John Wen

Head, Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering
Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering
JEC 6052

John T. Wen is a Professor and the Head of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  He has a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering and Industrial and Systems Engineering.  He was the Head of Industrial and Systems Engineering from 2013-2018, Director of the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS) from 2005-2013, and the Interim Director of the NSF Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center (ERC) in 2009. 

As the Director of the CATS, a New York State designated Center for Advanced Technology, he successfully led the ten-year re-designation in 2009 . The CATS helped industry partners generate over $340M of economic impact in the state and over 900 new and retained jobs.  As the Interim Director of the Smart Lighting ERC from Jun-Dec 2009, he successfully led the first ERC annual review and recruited a permanent director to the center.   He was the Rensselaer representative on the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) 2.0 operating committee from 2013-2014. He led the Rensselaer participation in the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute, a Manufacturing USA Institute awarded by the Department of Defense in 2017.  He serves on the ARM Technical Advisory Council and co-leads with FuzeHub the ARM Mid-Atlantic Regional Robotics Innovation Collaborative (RRIC).  

He is the co-inventor of the Adaptive Scanning Optical Microscope (ASOM), which was licensed to Thorlabs in 2007.  The commercialized version of ASOM won the 2007 Laser Focus World Innovation Award in the Conference in Lasers and Electro Optics (CLEO).  He was awarded the 2013 IEEE Control Systems Society Transition to Practice Award.  He served as an Oversea Assessor for the Chinese Academy of Sciences from 2004-2009, and a Senior Visiting Scientist of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) in 1997.  He has been an IEEE Fellow since 2001.

John Wen joined Rensselaer faculty in 1988.  He was a member of technical staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory developing modeling and control algorithms for large space structures and space robots from 1985-1988.  From 1981-1982, he was a system engineer at Fisher Controls developing plant-wide coordination control system for pulp and paper plants. 

He received B.Eng. from McGill University in 1979, M.S. from University of Illinois in 1981, and Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1985, all in Electrical Engineering.

John Wen's research interest lies in the modeling and control of dynamical systems with applications to precision motion, robot manipulation, thermal management, lighting systems and materials processing.


Ph.D. Computer and Systems Engineering (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1985), M.S. Electrical Engineering (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981), B.Eng. Electrical Engineering (McGill University, 1979)

Focus Area

Robotics, Control Systems, Mechatronics

Selected Scholarly Works

Y. Peng, D.S. Carabis, J.T. Wen (2018). Collaborative Manipulation with Multiple Dual-Arm Robots under Human Guidance. International Journal of Intelligent Robotics and Applications, 2(2), pp. 252–266, 2018.

H. Bai and J.T. Wen (2018). Asymptotic Synchronization of Phase Oscillators with a Single Input. IEEE Transaction on Automatic Control, June, 2018

C. Okaeme, S. Mishra, J.T. Wen (2018). Passivity-Based Thermohygrometric Control in Buildings. IEEE Transaction on Control Systems Technology. 2018.

W. Qiao, J.T. Wen, A. Julius (2017). Entrainment Control of Phase Dynamics. IEEE Transaction on Automatic Control, 62(1), Jan, 2017, pp. 445-450.

Z. Yang, D.T. Pollock, J.T. Wen (2017). Optimization and Predictive Control of a Vapor Compression Cycle under Transient Pulse Heat Load. International Journal of Refrigeration, 75, Mar. 2017, pp. 14-25.

C. Zheng, G.P.S. Balasubramanian, Y. Tan, A.M. Maniatty, R. Hull and J.T. Wen (2017). Simulation, Microfabrication and Control of a Micro-Heater Array. IEEE Transaction on Mechatronics, 22(4), Aug, 2017, pp. 1914-1919.

L. Lu, J.T. Wen (2017). Human-Directed Coordinated Control of Assistive Mobile Manipulator. International Journal of Intelligent Robotics and Applications, 1(1), Feb, 2017, pp.104-120.

