Tony Dear


Welcome to my homepage! I am a lecturer in the Computer Science Department at Columbia University. This semester (Spring 2019), I am teaching COMS 3203, Discrete Math, and COMS 4733, Computational Aspects of Robotics. If you are a student and would like to set up an advisor meeting with me, feel free to reach out at any time.

As a lecturer, my energies are primarily focused on teaching and refining my courses, advising undergraduate students, and pursuing inquiries and research in technical education. I have previously experimented with a “hybrid flipped” undergraduate robotics course and developed an online curriculum for the same. The latter consisted of a suite of lecture videos along with online interactive problems, quizzes, and other multimedia content that supplemented the “traditional” course.

In my nonexistent spare time, I am also continuing my graduate research work in robotic locomotion, in particular exploiting underlying system structure to reduce problem complexity in “real” or non-ideal systems. More specifically, I am investigating the utility of geometric mechanics, a beautiful field that combines the abstractions of differential geometry with mechanical theory, in synthesizing a variety of locomotion behaviors.


My hometown is San Francisco, CA, USA. Depending on how you count, I am a first- or second-generation immigrant; my parents both immigrated from Guangdong, China. I lived in the Bay Area until I received my B.S. from UC Berkeley in EECS in 2012. I subsequently moved to Pittsburgh to pursue Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, from which I received my M.S. in 2015 and Ph.D. in 2018 under the advisement of Dr. Howie Choset.