Silvia Ferrari

Silvia Ferrari

Adjunct Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Adjunct Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 144 Hudson Hall, Box 90300, Durham, NC 27708
  • Email Address:


  • Ph.D. Princeton University, 2002
  • M.A. Princeton University, 1999
  • B.S. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 1997

Research Interests

Design and analysis of methods and algorithms for learning and computational intelligence. Theory and approximation properties of network models, such as neural and probabilistic networks, for the purpose of enhancing their learning abilities and improving reliability. Approximate dynamic programming and optimal control techniques, with applications in adaptive flight control and mobile sensor networks. Application of expert systems and systems theory to psychological and cognitive modeling from data.


neural networks
Bayesian networks
Smart Technology

Courses Taught

  • ME 392: Undergraduate Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 492: Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 759: Special Readings in Mechanical Engineering

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Clawson, TS; Ferrari, S; Fuller, SB; Wood, RJ, Spiking neural network (SNN) control of a flapping insect-scale robot, 2016 IEEE 55th Conference on Decision and Control, CDC 2016 (2016), pp. 3381-3388 [10.1109/CDC.2016.7798778] [abs].
  • Wei, H; Lu, W; Zhu, P; Ferrari, S; Liu, M; Klein, RH; Omidshafiei, S; How, JP, Information value in nonparametric Dirichlet-process Gaussian-process (DPGP) mixture models, Automatica, vol 74 (2016), pp. 360-368 [10.1016/j.automatica.2016.07.018] [abs].
  • Lu, W; Zhu, P; Ferrari, S, A Hybrid-Adaptive Dynamic Programming Approach for the Model-Free Control of Nonlinear Switched Systems, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, vol 61 no. 10 (2016), pp. 3203-3208 [10.1109/TAC.2015.2509421] [abs].
  • Mazumder, P; Hu, D; Ebong, I; Zhang, X; Xu, Z; Ferrari, S, Digital implementation of a virtual insect trained by spike-timing dependent plasticity, Integration, the VLSI Journal, vol 54 (2016), pp. 109-117 [10.1016/j.vlsi.2016.01.002] [abs].
  • Ferrari, S; Foderaro, G; Zhu, P; Wettergren, TA, Distributed Optimal Control of Multiscale Dynamical Systems: A Tutorial, IEEE Control Systems Magazine, vol 36 no. 2 (2016), pp. 102-116 [10.1109/MCS.2015.2512034] [abs].