Photo of Ted with his arm around Dexter, a golden mountain doodle, with them both sitting on a boardwalk. Behind them, fastened to the railing, is a sign that reads "No Drone or UAV Flying Allowed."
Photo of Theodore (Ted) Pavlic

Dr. Theodore (Ted) P. Pavlic

Associate Professor, Principal Investigator/Lab Director

After spending ten years working in open-source software engineering and what would later be called DevOps, my interests shifted toward hardware and, more specifically, the design of RF-based wireless communication devices, which led me to receive my BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) specializing on electromagnetics (with a minor in Computer Science and Engineering). This process opened my eyes to the world of control theory, which became my focus for my MS and PhD in ECE, which provided me new tools from the fields of optimization and dynamical systems. My graduate advisor Kevin Passino also introduced me to the surprising overlap between these fields and problems studied in Animal Behavior (and Behavioral Ecology more broadly). This meandering and intellectually opportunistic path formed the foundation of the interdisciplinary work that I do today.

For more information about my views on the value of interdisciplinary work, check out my TEDxASU talk (embedded below).

Education and Professional Development

Early Career (non-academic appointments)

This portion of my career was focussed on software engineering and networking, but through it I became interested in hardware devices and analog electronics.

  • 1995–1997: Web Developer and Support Representative, MegaLinx Communications, Dublin, OH
  • 1997–2001: Information Technology Systems Engineer, CallTech Communications, Columbus, OH
  • 2001: Core Systems Software Developer for FlexNAS [intern], IBM Network Storage, RTP, NC
  • 2002, 2003: Analog Hardware R&D Intern for Multifunction DAQ [intern], National Instruments, Austin, TX

Formal Education

During this time in my career, I grew my expertise in high-frequency analog electronics and electromagnetics, which exposed me to control theory, which I chose to specialize on in graduate school (specifically nonlinear and optimal control).

  • 1999–2004: B.S.E.C.E., Electrical and Computer Engineering, The Ohio State University (minor in Computer and Information Systems)
  • 2004–2007: M.S., Electrical and Computer Engineering, The Ohio State University [advisor: Kevin Passino]
  • 2007–2010: Ph.D., Electrical and Computer Engineering, The Ohio State University [advisor: Kevin Passino]

Postdoctoral Training

Graduate school introduced me to cyber-physical systems (CPS), bio-inspired algorithmic design, and behavioral ecology, and I spent my postdoctoral training expanding my skillset into formal verification for CPS as well as empirical methods in field and laboratory animal-behavior research.

  • 2010–2012: Postdoctoral Researcher, Computer Science and Engineering, The Ohio State University [mentors: Paul Sivilotti, Bruce Weide]
  • 2012–2014: Postdoctoral Scholar, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University [mentors: Stephen Pratt, Robert Page]
  • 2014–2015: Associate Research Scientist, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University [host: Pratt Lab]

Academic Appointments

Leveraging my prior training across computer science, electrical engineering, and behavioral ecology, I now direct a laboratory where our members come from a wide range of disciplines aiming to solve problems that will promise to be directly relevant to an interdisciplinary audience straddling biology, psychology, economics, engineering, and artificial intelligence.


At ASU, I have taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, the School of Sustainability, and School of Life Sciences. Those courses include:

SOS 212Systems, Dynamics, and Sustainability
SOS 220Systems Thinking
SOS 325Economics of Sustainability
BIO 340General Genetics
IEE 475Simulating Stochastic Systems
SOS/AML/BIO 591Select Topics in Ecological Modeling and Hydrology
ANB 602
Optimal Foraging Theory: From Biology to Engineering Design
IEE 498/598Distributed Methods for Decision Making
IEE/CSE 598Bio-Inspired AI and Optimization
ANB 602Noise and Function – Randomized Algorithms in Animal Behavior
Graduate and undergraduate courses taught at Arizona State University

When I was a graduate student at OSU, I was fortunate to be able to be instructor of record for several courses within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Those courses were:

ECE 209Circuits and Electronics Laboratory
ECE 327Electronic Devices and Circuits Laboratory I
ECE 557Control, Signals, and Systems Laboratory
ECE 758
(lab section)
Control Systems Implementation Laboratory
Graduate and undergraduate courses taught as an instructor at The Ohio State University

I have accumulated a large library of videos from teaching courses at my YouTube channel.

To see a few archived research talks of mine, check out the Research Talks playlist that I’ve shared on my YouTube channel. Otherwise, here are a few talks of mine aimed at a broader audience.

From TEDxASU 2017 (Innovators): Be Undisciplined. Lose Your Innocence. Get to Work. | Theodore Pavlic
The DemystifySci Podcast (February 21, 2022): How Computers See Entangled Nature – Dr. Ted Pavlic, Arizona State University