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Li Michael Liu
Ph.D., Adjunct Professor
Executive Director, Center of Excellence for Intelligent Mechanical Systems,
College of Engineering,
Peking University
  • Office Add: 2415 Ziyuan West Building, Peking University, Beijing China 100871
  • Office Tel: +86-18600655852
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  • Ph.D. - Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Thesis: Adaptive Control Systems, Stability and Synthesis, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • Master of Eng. - Department of Automatic Control, Beijing University of Science and Technology, Beijing, China
  • Bachelor of Sc./Eng. – Department of Aeronautical Engineering, China University of Science and Technology, Anhui, China


2012 to present College of Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, China

Adjunct Professor, Senior Member IEEE, Executive Director, Center of Excellence for Intelligent Mechanical Systems
  • Legged robot locomotion, Light weighted general purpose robots, Service Robots

2012 to 2014 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Member, Mechanical Engineering Grant Application Evaluation Group

1989 to 2012 MacDonald Dettwiler Space Missions (Formerly Spar Aerospace Ltd.)

Senior Member Technical Staff
  • Controls Lead, Robotic surgical system in partnership with the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. System requirement development & control design (2010-2012)
  • Controls Lead, NeuroArm 2, robotic system MRI compatible, and capable of operation in the magnet bore for brain surgery (2010-2012)
  • Robotic Satellite Refueling on orbit demonstration, initiated by NASA Godard Space Center: Proposal and implementation on Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) system enhancement (2010-2011)
  • Robotic system enhancements, for next generation space robotics, satellite servicing systems (2009 -2011)
  • Technical Lead, SPDM systems and operations (2008- 2010)
  • Mission Support &Technical Training, Mission Analysis Group at Canadian Space Agency, St-Hubert, QC Canada (2007-2008)
  • Technical Lead, Space Dexterous Robot Controls and Simulation (2001- 2007)
  • Lead Engineer, Systems and Controls, Hubble Robotics Vehicle Systems (2004 -2006)
  • SPDM Task Verification Facility (STVF) validation at Canadian Space Agency (2001-2004)
  • Principle Designer, Vision Servoing System for “Remote Operation with Supervised Autonomy” (2001-2002)
  • Lead Engineer, SPDM control flight software development (1999-2001)
  • Principle Controls Engineer, SPDM Control, Simulation and Hardware Testing (1997-1999)
  • Lead Engineer, simulation and controls for Light Duty Utility Arm, a hydraulic actuated manipulator developed for U.S. Department of Energy. (1996-1997)
  • Lead Engineer for NASA space robot contact motion control, and core member, control and simulation team for the Canadarm 2 Critical design and Acceptance reviews. (1991-1995)
  • Development of Space Dexterous Manipulator control concept, and “proof of principle” hardware tests and simulations. (1989-1991)
1991 to 1996 McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Dept of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Project Leader for Control of Robotic and Manufacturing Systems. Lectured Control courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
1987-1989 McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada

Post-Doctor Research Associate, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering

Research Profile

Michael Liu is currently the Executive Director, Center of Excellence for Intelligent Mechanical Systems, at College of Engineering, Peking University (PKU), and the president, Science in Motion Co.. His research group at PKU focuses on the mechanisms and controls of fast and energy efficient robotic manipulation and locomotion.

Prior joining PKU, Michael Liu was a recognized leader and guru within Canadian robotics community with twenty-five years of experience in the areas of robotic systems & controls. He has been the principle control designer for several space and medical robotic systems at MacDonald Dettwiler Ltd. (MDA), a company that specializes in robotic and satellite solutions for space missions. Michael Liu was appointed as a member of Mechanical Engineering Evaluation group, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada from 2011 to 2014.

Michael Liu has accumulated extensive experiences in the robotics design for complex operational environment through engagements with the operations of the International Space Station and other industry/medical programs. He has been working towards next generation robotics which has enhanced capabilities for medical application, servicing and other operations in complex settings.

Michael Liu was the Technical Leader for the state-of-the-art space dexterous robot launched on to the orbit in March 2008. He has led the ground based operation support from 2008 to 2011. The control algorithm Michael developed has become the standardized company flight controls software for NASA and Canadian Space Agency robotics initiatives. Michael was also a lead member responsible for Hubble Robotic Mission demo at NASA Goddard Space Centre in 2004.

Michael Liu spent one year (2007-2008) at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) as the Lead Technical Trainer. He developed a series of curriculum and presented to the Mission Analysis Group at the agency.

While working for MDA (Formerly Spar Aerospace Ltd.), Michael also served as the Adjunct Professor on Controls and Robotics for McMaster University of Ontario, Canada in the Departments of Mechanical, and Electrical and Computer Engineering from 1991 to 1996. He was the Post-doctor Research Associate for two years after receiving his Ph.D. at McMaster University in 1987.

Michael Liu has authored over 50 technical papers in the fields of robotics and controls in IEEE and other professional journals/conferences.

HONORS and Awards

  • MDA Innovation Award: Space operation demonstration via Ground Control for the International Space Station service missions (2009).
  • MDA Innovation Award: Development of Force & Moment Accommodation for Manipulator Contact motion control (2001).
  • Spar Space Systems Technical Excellence Award: SPDM dynamics and control system high fidelity simulation model development (1998).
  • Invited Tutorial Speaker on dynamics modelling, simulation and control of flexible manipulators at World Automation Congress, Anchorage, Alaska (1998).
  • Master’s thesis titled Optimal and Adaptive Control of a Group of Electrically Heated Furnaces was awarded as “Best Paper” at the Annual Chinese Automation Conference (1982)


  • Distance running, swimming, and squash
  • Go, a Chinese chess game of strategy

Selected Publications

1. G. Bone, M.A. Elbestawi, R. Lingarkar and L. Liu, Force Control for Robotic Deburring, ASME Transaction on Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, vol.113, pp. 395-400, 1991.
2. R. Lingarkar, L. Liu, M.A. Elbestawi and N.K. Sinha, Knowledge-Based Adaptive Computer Control in Manufacturing Systems: A Case Study, IEEE Transaction on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, vol.20, pp. 606-618, 1990.
3. L. Liu, Y. Han, R. Lingarkar, N.K. Sinha and M.A. Elbestawi, On Adaptive Force/Motion Control of Constrained Robots, Proceedings of the 15th Annual Conference of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society, volume II, pp. 433-438, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November, 1989.
4. J. Wang, R. Mukherji, M. Ficocelli, A. Ogilvie, L. Liu and C. Rice, Modeling and Simulation of Robotic System for Servicing Hubble Space Telescope, Proceedings of the 2006 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, pp. 1026-1031, Beijing, China, October 2006.
5. L. Liu and W. Liang, Adaptive Asymptotic Stable Biped Locomotion, Proceedings of the 33rd Chinese Control Conference, Nanjing, China, July 2014.