Control and Intelligent Robotics Laboratory (CIRL) focuses on developing intelligent and (semi-)autonomous systems through the integration of control theory, machine learning, and formal methods. At CIRL, we aim to build trustworthy systems in complex decision making and dynamic environments, in coordination with or under the supervision of human operators. The research contains several main areas: (1) Provably correct and scalable control design under complex mission specifications; (2) learning-enabled adaptive control and decision-making; (3) compositional reasoning and game-theoretic planning for autonomous agents.

Lab Director:

Dr. Jie Fu is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Robotics Engineering, with affiliation to Electrical and Computer Engineering, at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, USA since 2016. She received the M.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering and Automaton from Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, China, in 2009, and the Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA, in 2013. From 2013 to 2015, she was a Postdoctoral Scholar with the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include Control theory, Formal methods, Game theory, with applications to Robotic systems and Cyber-Physical Systems.


  • March. 2021: Our lab is awarded funding $420k for three years from Army Research Office on the Project titled: “Verification and Synthesis of Assured Dynamic Cyber Defense with Deception and Counter Deception”. This research aims to investigate security in cyber networks and networked robotic systems using formal methods and game theory. Please reach out to Dr. Fu if you are interested in research opportunities on this topic.
  • March. 2021: Two papers are accepted to ICRA2021. “Attention-Based Planning with Active Perception” (arXiv:2012.00053 [cs.RO])and “Semantic SLAM with Autonomous Object-Level Data Association”, arXiv:2011.10625 [cs.RO]”.
  • Nov. 2020: Our PI Jie Fu has received the 2021 Airforce Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Research Award: The project is titled “Toward Preference-Aware Autonomy: Specification, Synthesis, and Interactive Planning”. More description and project webpage will be available soon! Please reach out to Dr. Fu if you are interested in research opportunities on this topic.
  • Sept. 2020: Our paper titled “Decoy Placement Games on Graphs with Temporal Logic Objectives” is accepted to GameSec 2020. The preprint can be found at ArXiv link.
  • Aug. 2020: Receive NSF National Robotics Initiative (NRI) award, “Collaborative Research: NRI: INT: Transparent and Intuitive Teleoperation Interfaces for the Future Nursing Robots and Workers”, PI: Jane Li, Co-PI: Cagdas Onal, Jie Fu, Jeanine Skorinko and Yunus Telliel; $731,329, 2020/09/01-2023/08/31). The interdisciplinary project is in collaboration with the Nursing Department of Worcester State University.
  • July, 2020: Our paper titled ” Learning to Locomote with Deep Neural-Network and CPG-based Control in a Soft Snake Robot” is accepted to  2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2020)
  • July, 2020: Our paper titled “Deceptive Labeling: Hypergames on Graphs for Stealthy Deception” is accepted to IEEE Control Systems Letters (L-CSS)  and presentation at IEEE CDC2020. Based on the insight from this paper, we are looking into design defense with deception for cyber security applications and robotic applications.
  • May, 2020: Our paper titled ‘‘Deceptive Strategy Synthesis under Action Misperception in Reachability Games’’ is accepted to IJCAI2020. The paper is one of our key research efforts for constructing a hypergame framework for games with temporal logic objectives and asymmetric information.
  • April, 2020: Paper titled “A Receding-Horizon MDP Approach for Performance Evaluation of Moving Target Defense in Networks” is accepted for presentation at, and publication in the proceedings of,  2020 IEEE Conference on Control Technology and Applications (CCTA2020).
  • July, 2019: Papers titled “Topological Approximate Dynamic Programming under Temporal Logic Constraints” and “Opportunistic Synthesis in Reactive Games under Information Asymmetry” are accepted for presentation at, and publication in the proceedings of, the 58th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC 2019).
  • June 9th, 2019, Our lab participated in the TouchTomorrow event again at WPI. We performed demos with soft snake robot that interacts with other mobile agents. A lot of little kids joined us and had a lot of fun with our little snake and the mobile robot from the NEST Lab. Some pictures taken during the event can be found here. Looking forward to having more exciting demos and fun interactions next year!
  • Jan, 2019: Papers titled “Approximate Dynamic Programming with Probabilistic Temporal Logic Constraints” and “Compositional Planning in Markov Decision Process: Temporal abstraction meets generalized logic composition” are accepted for presentation at, and publication in the proceedings of, the 2019 American Control Conference. 
  • Jan, 2019: Paper titled “A Validated Physical Model For Real-Time Simulation of Soft Robotic Snakes” is accepted for presentation at, and publication in the proceedings of, the 2019 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation.
  • Dec. 7st, 2018. SHADOW project is funded by DARPA SI3-CMD, in collaboration with Scientific Systems (SSCI).
  • Dec. 1st, 2018. We have a funded position for a Master student for six months to work on game theory, control, AI, and formal methods. If you are interested in this position, please send an email to Dr.Fu with your CV and a brief description of your past research experience. 
  • June 9th, 2018, Our lab participated in the TouchTomorrow event at WPI. We performed demos with 1/10-scale self-driving race car that interacts with other mobile agents, including little kids. Here are some group pictures with members from CIRL and HIRO Labs. Looking forward to having more exciting demos and fun interactions next year!
  • May 2018, Nolan Poulin successfully defended his MS thesis titled “Proactive Planning through Active Policy Inference in
    Stochastic Environments”.
  • Jan 2018: Received WPI Engineering Seed Fund with Prof. Xinming Huang and Prof. Andrew Clark: “Building a Globally Recognized Research Lab on Autonomous Vehicles and AI. “
  • Jan, 2018: Paper titled “A Compositional Approach to Reactive Games under Temporal Logic Specifications” is accepted for presentation at, and publication in the proceedings of, the 2018 American Control Conference.
  • Sep. 2017. Siddharthan Perundurai Rajasekaran successfully defended his MS thesis titled “Nonparametric Inverse Reinforcement Learning and Approximate Optimal Control with Temporal Logic Tasks”. Congratulations, Siddharthan.
  • Aug. 2017. Received NSF Grant as Co-PI with Prof. Cagdas Onal (PI) on project “Intelligent Soft Robot Mobility in the Real World”.

Join The Team:

CIRL is looking for talented graduate students. We are looking for both MS and PhD students who are interested in control theory and its applications to robotics. We also interested in students who have a background in reinforcement learning and automata/language theory. If you are interested in joining the team, please contact us.

Note for Interested Undergraduate Students:

CIRL is always looking for enthusiastic undergraduate students. Please use MQP project search ( to discover the recent project opportunities with CIRL for senior course projects.

Our research is funded by:


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