Hamsa Balakrishnan named MIT AeroAstro Associate Head

Hamsa Balakrishnan
AeroAstro Associate Head Hamsa Balakrishnan (W. Litant/MIT photo)
July 5, 2018

Hamsa Balakrishnan, an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, has been named the new associate department head.

A core responsibility of the associate head is leadership of the educational portfolio of the department. Hamsa will also be a key player in the department leadership team. In addition, she will continue to be an active member of AeroAstro’s Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Innovation.

In announcing Balakrishnan’s appointment, AeroAstro Interim Department Head Edward Greitzer said, “Hamsa has provided exemplary service to the department as chair of the Graduate Committee and of Undergraduate Advising.” He also acknowledged her work as the director of Transportation@MIT, an institute-wide effort to tackle the challenges of the world’s ever-increasing demand for transportation.
Balakrishnan’s research focuses on the design, analysis, and implementation of control and optimization algorithms for large-scale cyber-physical infrastructures, with an emphasis on air transportation systems. This include airport congestion control algorithms, air traffic routing and airspace resource allocation methods, machine learning for weather forecasts and flight delay prediction, and methods to mitigate environmental impacts. Her research spans theory and practice, including both algorithm development and real-world field tests.

Prior to joining the MIT faculty in 2007, Balakrishnan was a principal development engineer at the University Affiliated Research Center, UC Santa Cruz, and at the NASA Ames Research Center. She holds a PhD from Stanford University, and a B. Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.
Balakrishnan is a recipient of the American Automatic Control Council's Donald P. Eckman Award, the AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award, the inaugural CNA Award for Operational Analysis, and the NSF CAREER Award in 2008. She is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.