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UCLA - Ph.D. positions in mechanics of materials, soft robotics, machine learning from Fall 2022

Khalid Jawed's picture

We are looking for multiple Ph.D. students with a background in solid and structural mechanics to work on the mechanics of slender and flexible structures. Some experience with machine learning and artificial intelligence will be helpful. At the very least, the candidate should be good with computer programming (ideally C/C++ and Linux environment). They should have the confidence and a track record to quickly master analytical and software tools in new fields. The Ph.D. students will work in an interdisciplinary and collaborative environment. They will be supervised by Prof. M. Khalid Jawed (Structures-Computer Interaction Laboratory of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering) and will collaborate with another research group(s) at or outside of UCLA.

The research projects aim to use a combination of (1) discrete differential geometry-based simulations [see Ref. 1] and (2) tabletop experiments using collaborative robots (our lab is equipped with two Sawyer robots). The simulation tools build on prior works in the field of computer graphics [see Ref. 2]. Potential topics may include the mechanics of knots tied in elastic rods, machine learning-based constitutive behavior, smart manufacturing (in collaboration with Smart Manufacturing Institute, UCLA), inverse design of flexible and/or programmable structures [see Ref. 3], etc. 


  • Experience with computer programming (C/C++) and Unix-based operating systems. The students will be working with a codebase written in C++. He/she will be extensively using remote clusters

  • Ability to quickly master analytical and software tools in new fields (e.g., robotics, computer vision)

Interested students should submit their applications for graduate admission in mechanical or aerospace engineering by December 1, 2021. They should indicate their interest in working with the PI (Khalid Jawed) on the application. They should also email the PI at after submitting the graduate application.

UCLA is located in the Westwood district of Los Angeles, close to the Pacific Ocean, mountains, forests as well as the hubs for aerospace and entertainment industries.

Below is a list of representative publications that the candidate should be able to read, understand, and implement.


  1. Representative publication on DDG:
  2. Representative publication on Computer Graphics:
  3. Representative publication on inverse design:


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