Roy S. Smith


Automatic Control Laboratory
Department of Electrical Engineering
ETH Zurich
Physikstrasse 3
8092 Zurich

Office: ETL K 14.2

Phone: +41 44 632 8783

Photo: Roy Smith (photo
        credit: Nicola Spaldin)

Brief Biography

Roy Smith is a Professor in the Automatic Control Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH, Zurich) in Switzerland. From 1990 to 2010 he was on the faculty of the Electrical Engineering Dept. at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his undergraduate education at Canterbury University in New Zealand (1980) and a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology (1990).

His research interests include: the identification and control of uncertain systems, and distributed estimation, communication and control systems. His application experience includes: process control, automotive engines, flexible space structures, aeromanoeuvring Mars entry vehicles, formation flying of spacecraft, magnetically levitated bearings, high energy accelerator control, airborne wind energy and energy control for buildings. He has been a long time consultant to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory on guidance, navigation and control aspects of interplanetary and deep space science spacecraft.


Plenary speaker: IFAC 2018 Symposium on System Identification

Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), 2011.

Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), 2008.

Additional activities

In 1990 Professor Smith worked with the Kanchenjunga School Project development charity, installing solar powered vaccine refrigerators in a remote region of Nepal. Since 2007 he has been active with Engineers Without Borders, USA, advising a student group on engineering infrastructure designs for a remote village in Kenya. The infrastructure developed to date includes rainwater collection systems, electrification of a health clinic, borehole drilling, development of a well pump and water distribution system, and an incinerator for medical waste. Most years, since 2008, he has travelled with a team of students to a village on the shore of Lake Victoria, Kenya, to complete the installations.

Open PhD and Post-doctoral Positions

I have two open Ph.D. positions and one open Post-doctoral Researcher position. The research project is focused on modeling, identification and control of systems characterised by periodic behaviour. Both theoretical and application topics will be studied with the application work addressing several areas in the energy domain: multiple grid energy systems; autonomous kites for airborne wind energy; and thermoacoustic machines.

To apply please send, via email, the application materials listed on the IfA Open Positions webpage.


All of my IfA publications can be requested from the IfA database. Items listed as "submitted" will be downloadable after acceptance.