Sean P. Meyn

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Adjunct Professor
162 Coordinated Science Lab MC 228
1308 W. Main St.
Urbana Illinois 61801
(217) 244-1782

Primary Research Area

  • Control
Sean P. Meyn
Sean P. Meyn



Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, McGill University, 1987


Sean P. Meyn received the B.A. degree in Mathematics Summa Cum Laude from UCLA in 1982, and the PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from McGill University in 1987 (with Prof. P. Caines). After a two year postdoctoral fellowship at the Australian National University in Canberra, Dr. Meyn and his family moved to the Midwest. He is now Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Research Professor in the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois. He is an IEEE fellow.

Dr. Meyn has served on the editorial boards of several journals in the systems and control, and applied probability areas. He was a University of Illinois Vice Chancellor's Teaching Scholar in 1994; is coauthor with Richard Tweedie of the monograph Markov Chains and Stochastic Stability, Springer-Verlag, London, 1993; and received jointly with Tweedie the 1994 ORSA/TIMS Best Publication In Applied Probability Award. His new book, Control Techniques for Complex Networks is published by Cambridge University Press.

He has held visiting positions at universities all over the world, including the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore during 1997-1998 where he was a Fulbright Research Scholar. During his latest sabbatical during the 2006-2007 academic year he was a visiting professor at MIT and United Technologies Research Center (UTRC). His research interests include stochastic processes, optimization, complex networks, and information theory.

Research Interests

Markov processes (with or without control), spectral theory and large deviations

Stochastic approximation, reinforcement learning and simulation

Communication networks: capacity, control, and resource allocation

Detection and inference

Inventory models: control, visualization, and performance

Economics with applications to energy markets

For more information

Teaching Statement

I enjoy teaching - I am fortunate to teach in some of the most exciting areas of engineering: systems & control. However, I feel my main role is as a "coach". To become proficient in these areas requires practice - technical exercises and laboratory. I hope that my lectures help to make these exercises more exciting and relevant.

Research Statement

Professor Meyn's research interests have focused on control, simulation, adaptation, model reduction, and performance evaluation for complex systems. Methodological approaches are based on Meyn's research on Markov processes, stability theory, reinforcement learning, stochastic approximation, adaptive control, and optimization. Applications have ranged from communication networks to combustion in jet engines to molecular dynamics. Today, his applied research is focused on sustainable energy

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Past undergraduate research has included theoretical investigations of learning, and recently applications to the future energy grid.

Research Interests

  • Stochastic processes and Markov processes
  • Network control and performance evaluation
  • Simulation
  • Machine learning
  • Information theory
  • Systems theory

Research Areas


  • Fellow, IEEE, 2001
  • Fulbright Fellowship and Research Award, presented under the 1997-1998 Fulbright program in India.
  • ORSA-TIMS Award "Best Research Publication in Applied Probability, June, 1994
  • Australian National University Postdoctoral Fellowship - August 1987 - July 1989

Teaching Honors

  • Incomplete List Of Teachers Ranked As Excellent By Their Students, UIUC, Spring, 1997
  • Vice Chancellor's Teaching Scholars' Award, Fall 1994

Research Honors

  • University of Versailles Research Professor, May 25-June 24, 1999
  • Israeli research award sponsored by the Swiss Technion Society Visiting Professorship Fund.
  • Fulbright Fellowship and Research Award (Presented under the 1997-1998 Fulbright program in India.)
  • ORSA-TIMS "Best Publication in Applied Probability" award for book "Markov Chains and Stochastic Stability" (1994)

Courses Taught