Karen E. Willcox

Director, Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences
Karen E. Willcox is Director of the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences and a Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, at the University of Texas at Austin. She holds the W. A. “Tex” Moncrief, Jr. Chair in Simulation-Based Engineering and Sciences and the Peter O'Donnell, Jr. Centennial Chair in Computing Systems. Prior to joining the Oden Institute in 2018, she spent 17 years as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she served as Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the founding Co-Director of the MIT Center for Computational Engineering, and the Associate Head of the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.


Research Interests: 

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. 

Select Publications

Baker, N., Alexander, F., Bremer, T., Hagberg, A., Kevrekidis, Y., Najm, H., Parashar, M., Patra, A., Sethian, J., Wild, S., and Willcox, K. Workshop Report on Basic Research Needs for Scientific Machine Learning: Core Technologies for Artificial Intelligence, February 2019. United States. doi:10.2172/1478744. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1478744.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Assessing the Risks of Integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25143.

Willcox, K., Sarma, S., Lippel, P. Online Education: A Catalyst for Higher Education Reforms.Final report of the MIT Online Education Policy Initiative, April 2016.

Final report of the Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education, July 2014.

Alexander, F., Anitescu, M., Bell, J., Brown D., Ferris, M., Luskin, M., Mehrotra, S., Moser R., Pinar, A., Tartakovsky, A., Willcox, K., Wright, S., Zavala, V. A Multifaceted Mathematical Approach for Complex Systems, Report of the DOE Workshop on Mathematics for the Analysis, Simulation, and Optimization of Complex Systems, September 2011.

Awards & Honors

2019 - AIAA Fellow
2018 - SIAM Fellow
2018 - NeurIPS paper “Contour location via entropy reduction leveraging multiple information sources” selected for Spotlight Presentation (3% of submissions)
2017 - Best Paper Award, “Towards a Low-Order Model for Transonic Flutter Prediction,” AIAA Theoretical Fluid Mechanics Conference, AIAA Aviation Forum
2017 - Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit
2016 - Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Auckland
2013 - SIAM SIGEST Award for paper “Goal-oriented inference: Approach, linear theory, and application to advection diffusion"
2010 - Sir Peter Blake Trust Emerging Leader Award
2008, 2013 - AIAA MDO Technical Committee Service Award
2006 - J. T. Oden Faculty Research Fellow, University of Texas at Austin