I was born in Sousse, Tunisia. I spent a fair bit of my childhood moving around from place to place, as my father was a civil engineer working on infrastructure projects of various sorts around the world. I spent six years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I went to high school.
My undergraduate degree is from Princeton University, in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Following Princeton, I went to work for an international oilfield services company: Schlumberger. I spent a year in Algeria, and another in Nigeria before leaving Schlumberger. From there I went to Israel, where I spent a year studying Aeronautics at the Technion in Haifa.
After my return from Israel, I started at Stanford University, in the Aeronautics and Astronautics department. I received both my Masters and Ph.D. from Stanford, where I built an autonomous catamaran for my thesis. The catamaran was based on a modified Prindle-19, with the mast removed and replaced by a freely rotating wingsail. After graduation, I spent a year in Los Angeles consulting on an autonomous ground vehicle project.
I joined the Computer Engineering Faculty at UC Santa Cruz in 2003, with a research focus on autonomous and embedded systems. I started the Autonomous Systems Lab, and have a number of graduate and undergraduate students working with me on a variety of research projects. My favorite (and most popular) class to teach is CMPE118, Introduction to Mechatronics, where teams of students build a robot in 10 weeks. I recently got married, and am now enjoying living with my wife near the ocean in the West Cliff area of Santa Cruz.