John T. Wen

Head, Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering, Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering

John T. Wen is a Professor and the Head of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  He has a joint appointment in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering and Industrial and Systems Engineering.  He was the Head of Industrial and Systems Engineering from 2013-2018, Director of the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems (CATS) from 2005-2013, and the Interim Director of the NSF Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center (ERC) in 2009. 

As the Director of the CATS, a New York State designated Center for Advanced Technology, he successfully led the ten-year re-designation in 2009 . The CATS helped industry partners generate over $340M of economic impact in the state and over 900 new and retained jobs.  As the Interim Director of the Smart Lighting ERC from Jun-Dec 2009, he successfully led the first ERC annual review and recruited a permanent director to the center.   He was the Rensselaer representative on the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) 2.0 operating committee from 2013-2014. He led the Rensselaer participation in the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute, a Manufacturing USA Institute awarded by the Department of Defense in 2017.  He serves on the ARM Technical Advisory Council and co-leads with FuzeHub the ARM Mid-Atlantic Regional Robotics Innovation Collaborative (RRIC).  

He is the co-inventor of the Adaptive Scanning Optical Microscope (ASOM), which was licensed to Thorlabs in 2007.  The commercialized version of ASOM won the 2007 Laser Focus World Innovation Award in the Conference in Lasers and Electro Optics (CLEO).  He was awarded the 2013 IEEE Control Systems Society Transition to Practice Award.  He served as an Oversea Assessor for the Chinese Academy of Sciences from 2004-2009, and a Senior Visiting Scientist of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) in 1997.  He has been an IEEE Fellow since 2001.

John Wen joined Rensselaer faculty in 1988.  He was a member of technical staff at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory developing modeling and control algorithms for large space structures and space robots from 1985-1988.  From 1981-1982, he was a system engineer at Fisher Controls developing plant-wide coordination control system for pulp and paper plants. 

He received B.Eng. from McGill University in 1979, M.S. from University of Illinois in 1981, and Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1985, all in Electrical Engineering.

John Wen's research interest lies in the modeling and control of dynamical systems with applications to precision motion, robot manipulation, thermal management, lighting systems and materials processing.


Ph.D. Computer and Systems Engineering (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1985), M.S. Electrical Engineering (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981), B.Eng. Electrical Engineering (McGill University, 1979)

Research Focus
  • Robotics
  • Control systems
  • Mechatronics
Select Works
  • Y. Peng, D.S. Carabis, J.T. Wen (2018). Collaborative Manipulation with Multiple Dual-Arm Robots under Human Guidance. International Journal of Intelligent Robotics and Applications, 2(2), pp. 252–266, 2018.
  • H. Bai and J.T. Wen (2018). Asymptotic Synchronization of Phase Oscillators with a Single Input. IEEE Transaction on Automatic Control, June, 2018
  • C. Okaeme, S. Mishra, J.T. Wen (2018). Passivity-Based Thermohygrometric Control in Buildings. IEEE Transaction on Control Systems Technology. 2018.
  • W. Qiao, J.T. Wen, A. Julius (2017). Entrainment Control of Phase Dynamics. IEEE Transaction on Automatic Control, 62(1), Jan, 2017, pp. 445-450.
  • Z. Yang, D.T. Pollock, J.T. Wen (2017). Optimization and Predictive Control of a Vapor Compression Cycle under Transient Pulse Heat Load. International Journal of Refrigeration, 75, Mar. 2017, pp. 14-25.
  • C. Zheng, G.P.S. Balasubramanian, Y. Tan, A.M. Maniatty, R. Hull and J.T. Wen (2017). Simulation, Microfabrication and Control of a Micro-Heater Array. IEEE Transaction on Mechatronics, 22(4), Aug, 2017, pp. 1914-1919.
  • L. Lu, J.T. Wen (2017). Human-Directed Coordinated Control of Assistive Mobile Manipulator. International Journal of Intelligent Robotics and Applications, 1(1), Feb, 2017, pp.104-120.
  • D.T. Pollock, Z. Yang, J.T. Wen (2015). Dryout avoidance control for multi-evaporator vapor compression cycle cooling. Applied Energy, Dec, 2015. pp. 266-285.