Mark W. Spong is the Donald Biggar Willett Professor of Engineering, Professor of General Engineering, and Research Professor in the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.His current interests include nonlinear control theory, mechatronics, and robotics.He received the B.A. degree, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, in mathematics and physics from Hiram College in 1975, the M.S. degree in mathematics from New Mexico State University in 1977, and the M.S. and D.Sc. degrees in systems science and mathematics in 1979 and 1981, respectively, from Washington University in St. Louis.In 1984 he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
At Illinois he is the Director of the College of Engineering Robotics and Automation Laboratory, which he founded in 1987, and Director of the John Deere Mechatronics Laboratory, which he founded in 1995.He has held Visiting Professorships at the University of Waterloo, Canada, the CINVESTAV del IPN, Mexico City,the Lund Institute of Technology,Sweden, the Laboratory of Automatic Control (LAG), Grenoble, France, the Technological University of Compiegne, France, the Katholiek University, Leuven, Belgium, The National University of Singapore, and the Technical University of Munich, Germany, and has served as a consultant to industry and government.
Professor Spong has received several awards including the Senior U.S. Scientist Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the O. Hugo Schuck Award from the American Automatic Control Council, the Distinguished Member Award from the IEEE Control Systems Society and the IEEE Third Millennium Medal. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and past Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Control System Technology.He served as Vice President for Publication Activities and a member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Control Systems Society and is President-Elect of the Society for 2004.He has published over 170 technical articles in control and robotics and is co-author of two books, Robot Dynamics and Control,John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1989 (with M. Vidyasagar) and Robot Control: Dynamics, Motion Planning, and Analysis, IEEE Press, 1992 (with F. Lewis and C. Abdallah). In addition, he is President of Mechatronic Systems, Inc., a company that he founded in 1996 to produce and market innovative laboratory experiments for control systems research and education. The experimental devices that he invented, including the Pendubot and the Reaction Wheel Pendulum, are now in use at more than 100 universities and research laboratories in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.