Prashant Mehta received his M.S. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1996 and the Ph.d. degree in Applied Mathematics from the Cornell University in 2004 (with Prof. Tim Healey). He is now an Associate Professor of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He is affiliated with the Coordinated Science Laboratory, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Neuroscience program at UIUC. He was the co-founder and the Chief Science Officer of the startup Rithmio whose gesture recognition technology was acquired by Bosch Sensortec in 2017. Prior to his academic appointment at UIUC in 2005, he worked at United Technologies Research Center (1996-98 and 2002-05) where he invented the symmetry-breaking solution to suppress combustion instabilities. This solution — which helped solve a sixty year old open problem — has since become an industry standard and is widely deployed in jet engines and afterburners sold by Pratt & Whitney.
At UIUC, Prashant works with his students on mathematical and computational aspects of dynamics and control theory. His most significant recent contribution is the feedback particle filter algorithm (see recent projects for details on ongoing research in his lab). He is passionate about working with and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students. His students have won the best paper awards at IEEE CDC 2007 and 2009 and have been finalist for the best paper awards at ACC 2010 and at IEEE CDC 2012. He teaches dynamics and control classes as well as the graduate course sequence on engineering mathematics (see list of courses taught). For his teaching, he frequently makes the Incomplete list of teachers rated as excellent at UIUC.
He has served as the Associate Editor for the Systems and Control Letters (2011-14) and the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control (2012-16). He guest edited the special issue of the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control to commemorate the life, achievements and impact of Rudolph E. Kalman.