(last updated, September 2021)
Richard M. Murray received the B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from California Institute of Technology in 1985 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1988 and 1991, respectively. Murray's Ph.D. research focused on nonlinear dynamics and control of multi-fingered robot hands and robotic locomotion systems. He is a recipient of the Eliahu Jury prize, awarded by the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences for outstanding PhD research in systems theory.
Professor Murray returned to Caltech in 1991 as a member of the Mechanical Engineering faculty and was a co-founder of the Control and Dynamical Systems program. His early research interests included nonlinear control of mechanical systems with applications to aerospace vehicles and robotic locomotion, active control of fluids with applications to propulsion systems, dynamics and control of thin film growth, and nonlinear dynamical systems theory. Murray served as the principal investigator for an AFOSR-sponsored PRET (Partnerships for Research, Excellence, and Transition) Center in "Nonlinear Robust Control Theory with Applications to Aerospace Vehicles" and was a co-PI for a second PRET Center on Robust Nonlinear Control of Stall and Flutter in Aeroengines. His group's research during this period included development of theoretical tools for dynamics and control of Lagrangian systems, development of computational tractable algorithms for real-time trajectory generation and tracking for unmanned vehicles, and demonstration of active control techniques to control of rotating stall and surge in compression systems.
In 1998-99, Murray took a sabbatical in industry and was the Director of Mechatronic Systems at the United Technologies Research Center, where he managed a group of 80 engineers and scientists engaged in research on active control, sensing and actuation technology, embedded communications and computation, and harsh environment electronics. At United Technologies Corporation (UTC), Murray was a member of the Steering Committee for the Modeling, Analysis, Simulation and Computation (MASC) Initiative, a corporate-wide activity aimed at competitive differentiation of UTC's products and processes through effective use of modeling.
In June, 2000, Professor Murray was appointed as the Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) at Caltech. The EAS division is one of the six academic divisions at Caltech. At the time of his appointment, the division has 85 faculty, 330 undergraduates, and 458 graduate students, making it the largest on campus. In addition to his Caltech responsibilities, Professor Murray was the chair of an AFOSR-sponsored panel on Future Directions in Control and Dynamical Systems, a member of the United Technologies Corporate Advisory Group for Modeling, Analysis, Simulation and Computation, and a member of the DARPA Information Science and Technology Study Group (ISAT). He also served as a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board from 2002-2006.
Murray finished his service as EAS Division Chair in August 2005 and returned to his research and teaching activities, with a focus on the role of dynamics and feedback in information, biological and mechanical systems. His current research projects include work in verification and validation for distributed embedded systems, networked control systems, and biological circuit design. He was the faculty sponsor for Team Caltech, Caltech's entry in the DARPA Grand Challenge autonomous vehicle competitions in 2004, 2005 and 2007. He is also a founding faculty sponsor for Caltech's synthetic biology team, which participated in the international genetically engineered machines (iGEM) competition in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2014. In addition to his research activities, from 2006-2009 Murray served as the Director of the Information Science and Technology initiative at Caltech, a campus wide initiative in Information Science and Technology (IST) supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
In September, 2020, Murray was appointed as the Chair of the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering (BBE) at Caltech. The BBE division has 55 faculty, 70 undergraduates, 250 graduate students, 160 postdocs, and 200 research staff. As BBE division chair, Murray also served on the Resnick Sustainability Institute (RSI) Executive Steering Committee (2020-21) and the President's Diversity Council (2021-2023).
Professor Murray's professional awards include the Richard P. Feynman-Hughes Faculty Fellowship in 1993, awarded annually to an outstanding young faculty member in Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech, the National Science Foundation Early Faculty Career Development (CAREER) Award in 1995, the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 1995 and the Donald P. Eckman Award in 1997, awarded by the American Automatic Control Council (AACC = IEEE, ASME, AIAA, AIChE, AICE) to an outstanding researcher in control engineering under the age of 35. He is a Fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and holds an honorary doctorate from Lund University in Sweden. He has been a plenary speaker at the IFAC Symposium on Nonlinear Control Systems Design (1995), the SIAM Conference on Applications of Dynamical Systems (1996), the SIAM Conference on Control Theory and Its Applications (1998), the American Control Conference (1999, 2005), the European Control Conference (2003), the Asian Control Conference (2006), the International Federation on Automatic Control (IFAC) World Congress (2014), and the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (2016). He is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering (2013). Murray received the IEEE Bode Lecture Prize in 2016, the IEEE Control Systems Award in 2017, and the AACC John R. Ragazzini Education Award in 2019.
Murray has authored or co-authored over 200 articles in archival journals and refereed conferences, has received 3 patents, and has co-written three books: A Mathematical Introduction to Robotic Manipulation (1993), Feedback Systems: An Introduction for Scientists and Engineers (2008) and Biomolecular Feedback Systems (2014). He has supervised or co-supervised 70 PhD students and 30 postdocs. In 2006, Murray received the Richard P. Feyman award for excellence in teaching at Caltech.
Professor Murray serves or has served on numerous advisory committees for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University, the Department of Engineering at Cambridge University, the Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics and Astronautics departments at MIT, the Wyss Institute, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP). He served as co-chair of the NRC Committee on Science Technology and Law (CSTL) Forum on Synthetic Biology from 2013 to 2016, is a founding member of the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC), and chaired a National Academies consensus study on "Future Biotechnology Products and Opportunities to Enhance Capabilities of the Biotechnology Regulatory System" in 2016/17. Murray was a member of the Information Science and Technology (ISAT) study group from 2000-2003 and 2010-2016 (serving as chair from 2012-2014), served on the US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board from from 2002-2006 and was a founding member of the Defense Innovation Board, which advises the Office of the Secretary of Defense, from 2016-2020.