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Dr. Yao-Chon (John) Chen

Yao-Chon (John) Chen
BASc, MASc, PhD, PEng
416-979-5000 ext. 556090

Areas of Academic Interest

Control of robotics manipulators

Numerical solution of optimal control problems

Embedded control systems


Year University Degree
1987 University of Waterloo PhD
1983 University of Waterloo MASc
1982 University of Ottawa BASc

Courses Taught

Course Code Course
ELE 719 Fundamentals of Robotics
ELE 809 Digital Control System Design
ELE 819 Control of Robotic Manipulators


While an engineering professor by trade, John Chen is, on many levels, an architect. He doesn’t design buildings, though. Instead, the control systems and robotics expert designs a learning experience that is engaging, practical and continually evolving, twice earning Chen the Dean’s Pedagogical Innovation Fund for teaching excellence. “While I’m developing labs, I learn the new technology and design it from scratch myself,” he says. “So, when a student runs into a problem, I know right away what went wrong.”

A builder by nature, it’s no wonder Chen found his way to robotics. He initially became interested in engineering through the influence of his father, a mechanical engineer. And while Chen followed his love of math to the field of electrical, those mechanical roots are evident in his research today. In control systems, it’s the combination of the theoretical and practical that keeps Chen excited about his work. “I chose control systems because I’m attracted to the mathematical aspect,” he says. “And so it’s very nice to see the theory being transformed into working hardware and software.”

Yao-Chon (John) Chen

“It is very satisfying to develop theoretical concepts and translate them into something that can be applied in practice.”

  • Dean's Pedagogical Innovation Fund (2014, 2016)
  • Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO)