Larry Silverberg


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  • Engineering Building III (EB3) 4172
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Research Area: Dynamics. System modeling and algorithm development for autonomy and exploration.

My Daily Calendar

My colleagues refer to me as a dynamicist, meaning that I study motion, from the most basic aspects to the engineering applications. The most basic aspects of dynamics are concerned with the origin of force and motion, that is, with the fundamentals of macroscale physics. One of the current challenges deals with dynamic modelling that integrates disciplines (mechanical, electrical, and thermodynamic) and phase (gaseous, liquid, and solid states). On that subject, I teach the course entitled Discrete Element Method (MAE 789). It is about a modern computational approach to two-scale modeling which compliments the more traditional Finite Element Method, which is single-scale. At the applied level, dynamics is more about how one engineers the movement of things. The majority of my published work deals with advancements at the applied level. Along these lines, there is a growing need for algorithm development in engineering systems, like in autonomous operation of robotic systems. Some of my work in this area focuses on the development of unmanned systems, mostly with aerial systems. I also teach the course entitled Mechatronics (MAE 320). In this introductory course, students learn how to integrate electronics and computer algorithms into hardware, then they form small teams and develop their own Mechatronic systems.

Ongoing Research Projects

Namibia Wildlife Aerial Observatory (WAO):

This is a study-abroad program in which field units of undergraduate students spend a semester flying unmanned aerial vehicles over large, endangered animals in an animal reserve for the purposes of studying them and to better understand how to protect them. Each field unit collects aerial data to answer a research question, doing so under the guidance of a graduate research assistant. Funding provided by the State of North Carolina

Joe Manning, PhD candidate, Research topic: Deployment of aerial technologies at private and public organizations.

Matt Snider, PhD candidate, Research topic: Animal Counting in the Arid Savanna by UAVs

Graham Lutz, MS candidate, Research topic: On the effectiveness of UAS for anti-poaching in the African arid savanna

Josh Glazer, MS candidate, Research topic: Wireless network to extend UAS range

Alex Purut, MS Candidate, Research topic: Navigation of systems of unmanned aerial vehicles for monitoring wild animal populations in the arid savanna

Discrete Element Method:

 Stephen Coppola, PhD candidate, Research topic: Development of DEM constitutive models.

CAD Apps:

A team of faculty and students are developing a new series of computer-aided design/exploration tools for early engineering education. The primary users are undergraduate students in mechanical, civil, and aerospace engineering. There are four apps: trusses, frames, vibration, and mechanisms, each promotes design/exploration. This is a joint project with Drs. Eischen and Batestilli. Funded provided by Mathworks, Inc.

KAUST Summer Program:

Undergraduate students are exposed to research by spending 4 to 5 weeks working in engineering research labs. Funded provided by NCSU Global Training Initiative.

Basketball Dynamics:

This is an extracurricular activity that began more then twenty years ago. The work began with the development of a suite of simulation tools that accurately predict the trajectory of a basketball, its collisions with the backboard and rim, and statistically analyze the probability of a shot. The tools were applied to best practices in the free throw and the bank shot. This is a joint project with Dr. Chau Tran and with the assistance of many students.

The Conversation

Science writer for The Conversation







Engineering Mechanics

Virginia Polytechnic Institute


Engineering Mechanics

Virginia Polytechnic Institute


Engineering Mechanics

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Research Description

Dr. Silverberg's research is in dynamic system modeling and algorithm development for autonomy and exploration.


A New System Development Framework Driven by a Model-Based Testing Approach Bridged by Information Flow
Zhu, D., Pritchard, E. G. D., & Silverberg, L. M. (2018), IEEE SYSTEMS JOURNAL, 12(3), 2917–2924.
Gender comparison in consistency in the basketball free throw by an event-driven approach
Silverberg, L. M., Tran, C. M., & Laue, C. (2018), SPORTS ENGINEERING, 21(4), 333–340.
Cellular growth algorithms for shape design of truss structures
Tschida, C. E., & Silverberg, L. M. (2013), Computers and Structures, 116, 1–6.
Optimal Targets for the Bank Shot in Mens Basketball
Silverberg, L. M., Tran, C. M., & Adams, T. M. (2011), Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, 7(1).
Autonomous soaring: The montague cross-country challenge
Edwards, D. J., & Silverberg, L. M. (2010), Journal of Aircraft, 47(5), 1763–1769.
Control of underwater vehicles in full unsteady flow
Levedahl, B. A., & Silverberg, L. (2009), IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering, 34(4), 656–668.
Fourier series of half-range functions by smooth extension
Morton, J., & Silverberg, L. (2009), Applied Mathematical Modelling, 33(2), 812–821.
Characterizing hydrodynamic loads in full unsteady flow
Silverberg, L., & Levedahl, B. (2008), AIAA Journal, 46(12), 3159–3163.
Optimal release conditions for the free throw in men's basketball
Tran, C. M., & Silverberg, L. M. (2008), Journal of Sports Sciences, 26(11), 1147–1155.
Autonomous coordination of aircraft formations using direct and nearest-neighbor approaches
Silverberg, L., & Levedahl, B. A. (2005), Journal of Aircraft, 42(2), 469–477.

View all publications via NC State Libraries


Women & Minorities in STEM: Get Trained in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
NCSU NC Space Grant Consortium(2/01/17 - 4/30/18)
Digital Twin Research
National Institute of Aerospace(12/01/16 - 6/30/18)
CAD Apps for Core Courses in AE and ME Curricula: Bridge Funding 
The MathWorks, Inc.(1/01/16 - 5/31/17)
Angelfish: Initial Planning and Project Management
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)(6/19/14 - 1/31/16)
NCSU Autonomy
US Army - Army Research Office(8/01/14 - 8/31/15)
CAD Apps for Core Courses in AE and ME Curricula
The MathWorks, Inc.(5/16/13 - 5/14/15)
Building Design Apps for Early Engineering Education
National Science Foundation (NSF)(1/15/11 - 7/31/13)
Advancement of Thermal Sensing and Centering Algorithms
US Navy-Office Of Naval Research(1/01/10 - 5/15/10)
Principles of Autonomous Soaring
US Navy-Office Of Naval Research(1/01/09 - 12/31/09)
Autonomous Soaring Algorithm
US Navy-Office Of Naval Research(10/01/07 - 12/31/08)