AAE adds associate professor in aerospace systems

Leifur Leifsson joined faculty Aug. 16.

Leifur Leifsson joined AAE faculty Aug. 16 as an associate professor in Aerospace Systems.


His research focuses on computational modeling, optimization and uncertainty quantification of engineered systems. Specifically, Leifsson creates new and efficient surrogate-based approaches using novel multifidelity methods and machine learning. He evaluates and tests the methods using challenging problems in simulation-based engineering design, such as aerodynamic shape optimization, aerodynamic flutter analysis, statistical analysis of nondestructive testing systems, design of microwave devices, modeling of materials systems, and modeling and analysis of food-energy-water nexus.

He’ll teach his first AAE course, “Aerospace Systems Design,” in the fall.

“I am very excited to join such an excellent university,” Leifsson said. “I think joining AAE is a great fit for my research and teaching, and I see a lot of opportunities to collaborate with the outstanding faculty and students.”

In 2019, Leifsson was selected for the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program award. He’ll continue that research at Purdue. The work involves creating new multifidelity methods for simulation-based engineering design. In particular, his team is creating novel methods for quickly modeling the field responses of simulations.

Prior to Purdue, Leifsson was an associate professor in Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State University. He also has been a faculty member in Iceland and also worked in industry.

“I am very fortunate to have worked at two small start-up companies and one very large and established company before becoming a faculty member,” he said. “These experiences gave me good insights into working as an engineer and as a part of a team. I always try to connect my experiences with the subject material in the courses I teach. The students are usually very interested in the practical sides of the subject. The industry experience also gave me a window into how systems design and analysis is performed in practice, which is very useful for my research work.”

Leifsson obtained his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Tech. His M. Sc. and C.Sc. are from the University of Iceland in Mechanical Engineering, and Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.