Funded MASc Positions in Optimization and Control

Multiple graduate student positions are available in the Algorithms Optimization and Control Lab (AOCL) at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

About the Lab

The AOCL works broadly at the intersection of control, optimization, and computing. We apply control, optimization, game-theory and machine learning to solve problems in energy, manufacturing, robotics, and aerospace. Day-to-day work in the lab generally involves a lot of math, programming, and modelling.

We are hosted within the Department of Mechanical Engineering on UBCs Point Grey campus on the unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people, surrounded by forest, ocean and mountains. Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the most diverse cities in Canada, and one of the most livable cities in the world. The lab offers a friendly and stimulating environment and the opportunity to become an expert in control, optimization, and computing while solving meaningful engineering problems.

Project Descriptions

Optimal control of 3D printers

3D printers are capable of producing intricate geometries and are widely used to produce high-value parts e.g., for biomedical or aerospace systems. Unfortunately, 3D printers have complex physics and can be unreliable; they often need to be extensively tuned for each new part. This project seeks to make 3D printers more reliable using optimization and closed-loop control.

Controlling Large-scale Smart Infrastructure Systems

Our society is underpinned by large-scale infrastructure systems (e.g., energy grids, supply chains, transportation networks, smart buildings) that are rapidly incorporating sensing, actuation, and communication technologies. This project seeks to build controllers that will make our key infrastructures smarter, more sustainable, and more resilient using tools from optimization and game theory.

Game-theoretic planning for multi-agent robotic systems

Many modern applications (e.g., autonomous driving) require robots to interact with other (possibly human) agents in unstructured environments. Doing so successfully requires the ability to reason about how their actions will influence the behaviour of others. This project seeks to endow autonomous robots with these capabilities using computational game theory.


  • A Bachelor’s degree in engineering (or a related field)
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • An introductory undergraduate control course
  • No other specific qualifications beyond and a willingness to learn.

To know more about UBC eligibility and application instructions, you can see here.


If you’re interested in pursuing graduate school in beautiful Vancouver and any of this seems interesting to you, please don't hesitate to reach out Dominic Liao-McPherson (website) at

Who will be the main supervisor for this position? Dominic Liao-McPherson (Mechanical Engineering)

How to apply

Apply to the mechanical engineering department at UBC and mention the AOCL and/or Dr. Dominic Liao-McPherson in your statement of intent. 

If you have questions, please reach out to Dominic Liao-McPherson by email at  

A shortlist of candidates will receive interview requests in February/March. 

All positions in the AOCL are funded but your chances of admission are much higher if you’re able to obtain an internal or external fellowship. Formal applications received by the department on or before December 1st will automatically be considered for internal fellowships alongside admission.

Salary Ranges

A minimum yearly stipend of $24,000 for MASc students.

Award holders (e.g., CGS-M, UBC internal fellowship) will receive a top up.

Key Dates

December 1st | Formal application deadline for consideration for internal fellowships

February 15th | Final application deadline for fall 2023 admission

We encourage applications from members of groups that have been historically disadvantaged and marginalized, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, Indigenous peoples of North America, Black-identified persons, other racialized persons, persons with disabilities, and those who identify as women and/or 2SLGBTQ+.



Reference Number

Please mention reference number GPS-56670 in all your correspondence about this Master student position.

Interested applicants will have to gain admission to this graduate program
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