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Info for Prospective Grad Students & Postdocs

[Updated, August 2021]

  • I have openings for 4-5 PhD positions and an opening for one or two postdocs in my group at Vanderbilt.
  • The starting date for PhD students could be as early as Spring 2022 or Fall 2022. Postdocs can join immediately.
  • My research group conducts research in various aspects of cyber-physical, urban infrastructure. In particular, we are interested in network theory, optimization and control of dynamic systems with applications to basic infrastructures such as sustainable energy systems (control of power networks), drinking water networks (water quality and hydraulics related problems), and traffic systems (feedback control and estimation of the next generation of transportation networks).
  • The projects in my group are financially supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Research assistantships (and potentially teaching assistantships) are available for qualified students who would like to pursue a doctoral degree under my supervision.
  • To apply, you must have strong skills in some of the following areas.
    • Mathematics: multivariable calculus, analysis, linear algebra, probability and random variables
    • Control theory: a graduate-level understanding of linear systems theory is recommended, but hey: you can always take my class. 🙂
    • Basic background on optimization
    • Excellent programming skills
    • Good communication skills (we can always work on this together!)
    • Preference will be given to students from minority groups that are under-represented in STEM and to refugees. 
  • For PhD applicants: you do not need to be in civil/environmental engineering (you can pick your engineering major, although CEE @ Vandy is awesome and super multi-disciplinary!). You  need to show that you either have excellent qualifications or have published in good journals. Publications in mickey mouse journals do not count (they won’t hurt your application prospects but they won’t help it either). Sorry, I do not make the rules. 🙂
  • For postdoc applicants: you need to have at least 3-4 journal publications in excellent journals as a first author. Sorry, I do not make the rules. 🙂
  • I reserve the right to not respond to your email if
    • Your research or experience are in a completely different field (e.g., honey-making, astrophysics, Qur’anic studies, or molecular physics).
    • Your email includes a glorification of me. I dislike that and you should never do it when emailing professors. If you truly find my research interesting, then point to a specific model or formulation, rather than copy-pasting a paper title from my Google Scholar account. You can then point out what you’d do to make this paper/work more realistic, appealing, etc…
    • You mention that your university is ranked number X in country Y in field Z. Rankings are stupid.
  •  Please contact me at if interested. Attach your transcripts (undergrad and master’s if you have one), resume, and any publications (if you have any). Make your email sweet and short.