D.T. Pollock, Z. Yang, J.T. Wen (2015). Dryout avoidance control for multi-evaporator vapor compression cycle cooling. Applied Energy, Dec, 2015. pp. 266-285.

A. Julius, J. Zhang, W. Qiao, J.T. Wen (2016). Multi-input Adaptive Notch Filter and Observer for Circadian Phase Estimation. International Journal of Adaptive Control and Signal Processing, 30 (8–10), Aug–Oct, 2016. pp.1375–1388

S. Gupta, K. Kar, S. Mishra, J.T. Wen, “Collaborative Energy and Comfort Management Through Distributed Consensus Algorithms,” IEEE Transaction on Automation Science and Engineering, 12(4), Oct, 2015, pp.1285-1296.

J. Zhang, W. Qiao, J.T. Wen, A. Julius, “Light-Based Circadian Rhythm Control: Entrainment and Optimization,” Automatica, 68, June, 2016. pp. 44-55.

J. Tani, S. Mishra, J.T. Wen, “Motion Blur-Based State Estimation,” IEEE Transaction on Control Systems Technology, 2016.

Z. Yang, D.T. Pollock, J.T. Wen, “Gain-Scheduling Control of Vapor Compression Cycle for Transient Heat-Flux Removal,” Control Engineering Practice, 39, Jun 2015, pp. 67-89.

D. Kruse, J.T. Wen, R.J. Radke, “Sensor-Based Dual-Arm Tele-Robotic System,” IEEE Transaction on Automation Science and Engineering, 12(1), Jan, 2015, pp. 4-18.

J. Tani, S. Mishra, J.T. Wen, “Identification of Fast-rate Systems using Slow- rate Image Sensor Measurements,” IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, 19(4), Aug. 2014, pp. 1343–1351.

S. Afshari, S. Mishra, A. Julius, F. Lizarralde, J.D. Wason, J.T. Wen “Modeling and Control of Color Tunable Lighting Systems Energy and Buildings,” Energy and Buildings, 68(A), Jan, 2014, pp. 242-253.

D.T. Pollock, Z. Yang, J.T. Wen, Y. Peles, M.K. Jensen, “Model-Based Control of Vapor Compression Cycles Transient Heat-Flux Removal,” International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 77, Oct., 2014, pp. 662–683.

J. Catano, T. Zhang, J.T. Wen, M.K. Jensen, Y. Peles, “Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle for Electronics Cooling – Part I: Dynamic Modeling and Ex- perimental Validation,” International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 66, Nov 2013, pp. 922-929.

Z. Schilling, E. Frank, V. Magidson, J. Wason, J. Loncarek, K. Boyer, J. Wen, A. Khodjakov, “Predictive-focus illumination for reducing photodamage in live-cell microscopy,” Journal of Microscopy, pp. 160-167, 246(2), May, 2012.

T. Zhang, J.T. Wen, A. Julius, Y. Peles, M.K. Jensen, “Stability Analysis and Maldistribution Control of Two-Phase Flow in Parallel Evaporating Channels,” International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 54(25-26), Dec, 2011, pp. 5298– 5305.

J.D. Wason, J.T. Wen, J.J. Gorman, N.G. Dagalakis, “Automated Multi-Probe Microassembly using Vision Feedback,” IEEE Transaction on Robotics, 28(5), 2012, pp. 1090–1103.

T.Zhang, J.T.Wen, Y.Peles, J.E.Catano, R.Zhou, M.K.Jensen,"Two-Phase Refrigerant Flow Instability Analysis and Active Control in Transient Electronics Cooling Systems," International Journal of Multiphase Flow, 37(1), Jan, 2011, pp.84-89.

C.Scott, B.Potsaid, John T.Wen, "Wide Field Scanning Telescope using MEMS Deformable Mirrors," International Journal on Optomechatronics, 4(3), Sep, 2010, pp.285-305.

H.Bai, M.Arcak and J.T.Wen, "Adaptive motion coordination: using relative velocity information to track a reference velocity," Automatica, 45, 2009, pp.1020-1025.

