The Jonsson School
Dr. Mark W. Spong

Mark W. Spong, DSc

Career Highlights

Developed the first robot that could play air hockey

Jonsson School Dean 2008 – 2017

Most Recent Awards

IEEE Bode Lecture Prize; Google Scholar List of Classic Papers; Hometown Technology Hero given by the City of Richardson, Texas; ASME Nyquist Lecturer Prize; IFAC Fellow; IEEE Robotics and Automation Pioneer Award

Books Authored or Co‑Authored

Robot Dynamics and Control, 1986; Robot Control Theory, 1992; Robot Modeling and Control, 2006; The Reaction Wheel Pendulum, 2007; Passivity-Based Control and Estimation in Networked Robotics, 2015

ASME Awards Spong Oldenburger Medal

Dr. Mark W. Spong

Career Highlights

Developed the first robot that could play air hockey

Jonsson School Dean 2008 – 2017

Most Recent Awards

IEEE Bode Lecture Prize; Google Scholar List of Classic Papers; Hometown Technology Hero given by the City of Richardson, Texas; ASME Nyquist Lecturer Prize; IFAC Fellow; IEEE Robotics and Automation Pioneer Award

Books Authored or Co-Authored

Robot Dynamics and Control, 1986; Robot Control Theory, 1992; Robot Modeling and Control, 2006; The Reaction Wheel Pendulum, 2007; Passivity-Based Control and Estimation in Networked Robotics, 2015

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has awarded Dr. Mark W. Spong, a professor in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, the ASME Rufus Oldenburger Medal in recognition of his lifetime achievement in the areas of control engineering research and education.

Spong is a world leader in robotics and control research and education. At UT Dallas, Spong is holder of the Excellence in Education Chair and is a professor of systems engineering and electrical and computer engineering.

“I am truly honored to have received this award from the ASME,” Spong said. “The list of past recipients of the Oldenburger Medal includes individuals that I have always admired as true giants of the control field. To be included among the list of past recipients is quite humbling indeed.”

Spong’s career is remarkable because he established theoretical foundations of robot control, as well as built machines to test and prove the theories. He has produced several textbooks including Robot Dynamics and Control, which is still one of the most popular on the topic more than 30 years after its publication. In 2017, Spong’s paper with a postdoctoral student, “Passive bilateral teleoperation with constant time delay,” made the list of Google’s ten most-cited papers in robotics that have stood the test of time.

His results have been implemented at companies and research development facilities around the world, including Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Hardware and software developed by Spong are used to teach robotics at more than 200 universities around the world.

“...for fundamental contributions... to the foundations for the control of robots and teleoperators; and for contributions to robotics education which have influenced several generations of students.”

2020 Citation for
Mark W. Spong

“Spong is a consummate educator, excelling in the classroom, lab and service to field,” said Dr. Stephanie G. Adams, Dean of the Jonsson School and holder of the Lars Magnus Ericsson Chair. “The Oldenburger Medal is a testament to his body of work. We are lucky to have him as a UT Dallas faculty member.”

Spong will receive the Oldenburger Medal at the 2020 ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Conference (DSCC) in October. His specific award citation is, “...for fundamental contributions... to the foundations for the control of robots and teleoperators; and for contributions to robotics education which have influenced several generations of students.”

Spong is one of two Jonsson School systems engineering faculty members who will be recognized at this year's DSCC. Dr. Reza Moheimani, holder of the James Von Ehr Distinguished Chair in Science and Technology, will receive the 2020 Charles Stark Draper Innovative Practice Award.

In 2008, Spong was recruited to UT Dallas to lead the Jonsson School, of which he oversaw transformative growth. Dean until 2017, enrollment increased from a little more than 2,700 students to over 7,000 students; four new departments were added; the number of faculty members, annual research expenditures and PhD production doubled; the number of endowed chairs and professorships tripled; two new buildings were added for research and education, and he created the corporate-sponsored, team-oriented capstone experience known as UTDesign®, which already has earned a tradition of winning national capstone and design awards.

Spong is a fellow of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and IFAC (International Federal of Automatic Control), and recipient of numerous other recognitions for his solutions. Among his professional awards are the Bode Lecture Prize from IEEE; the 2016 Nyquist Lecturer Prize awarded by the Dynamic Systems and Control Division of ASME; and the Pioneer Award given by IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. Among his service recognitions, is the city of Richardson, Texas, naming Spong a “hometown technology hero” and declaring Aug. 18, 2017, as Dean Spong Day.

Academic Experience

Education

BS in mathematics and physics, Hiram College, Ohio; MS in mathematics, New Mexico State University; MS in systems science and mathematics, Washington University, St. Louis; DSc in systems science and mathematics, Washington University, St. Louis

Research Interests

Control, robotics

Appointments

Assistant professor, electrical and computer engineering, Lehigh University; assistant professor, electrical engineering, Cornell University; director, center for Center for Autonomous Engineering Systems and Robotics, research professor, Information Trust Institute, research professor, Coordinated Science Laboratory, professor electrical and computer engineering, Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; founder and president, Mechatronic Systems Inc.; professor of systems engineering, electrical and computer engineering, Excellence in Education Chair, UT Dallas