University of Texas at Austin
Karen E. Willcox




phone (512) 471-3312

office POB 4.102

office 2 POB 6.124A

Karen E. Willcox

Core Faculty GSC Faculty Leadership

Peter O'Donnell, Jr. Centennial Chair in Computing Systems

W. A. "Tex" Moncrief, Jr. Endowment in Simulation-Based Engineering and Sciences - Endowed Chair No. 5

Director Oden Institute

Lead Willcox Research Group

Associate VPR University of Texas at Austin

Professor Aerospace Engineering & Engineering Mechanics

Centers and Groups

Research Interests

Scientific Machine Learning Computational Engineering


Karen E. Willcox is Director of the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, Associate Vice President for Research, and Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin. She holds the W. A. “Tex” Moncrief, Jr. Chair in Simulation-Based Engineering and Sciences and the Peter O'Donnell, Jr. Centennial Chair in Computing Systems. Prior to joining the Oden Institute in 2018, she spent 17 years as a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she served as Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the founding Co-Director of the MIT Center for Computational Engineering, and the Associate Head of the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. She is also an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. Willcox holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and masters and PhD degrees from MIT. Prior to becoming a professor at MIT, she worked at Boeing Phantom Works with the Blended-Wing-Body aircraft design group.

Willcox's research has produced scalable computational methods for design of next-generation engineered systems, with a particular focus on reduced-order modeling as a way to learn principled physics-based approximations from data, multifidelity formulations to leverage multiple sources of information in decision-making and uncertainty quantification, and scalable methods for predictive digital twins. Her model reduction and multifidelity methods are widely applied across the scientific and engineering community, and have been incorporated into industry/government codes for aircraft system design and environmental policy decision-making. In 2022, Willcox was elected to the National Academy of Engineering "for contributions to computational engineering methods for the design and optimal control of high-dimensional systems with uncertainties." In 2017, she was awarded Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to aerospace engineering and education. In 2016, she was awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Auckland. Her professional accomplishments have been recognized through her election as a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and a Fellow of the US Association for Computational Mechanics (USACM). She is the recipient of the 2023 USACM J.T. Oden Medal. Her students and postdoctoral researchers have been recognized with many awards over the years, including multiple best paper and best student paper awards.

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