H.Bai, M.Arcak, J.T.Wen, "An Adaptive Design for Reference Velocity Recovery in Motion Coordination," Systems & Control Letters, 57(8), August, 2008, pp.602-610.

B.Potsaid, J.T.Wen, M. Unrath, D. Watt, M. Alpay, "High Performance Motion Tracking Control for Electronic Manufacturing," ASME Journal on Dynamics, Measurement, & Control, 129(6), November,2007, pp.767--776.

B.Potsaid, Y.Bellouard, J.T.Wen, "Adaptive Scanning Optical Microscope (ASOM): a multidisciplinary optical microscope design for large field and high resolution imaging," Optical Express, 13(17), Aug., 2005, pp.6504-6518.

W.Gressick, J.T.Wen, J.Fish, "Order Reduction for Large-Scale Finite Element Models: A Systems Perspective," International Journal for Multiscale Computational Engineering, 3(3), 2005, pp.337-362.

B.-H. Kang, J.T. Wen, N.G. Dagalakis, J.J. Gorman, "Analysis and Design of Parallel Mechanisms with Flexure Joints," IEEE Transaction on Robotics, 21(6), Dec. 2005, pp.1179-1185.

H.Kang and J.T.Wen, "Design and Implementation of a Robotic Assistant in Minimally Invasive Surgeries," IEEE Magazine Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, 20(1), Jan/Feb, 2000. pp.94--104.

J.T.Wen, L.S.Wilfinger, "Kinematic Manipulability of General Constrained Rigid Multibody Systems," IEEE Transaction on Robotics and Automation, 15(3), June, 1999. pp.558-567.

C.Dickinson, J.T.Wen, "Feedback Control Strategies for Shape Memory Alloy Actuators," Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, 9(4), April, 1998, pp.242-250.

R.Beard, G.N.Saridis, J.T.Wen, "Approximate Solutions to the Time-Invariant Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman Equation," Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications, 96(3), March 1998, pp.589-626.

H. Bai, M. Arcak, J.T. Wen, Cooperative Control: A Systematic Passivity-Based Approach, Springer-Verlag, 2011.

Jiawei Yin, A. Agung Julius, John T. Wen (2021). Optimization of light exposure and sleep schedule for circadian rhythm entrainment. PLOS ONE, 16(6): e0251478, June 8, 2021.

David Carabis, Kimberly Oakes, John T. Wen (2021). Manipulation of Massive Objects in Space Using Flexible Joint Manipulators. AIAA Journal on Guidance, Dynamics, and Control, January 2021.

Shuyang Chen and John T. Wen (2021). Industrial Robot Trajectory Tracking Control Using Multi-Layer Neural Networks Trained by Iterative Learning Control. Robotics, 10(1):50, Special Issue on Robotics and AI, March, 2021.

Shuyang Chen, Zhigang Wang, Abhijit Chakraborty, Glenn Saunders, John Wen (2020). Robotic Deep Rolling with Iterative Learning Motion and Force Control. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 5581-5588, Oct. 2020.

Chengjian Zheng, John T. Wen, Mamadou L. Diagne (2020). Distributed Temperature Control in Laser-Based Manufacturing. ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, 142(6), June, 2020.

David S. Carabis and John T. Wen (2022). Trajectory Generation for Flexible-Joint Space Manipulators. Journal on Frontiers in Robotics and AI, section Space Robotics. January, 2022.

Yuan-Chih Peng, Shuyang Chen, Devavrat Jivani John Wason, William Lawler, Glenn Saunders, Richard J. Radke, Jeff Trinkle, Shridhar Nath, and John T. Wen (2021). Sensor-Guided Assembly of Segmented Structures with Industrial Robots. Applied Sciences, 11(6):2669, Applied Industrial Technologies Section, Special Issue on Advanced Robotics Applications in Industry, March 2021.

Jiawei Yin, Agung Julius, John T. Wen, John Hanifin, George Brainard (2021). Automatic Sleeping Time Estimation and Mild TBI Detection Using Actigraphy Data. Journal on Biomedical Signal Processing and Control, January, 2021.