Sam Burden

Sam Burden

I am an Assistant Professor in Electrical & Computer Engineering at UW Seattle, and our Department’s (first) Associate Chair for DEI (DEI = Diversity, Equity, Inclusion).

I am co-director of the BioRobotics Lab and AMP Center, and am affiliated with the WRF-funded UW Institute for Neuroengineering (UWIN).

I am broadly interested in discovering and formalizing principles of sensorimotor control; I develop and employ data-driven methods and focus on applications in robotics, neuroengineering, and human-cyber-physical systems.

I’ve taught the following courses:

  • EE 447 (Control System Analysis) in Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021
  • AA/EE/ME 546 (Optimization and Learning for Control) in Spring 2018, Winter 2020, Winter 2022
  • AA/EE/ME 546 (Hybrid Systems: Theory, Computation, and Applications) in Spring 2017
  • AA/EE/ME 547 (Linear Systems Theory) in Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Winter 2021
  • AA/EE/ME 548 (Linear Multivariable Control) in Winter 2016, Winter 2017, Winter 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022
  • AA/EE/ME 594 (Robust Control) in Spring 2019

I keep my availability up-to-date on my calendar — I’m usually available in any open slot 9a–5p pt M–F.

I welcome suggestions for updates to my website.

I try to keep my CV up-to-date, but I suggest checking papers and talks for recent results.

I’m on arXiv, Scholar, ORCID, GitHub, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

I was born in a (formerly) little-known town on the (stunning) Olympic Peninsula.

I enjoy climbing, paddleboarding, and hiking.

I identify as a white hetero cis male, father, husband, and first-generation college graduate.

My pronouns are he/him/his.

brief bio

Sam Burden earned his BS with Honors in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2008. He earned his PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from the University of California in Berkeley in 2014, where he subsequently spent one year as a Postdoctoral Scholar. In 2015, he returned to UW EE (now ECE) as an Assistant Professor, where he has received awards for research (Young Investigator Program, Army Research Office, 2016; CAREER, National Science Foundation, M3X program, 2021) and service (Junior Faculty Award, UW College of Engineering, 2021), and where he currently serves as his Department’s (first) Associate Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, helping to define and implement a sustainable and impactful strategy. Sam is broadly interested in discovering and formalizing principles of sensorimotor control. Specifically, he focuses on applications in robotics, neuroengineering, and (human-)cyber-physical systems.


2021 — UW College of Engineering Junior Faculty Award

2021 — NSF CAREER – Mind, Machine, Motor Nexus (M3X)

2016 — ARO Young Investigator Program – Mechanical Sciences

2015 — Washington Research Foundation Early Faculty Fellow

2011 — UC Berkeley Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor

2009 — NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

2007 — COMAP MCM Outstanding Winner, MAA Prize

research program

I am always eager to recruit motivated and independent folks. If you’re interested in joining my group, I encourage you to get in contact with me. Ideally we’ll meet in person, e.g. at a conference, but we can also connect over email.

Before reaching out, look at my recent papers, talks, and/or videos below, and let me know (a) what ideas or problems you find particularly interesting and (b) how you would want to contribute.

On infinitesimal contraction analysis for tracking through contact-rich dynamics

I talked in a workshop on Impact-Aware Robotics organized by Yan Gu, Alessandro Saccon, and Abderrahmane Kheddar at IROS 2021.

Toward Telelocomotion: contact-rich robot dynamics and human sensorimotor control

I hosted my Department’s Colloquium series in Fall quarter of 2020 – this was my talk, which kicked off the series on Oct 6, 2020 (my birthday!).

Toward Telelocomotion: human sensorimotor control of contact-rich robot dynamics

I talked in the CMU Robotics Institute Seminar on Jan 17, 2020.

Why (or, more specifically, when) do feedforward inputs yield stable behaviors? (slides) (chalk talk)

At the 2018 Dynamic Walking meeting in Pensacola, FL, I gave a hybrid slideshow / “chalk talk” on our contraction theory results, which generated a lot of interesting discussions.

Toward Telelocomotion

I gave this talk on Sep 30 2016 at Microsoft Research in Redmond; I particularly enjoyed the lively discussion that took place throughout this talk!

Predictive dynamical models for sensorimotor control

I gave this talk on Nov 17 2015, shortly after starting as an Asst Prof in UW EE; it provides an overview of the work I did toward the end of my PhD and as a postdoc.

Reduction and Identification for Models of Locomotion: an Emerging Systems Theory for Neuromechanics

I gave this talk on Feb 18 2014, during my interview at UW EE; it provides an overview of my thesis work.