I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, working in Ufuk Topcu's group. I am looking forward to starting my appointment as an assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, with a cross-appointment in the Coordinated Science Laboratory, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in January 2019.

Generally, my loyalties lie with control theory. At this time, I am most interested in the intersection of control and learning in complex environments. The broad question that I am currently exploring is: How to ensure safe behavior of systems operating in scenarios where only limited knowledge of the system and the environment are available? In particular, my recent work focuses on real-time control of systems with unknown dynamics, with the primary example of an aircraft that sustains significant damage mid-flight, and on control of systems in partially known environments through reinforcement learning. I am currently interested in developing a formal theory of deception, and analysis of deceptive strategies.

Research interests and biography aside, I take enormous joy in teaching. I am passionate about working with students and excited about learning and implementing novel approaches in education.

  • Ph.D. University of Toronto, 2017 (advisor: Mireille Broucke)
  • M.Sc. Queen's University, 2013 (advisor: Andrew Lewis)
  • B.Sc. University of Zagreb, 2011


Melkior Ornik

Postdoctoral Fellow


Office: Peter O'Donnell Jr. Building, POB 5.412

Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences

University of Texas at Austin