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Sam Burden

Assistant Professor
Robotics and Controls, Biosystems, Data Science
M442 ECE
Campus Box 352500
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
Phone: 206-221-3545
Research Web Page:


Sam Burden earned his BS with Honors in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2008. He earned his PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from the University of California in Berkeley in 2014, where he subsequently spent one year as a Postdoctoral Scholar. In 2015, he returned to UW EE (now ECE) as an Assistant Professor, where he has received awards for research (Young Investigator Program, Army Research Office, 2016; CAREER, National Science Foundation, M3X program, 2021) and service (Junior Faculty Award, UW College of Engineering, 2021), and where he currently serves as his Department’s (first) Associate Chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, helping to define and implement a sustainable and impactful strategy. Sam is broadly interested in discovering and formalizing principles of sensorimotor control. Specifically, he focuses on applications in robotics, neuroengineering, and (human-)cyber-physical systems.

Awards and Honors

Research Projects

Recent Publications

M. Yamagami, L. N. Peterson, D. Howell, E. Roth, and S. A. Burden. Effect of handedness on learned controllers and sensorimotor noise during trajectory-tracking. IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics (accepted, to appear), 2021. [ bib | DOI ]

M. Yamagami, K. M. Steele, and S. A. Burden. Decoding intent with control theory: Comparing muscle versus manual interface performance. ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) pp. 1--12, Apr. 2020. [ bib | DOI | .pdf ]

B. S. Banjanin and S. A. Burden. Nonsmooth optimal value and policy functions in mechanical systems subject to unilateral constraints. IEEE Control Systems Letters (L-CSS) 4(2):506--511, Apr. 2020. [ bib | DOI | .pdf ]

B. Chasnov, L. J. Ratliff, E. Mazumdar, and S. A. Burden. Convergence analysis for gradient-based learning in continuous games. ACM Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI), May 2019, arXiv:1905.09169. [ bib | arXiv | .pdf ]

A. De, S. A. Burden, and D. E. Koditschek. A hybrid dynamical extension of averaging and its application to the analysis of legged gait stability. The International Journal of Robotics Research (IJRR) 37(2-3):266--286, Feb. 2018. [ bib | DOI | .pdf ]

A. M. Pace and S. A. Burden. Piecewise--differentiable trajectory outcomes in mechanical systems subject to unilateral constraints. ACM Conference on Hybrid Systems: Computation and Control (HSCC), pp. 243--252, Apr. 2017. [ bib | DOI | .pdf ]


A. M. Johnson, S. A. Burden, and D. E. Koditschek. A hybrid systems model for simple manipulation and self-manipulation systems. The International Journal of Robotics Research (IJRR) 35(11):1354--1392, May 2016. [ bib | DOI | .pdf ]


S. A. Burden, S. S. Sastry, D. E. Koditschek, and S. Revzen. Event-selected vector field discontinuities yield piecewise-differentiable flows. SIAM Journal on Applied Dynamical Systems (SIADS) 15(2):1227--1267, 2016. [ bib | DOI | .pdf ]


L. J. Ratliff, S. A. Burden, and S. S. Sastry. On the characterization of local Nash equilibria in continuous games. IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control (TAC) 61(8):2301--2307, Aug. 2016. [ bib |DOI | .pdf ]


S. A. Burden, S. Revzen, and S. S. Sastry. Model reduction near periodic orbits of hybrid dynamical systems. IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control (TAC) 60(10):2626--2639, 2015. [ bib | DOI | .pdf ]


S. Revzen, S. A. Burden, T. Y. Moore, J.-M. Mongeau, and R. J. Full. Instantaneous kinematic phase reflects neuromechanical response to lateral perturbations of running cockroaches. Biological Cybernetics (BioCyber) 107(2):179--200, 2013. [ bib | DOI | .pdf ]


PhD students (current)

  • Ben Chasnov
  • Amber Chou
  • Maneeshika Madduri
  • Joey Sullivan
  • Joshua Vasquez
  • Momona Yamagami

PhD students (former)

  • Bora Banjanin (now Applied Scientist at AutoDevTech)
  • Andrew Pace (now Electrical Engineer at Visor Corp.)

MS students (former)

  • Jake Baldassini (now Officer in the US Coast Guard)
  • Liam Han (now Robotics Engineer at Amyris, Inc)
  • Tianqi Li (now PhD student at Texas A&M)
  • Yana Sosnovskaya (now PhD student at UW ECE)