Roy Smith

Roy Smith headshot

Roy Smith


Roy Smith has been an Adjunct Professor at the Automatic Control Laboratory in the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering since 2011.

He was born in Wellington, New Zealand, in 1958 and completed his B.E., Hons. (Electrical) and M.E. (Electrical) degrees at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, in 1980 and 1981 respectively.

Between 1981 and 1983, he worked as an electrical engineer on a series of projects for Victoria University, Wellington, and the New Zealand Energy Research and Development Committee; Worley Downey Mandeno Ltd; and the Institute of Nuclear Sciences in New Zealand. From 1983 to 1985, he was an electrical engineer and project manager for Olson Engineering Inc. in California, USA.

In 1985 he embarked on his postgraduate studies at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA, where he received an M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1986 and 1990 respectively. From 1989 to 1990, he was a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In 1990 he joined the faculty of the University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA, where he held the positions of Assistant Professor from 1990 to 1996, Associate Professor from 1996 to 2002, and Professor from 2002 to 2010. Professor Smith has also held Visiting Professor positions at the University of California, Berkeley, USA; the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India; Cambridge University, Great Britain; and the Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, Stockholm, Sweden.

Professor Smith was a consultant to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CA, USA, from 1990 to 1992 and from 1995 to 2006 on flexible space structures, aeromanoeuvering entry vehicles on Mars, and formation flying of science spacecraft in deep space. Between 1997 and 1998, he was a consultant to Motion Engineering, Inc., CA, USA, on the development of time-optimal motion control algorithms. He has also consulted for Musyn Inc, MN, USA and Integrated Systems Inc., CA, USA, on the development of automation design software. From 2008 to 2010 he was a consultant for LaunchPoint, CA, USA on the development of magnetically levitated bearings, and precision control and coordination algorithms for spacecraft.

Positions & Affiliations

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich