ASME. She has served in multiple leadership positions within AIAA and SIAM, including leadership roles in the SIAM Activity Group on Computational Science and Engineering and in the AIAA Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Technical Committee. She is section editor of SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing and Associate Editor of AIAA Journal. She is a current member of the National Academies Board on Mathematical Sciences and Analytics, and has served on four National Academies studies. In 2017, she was awarded membership in the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM).
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