Brian Fabien

Mechanical Engineering


Professor Fabien joined the University of Washington in 1993 and is currently the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering. He is the Director of the Dynamic Systems Modeling and Controls Laboratory. Professor Fabien also directs the University of Washington EcoCAR program.


  • Ph.D. Columbia University, 1990
  • M.S. Columbia University, 1983
  • BEME The City College, 1981

Current projects

Dynamic system optimization

This research area focuses on developing a suite of computational tools for the solution of real world engineering problems in mechanism, and control system design. Algorithms for parameter optimization and dynamic optimization have been developed. Solution techniques that are implemented include both the direct and indirect methods for solving optimal control problems.

Modeling and control of multidiscipline dynamic systems

This modeling technique is based on the Lagrangian formulation which provides a unified approach for deriving the equations of motion for multidiscipline dynamic systems (mechanical, electrical, fluid, and thermal). Systems with holonomic and nonholonomic constraints can be modeled using this approach. Present investigations involve the use of numerical methods to compute solutions for Lagrangian differential algebraic equations (DAEs) that describe constrained systems. These DAEs possess properties that make numerical integration more challenging than computing solutions to ordinary differential equations (ODEs).

Select publications

  1. B. Magnuson, M. Mallory, B. Fabien, and A. Gowda, "Improving Fuel Economy of Thermostatic Control for a Series Plugin-Hybrid Electric Vehicle Using Driver Prediction," SAE Technical Paper 2016-01-1248, 2016, doi:10.4271/2016-01-1248.
  2. B. C. Fabien, "A Noninterior Continuation Method for Constrained Optimal Control Problems," Proceedings 2016 European Control Conference, Aalborg, Denmark, 2016.
  3. D. Forbush, R. Cavagnaro, B. Fabien, B. Polagye, J. Donegan, J. McEntee, "Development of Cross-Flow Hydrokinetic Turbine Controller in Simulation, Experiment, and Field Testing," Proceedings 2016 Marine Energy Technology Symposium, 2016.
  4. R. J. Cavagnaro, B. Polagye, J. Thomson, B. Fabien, D. Frobush, L. Kilcher, J. Donegan, J. McEntee, "Emulation of a Hydrokinetic Turbine to Assess Control and Grid Integration," European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference, Nantes, France, 2015.
  5. D. Frobush, B. Polagye, B. Fabien, J. Thomson, J. Donegan and J. McEntee, "Characterization and Control of Cross-Flow Turbine In Shear Flow," Proceedings of the 3rd Marine Energy Technology Symposium METS2015, 2015.
  6. A. Davis and B. C. Fabien, "Modeling and analysis of the time domain forces of a wave energy converter," Proceedings of the 3rd Marine Energy Technology Symposium METS2015, 2015.
  7. B. C. Fabien, "Parallel collocation solution of index-1 BVP-DAEs arising from constrained optimal control problems," Numerical Algorithms}, doi:10.1007/s11075-015-9994-5, 2015.
  8. B. C. Fabien, "Parallel solution of BABD systems arising from optimal control problems," Proceedings 4th IMA Conference on Numerical Linear Algebra and Optimisation, Birmingham, U.K., 2014.
  9. B. C. Fabien, "Indirect solution of inequality constrained and singular optimal control problems via a simple continuation method," ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, Vol. 136(2), doi:10.1115/1.4025596, 2013.
  10. B. C. Fabien, "Piecewise polynomial control parameterization in the direct solution of optimal control problems," ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, Vol. 135, doi:10.1115/1.4023401, 2013.
  11. B. C. Fabien, "Parallel indirect solution of optimal control problems," Optimal Control Applications and Methods}, doi:10.1002/oca.2064, 2013.

Honors & awards

  • College of Engineering Faculty Award for Teaching, 2015
  • Valerie Logan Leadership in Science Education Award, 2014
  • NSF Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award, 2012
  • NSF Presidential Faculty Fellowship, 1993