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

  • 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 Z├╝rich. (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.
  • Aug 30, 2021: I am teaching a new course this semester, ME 7247: Advanced Control Systems. I will post course materials to the public at the end of the semester!
  • 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.
  • Apr 22, 2021: Akhil Sundararajan successfully defended his thesis! Congrats Akhil!
  • Jan 8, 2021: Saman Cyrus successfully defended his thesis! Congrats Saman!
  • Jan 6, 2021: New preprint on robust stabilization, with Saman Cyrus! See blog post and Twitter thread.
  • Aug 24, 2020: Big news! I have moved to Northeastern University! I am now an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering (with courtesy appointments in ECE and CS). I’m excited for this next chapter in my life and career here in Boston. Interested in joining my research group? Contact me!


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.


205 Snell Engineering Center
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115