Laurent Lessard

Associate Professor

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Institute for Experiential AI (core faculty)
Electrical and Computer Engineering (by courtesy)
Khoury College of Computer Sciences (by courtesy)
Northeastern University

Contact Information

The best way to reach me is via email:

Recent News

  • Apr 5, 2024: I gave a talk at École Polytechnique in Paris on the topic of distributed optimization algorithms.
  • Dec 13–15, 2023: Attended the Conference on Decision and Control in Singapore (blog post).
  • May 18, 2023: I gave a talk at Stanford’s ISL Colloquium series (link)
  • Jan 6, 2023: Excited to welcome Omar to the group!
  • Dec 5–9, 2022: Attended the Conference on Decision and Control in Cancún, Mexico (blog post).
  • Sep 9, 2022: Excited to welcome Guilherme, Milad, Mohammad, and Matthew to the group!
  • Jun 1, 2022: My new article titled: “The Analysis of Optimization Algorithms: A Dissipativity Approach” appeared in the June 2022 issue of the IEEE Control Systems Magazine. Read about it in my new blog post.
  • May 23, 2022: I gave a talk at the NCCR Automation Symposium on the Systems Theory of Algorithms at ETH Zürich. (blog post and slides and video)
  • Feb 9, 2022: I wrote a blog post about Wordle! A deep-dive into heuristics and optimal strategies for the popular word game. What is the best first word? Is it possible to guarantee a win in 5 moves? What about 4 moves? Find out!
  • Jan 21, 2022: I served as the thesis opponent for a Ph.D. defense at Lund University in Sweden! (blog post)
  • Dec 20, 2021: Lecture slides and materials are now online for ECE 204: Data Science & Engineering. This is an undergrad data science class with Python that I created and taught at UW-Madison. Decided to make it public!
  • Dec 19, 2021: Lecture notes for my new course, ME 7247: Advanced Control Systems are now online.
  • Nov 11, 2021: I gave a talk at the University of Michigan about my recent preprint with Bryan Van Scoy (see Sep 10 news item). video and slides available!
  • Sep 10, 2021: New preprint with Bryan Van Scoy on the speed-robustness trade-off for optimization algorithms with additive gradient noise. Read my blog post for a summary.
  • May 3, 2021: I have decided to make my course notes for ME 4555 available to the public. This is an undergraduate course in classical control theory, and includes several interactive demos. I will continue to improve them over time.


Laurent Lessard is an Associate Professor of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University, with courtesy appointments in ECE and CS. Before joining Northeastern, Laurent was a Charles Ringrose Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a Faculty Member at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. Laurent received the B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto, and received the M.S. and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University, advised by Sanjay Lall and co-advised by Matthew West. After completing his doctoral work, Laurent was an LCCC Postdoc at Lund University, Sweden, where he worked with Anders Rantzer. Subsequently, Laurent was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked in the Berkeley Center for Control and Identification with Andrew Packard and also collaborated with Ben Recht and others in the AMPLab. While at Berkeley, he was also partially supported by Kameshwar Poolla. Laurent is a recipient of the Hugo Schuck best paper award and the NSF CAREER award. His research interests include: decentralized control, robust control, optimization, and machine learning.


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